Thursday, January 29, 2015

Assignment 3-Muted Colors

Color foundations: Muted Color

In Class Exercise-Sketchbook Assignment

Practice mixing muted colors with the three pairs of complementary colors.  De-saturate each of the prismatic complementary colors with it’s complement, white and black. Use 1x2 squares for a total of three squares for each color. Clearly label which color you have muted beside your splotches in your sketchbook for reference.  You should have a total of 18 splotches to complete the in class assignment

Muted color
Colors that have lost saturation in mixing, but whose parent colors are still easily identifiable (blue-green or red-orange.) Muted colors live between prismatic colors and chromatic grays in the saturation continuum. They are dull, less saturated colors in comparison to the prismatic colors, but are far more saturated and vibrant in relationship to the chromatic grays. Muted colors are mixed in the same way as the chromatic grays, but retain a higher level of saturation.

Complementary Pairs


Outside Assignment

Create three different compositions based on nature and complementary color scheme. 

1.     Begin by making 6-10 sketches based on your subject, then choose your best three and transfer on to 3x5” Bristol board.The compositions should relate to on another and carry a resemblance to each other.  You may research and find images to draw inspiration from, or take/use images of your own. 
2.     You will want to have good value interaction in your design, push your design, but don’t overcrowd it- about 15 shapes max. Use a minimum of four colors in each design.
3.     Neatly mount them to a 9x12” piece of Bristol board when you are done.  Keep your edges clean.

The first composition will only use white to mute your complements.  The second should only use black to mute colors and the third will only use the complements. 


Here is a recap of our presentation

Friday, January 23, 2015

Assignment 2_Prismatic_(Desserts)

Color Studies, week 2: Prismatic Color
In Class Exercise
Required Materials: gouache, brushes, palette, sketchbook, graphite pencils, water container, metal ruler, exacto knife and paper towels.

Make a series of abstract thumbnails in your sketchbook based on YOUR FAVORITE DESSERTS and experiment with gouache to create high key (light valued), low key (dark valued) and full value range (light, medium and dark) prismatic color studies. A ball park estimate of approximately ten shapes will be needed to insure good color interaction. Do not settle for the first sketches that appear on the page. They may, or more probably, may not be the best designs. Push your designs beyond the first initial sketches for best results. A good design will require a variety of shapes in a variety of sizes that includes an interesting arrangement of shapes to articulate the interaction color.
Prismatic color – Pure hues that represent the spectrum colors at highest saturation.
Saturation – Intensity or chroma. Saturation refers to purity of hue and the measure of inherent light.
Value – the relative luminousity (lightness or darkness) of a color.
High key – refers to colors that are light in value.
Low key – Colors that are predominantly dark.

High Key Colors: Yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-green

1. Spectrum Yellow followed by Greenish Yellows and Orange Yellows that deepen progressively toward Yellow Green and Yellow Orange.

2. High key colors progressively lose their high key distinction the closer they move towards the middle key colors.

Middle Key Colors: Blue Green and Red Orange
Low Key Colors: Blues and Violets, Blue Violet is the darkest low key hue.
1. Low key colors progressively lose their low key distinction the closer they move towards the middle key colors.

A Co-Primary Triad Palette
1. Lemon Yellow and Brilliant Yellow. Lemon Yellow is a cool yellow that is biased towards green. Mix this yellow with Sky Blue to achieve the most prismatic greens. Brilliant Yellow is a slightly red leaning yellow. Mix this yellow with Cadmium Red to get good prismatic oranges.
Note: Mixing Lemon Yellow with Alizarin Crimson to make an orange will produce a comparatively muted orange as opposed to the desired prismatic hue. This is because both pigments are biased towards the orange complement of blue and will result in a duller mixture. The same is true for greens mixed from Ultramarine Blue and Brilliant Yellow. Both colors are biased towards the red which is the complement of green.

2. Cadmium Red and Alizarin Crimson*. Cadmium Red is a brilliant warm red that mixes with well with Brilliant Yellow to produce prismatic oranges. Mixing Cadmium Red with Sky Blue will produce a grayed violet that is unsuitable for a study of prismatic color. Alizarin Crimson is a blue biased red that mixes well with Ultramarine Blue to create beautiful prismatic violets.

3. Sky Blue and Ultramarine Blue*. Sky Blue is a brilliant cool, green tinged blue that mixes with well with Lemon Yellow to produce the most prismatic greens. Ultramarine Blue is a violet tinged blue that mixes well with Alizarin Crimson to create prismatic violets.
*Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue are dark transparent pigments that require a small addition of white to achieve prismatic intensity. This a characteristic shared by many transparent pigments. Transparent pigments are ideal for glazing in oil, acrylic and even watercolor, but glazing as a rule, is an unsuitable technique for gouache and the matte, opaque color requirements of this class.
Note: In this class white is a necessity, not a virtue. White mutes, cools and grays mixtures. To maintain maximum hue saturation, avoid adding white to the yellows, cadmium red or sky blue for this project.

Outside Assignment: Prismatic Color – Color studies/Variation on a visual theme/Family resemblance
• Create three abstract studies in gouache that are related in shape, composition, and handling of materials. Base the designs on the previous achromatic gray studies.
• The colors used should all be highly saturated or prismatic.
• The first should have a broad range of values. The second two should use a narrow value range with one in high key colors and one in low-key colors.
• Make sure your colors are opaque. The color of the paper may not be used.
• Do not repeat colors.
• Mount your 3x5" studies on a 9x12" Bristol.  Craft is important. Keep border clean.
• Materials: Gouache and Bristol board

Research Assignment
• Research artwork in books or online that utilizes an extensive prismatic color palette and include two labeled color prints in the sketchbook. Almost any kind of visual art (historic or contemporary) that uses an extensive prismatic color palette is acceptable. Grafitti, cartoons, anime and manga are not acceptable for the research assignment.
Note: The use of the of the art or artists brought in as examples by the instructor is mimicry, not research and is prohibited. The purpose of this exercise is for the student to look and make connections between their own efforts and the work of others.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Assignment 1_Value

Here is the first assignment. For Class on Friday (1/23), you should have the value scale complete and sketches ready for review so we can decide on your best one.   Also bring materials to paint your color wheels and if at all possible, grab some images of your favorite desserts so you can abstract those to create designs for the next assignment.  

Color Studies Week 1: Achromatic Grays
Achromatic grays – Grays mixed from black and white only. Achromatic grays appear to have no coloration.
Value – the relative luminousity (lightness or darkness) of a color.
In Class Exercise
Required Materials: ivory black and permanent white gouache, brushes, palette, sketchbook, graphite pencils, water container, metal ruler, exacto knife and paper towels.

1. Using Gouache, make thumbnails to create a value scale consisting of 11 different values.  Shapes should be no less than 1’ at any dimension.  You will glue your thumbnails into your sketchbook. 

Outside Assignment (due 1/30)
Create three abstract studies based on observations from Architecture. Abstraction usually involves a simplifying of shapes so source imagery is not immediately apparent or obvious. Think in terms of design. Abstraction allows the student to focus on the on the assigned color problem and the interaction of color (in this case, value) without the interference of representation. First, create 6-10 shapes in your sketchbook, then select the best 3. A good design will require a variety of shapes in a variety of sizes that includes an interesting arrangement of shapes to animate and articulate the artwork.
 • One study will feature a full value range (light, middle and dark values), a second one light in value and a third with dark values only. You must use a minimum of 4 values in each study.  Approximately ten shapes will be needed to insure good value interaction. Refer to the value continuum and the gray scale above.
 • Each study is to be 3” x 5” and executed with gouache in achromatic grays (mixed from Ivory Black and Permanent White) on Bristol board. You must include a minimum of 4 values in each composition.
 • Center and mount all three studies a half of an inch apart on to a 9” x 12” sheet of Bristol board. This will leave about a one inch margin on the outside edges longwise, and a two inch margin the other two parallel sides. Craft is important. Keep borders clean.

As always, if you have any questions, you may email me at or

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Class overview

This is an overview of what will be covered in this color class.  Each of these topics will be explored further, and in depth, so you will be able to make informed choices about using color in the future.  You are welcome to download any and all of my presentations from slideshare to keep for your own files. 

Introductions--Who are you? What are you studying? Who are some of your favorite artists (contemporary)?

Artist Research Guidelines

Color Foundations

Thomas Green

Artist Research Papers

As part of the P2, integrated professional practices program at MCA, we will be conducting artist research to stay focused and current in our fields.   Researching artists and looking at what is happening in the contemporary art world is essential to your success.  Furthermore, researching historically important figures in Art and their contributions provides an important historical foundation for the work that is done today.  This semester we will be conducting artist research on a total of 8 artists, and writing artist statement for one of the projects that you will be doing this semester.

What to include in your research papers?

1.     Bio-you may begin your paper by including pertinent information about the artist.  Where he/she was born, where they studied, important relationships that they may have had, and major exhibitions and achievements that they have made.

2.     Their work- How is the particular artist that you are researching classified (impressionism, pop art, german expressionism, etc.)  What are some of the distinctive characteristics of the work? Is it expressive, large/small, what materials does he/she use to create the work?  What is the content or subject matter of the work? What is the form.

3.     Color-Finally, since this is a color class, discuss how the artist uses color.  Does he/she generally use soft subtle earth tone, or bright and vibrant colors to convey emotion or subject matter within the work? Does color play a main part in the work?  How?

The Artist research needs to be a total of about one page double spaced 12point font.  On another page, you should drag pictures of the artist’s work to your word document for reference.  Print these out and paste them in your sketchbook.  You will need to save this document as you will be turning in the digital files to me as part of your midterm and final grade.

Possible Contemporary Artists for Research

Artists for Research

Artist Research Topics_21st century Artists-Art Appreciation-Thomas Green

Contemporary and Pop
Roy Lichenstein
Andy Warhol
Yayoi Kusama
Cornelia Konrads
Felice Varini
Daniel Arsham
Bruce Munro
Yulia Brodskaya
Young-Deok Seo
Kumi Yamashita
Guy Laramee
Hebru Brantley
Alexander Mijares
Kenny Scharf
Tim Hawkinson
Bruce Nauman
Tang Chiew
Sally Fuerst
Ron English
Charlie McCarthy
Austyn Weiner
Keith Haring

Cindy Sherman
Sandy Skolund
Ellen Lupton
June  Leaf
Liz Larner
Marina Abromovic
Paula Scher
Barbara Kruger
Judy Chicago
Andrea Bowers
Jessica Jackson Hutchins
Louise Bourgeois
Zoe Strauss
Louise Lawler
Adrian Piper
Jenny Saville
Mariko Mori

Young British Artists (punk Aesthetics)
Jake and Dinos Chapman
Douglas Gordon
Marcus Harvey,
Gary Hume
Rachel Whiteread
Gillian Wearing
Mark Wallinger
Marc Quinn
Steve McQueen
Chris Ofili
Damien Hirst

Cultural and Racial Identity
Carrie Mae Weems              
Kara Walker
Xaviera Simmons
Nick Cave
Shinique Smith
Kerry James Marshall
Jean Michelle Basquiat
Kehinde Wiley 
Hank Willis Thomas 
Mickalene Thomas
Rashid Johnson 
Barkley L. Hendricks 
Iona Rozeal Brown 
Glenn Ligon 
Trenton Doyle Hancock
Gabriel Orozco
Chris Ofili
Aaron Douglas
Archibald Motley

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Color Foundations_ Spring 2015_Thomas Everett Green

FD160 D Color Foundations •Thomas Green • Spring 2015
Friday 9:00-3:35-Studio 3
Office hours: Friday, during lunch, after this class (or by appointment)
Email: or

Color Studies is an introduction to the principles of design, color mixing, color interaction and relativity.  We will focus on the basic visual and aesthetic interactions of color. This is a studio class based on the actual experience of seeing and working with color. The course combines lecture, demonstration, and critique with an intensive hands-on color exploration involving a variety of 2-D assignments using gouache and color-aid paper. There will be intensive exercises in color mixing focused on exploring hue, value, intensity, transparency, contrast, and color interaction. Recognizing color as the most relative of art elements, the course is intended to provide knowledge and experience that removes color usage solely from the realm of intuition, and puts the student in the position of making informed decisions and color selections in their work.

Artistic Outcome
Ultimately, students will have a broad understanding of color principles and their relationship to other principles of visual art. Upon successful completion of the course, the student’s work will demonstrate the ability to:
• mix color pigments accurately
• understand differences between additive and subtractive color mixing
• be proficient with concepts of value, hue, saturation, harmony and color interaction
• make informed decisions regarding color selection
• thoroughly understand contrast exhibited through value, temperature, saturation, complementary/simultaneity
Professional Practices Outcome
Upon successful completion of the course, the student’s work will demonstrate:
• the ability to write an artist statement
• the ability to digitally document their classwork
• the ability to conduct effective research and stay current in their field
Attendance policy
There are no excused absences. Missed class time and assignments cannot be “made-up”. If you miss five classes you will immediately fail the course. There will be no exceptions. The reasons behind the absences are not important. Doctor’s excuses and notes from parents are not necessary. Five absences means too much information and work has been missed for anyone to legitimately pass the course.
• If you are having trouble with the course or have outside problems affecting your performance, please make arrangements to meet with me so we can discuss possible solutions. Do not wait until it is too late. I am glad to help.
• Tardiness is not acceptable. Excessive (in my judgment) tardiness will result in a lower final grade or dismissal from the class. (3 tardies=1Absence) If you know you are going to be late, let the instructor know ahead of time.
• All students will be present and working during the class period. Students will not leave the classroom early unless excused. Excessive talking, walking about, or leaving the room will be noted and counted against your final grade. Working on late assignments, outside projects, or reworking an earlier exercise in class is prohibited. CONCENTRATE ON THE WORK AT HAND.

• If you miss an assignment because of absence, get it from another student.  Falling behind or putting things off will not work in your favor.  If you have questions, see me or set up an appointment to meet.
• Grades are available for you to see at all times.  You should have a relative idea of your grade at all times. Do not go through the semester hoping for a “surprise” on your final report.  Knowing your grade is important for success.
• Late work will not be accepted, however, students will be able to turn in work that was missed or incomplete at a later date with a deduction of one letter grade.  
• The work will be graded and returned as soon as possible. At times it may be necessary for me to hold some of the work for exhibitions or photographing.
• Assignments handed in on time may be reworked for a better grade.

Final grades will be determined by:
- Completion of all assignments.
- Consistency of effort.
- Thoughtfulness and expressiveness in solutions to problems.
- General attitude and participation in critiques and discussions.
- Craftsmanship.
- Research Papers
- Sketchbooks
Final letter grade definitions (pluses and minuses are used to allow greater subtlety in comparative judgments):
A – Exemplary performance for the course is reflected.  The student has clearly gone beyond the simple grasp of concepts and execution of classroom assignments. It implies great effort and great success in all aspects of the class. It is rare that this grade is awarded.
B - The person earning this grade has worked very hard; has pushed him/herself to go beyond the fulfillment of each problem and has shown extraordinary advances in technical and conceptual skills.
C - The student earning a C completed all assignments, had a positive attitude, worked hard, showed growth in skills and thinking, participated in critiques and discussions, and successfully fulfilled the requirements of the course, in general. This is the average level of achievement for all studio courses.
D - This grade indicates that the student has obvious difficulties with basic skills and concepts and/or trouble in fulfilling the requirements of the class because of excess lateness, absence, or some other reason.
F - This grade indicates a severe problem in one or more of the following categories: lack of interest and/or seriousness of purpose, ineptitude in basic skills, lack of understanding of concepts, terrible craftsmanship, failure to complete assignments, bad attitude, excess lateness or absence.
Individual assignment grade definitions:
A – Excellent. Assignment is completely and creatively fulfilled. Seamless craftsmanship.
B - All aspects of assignment are completely fulfilled and well executed with regard to craftsmanship.
C - Work fulfills the requirements of the assignment to the letter and is generally successful. Work is completely finished. Craftsmanship is good.
D - Assignment is not yet completely finished or has obvious technical or conceptual flaws.
F - Unacceptable in technique, craft or concept, or a combination of these.
O - Assignment not handed in. This assignment may not be re-worked.
QEP ( Quality Enhancement Plan) Requirements-MCA’s QEP is designed to greatly expand the preparation of students for the working world. The college is moving from a single elective Professional practices course to a fully integrated curriculum that embeds essential skills and knowledge throughout the four years of study. Even the most introductory- level classes will begin to address important content in the various degree programs. MCA hopes to instill in students from the very start of its BFA programs a mind-set for success as well as the requisite skills and knowledge to pursue a career in a field of their choice.
General Requirements:
• All EPA/OSHA regulations that apply will be observed in this class. This is required of all students.
• All work must be kept in a portfolio. Respect and protect your work if you expect anyone else to do so.
• Computer and internet usage in class is without exception, strictly limited to color studies class work.

You are required to keep a sketchbook for this course (minimum size 9x12”). Your sketchbook should be a visual representation of what you learn in class. Make your sketchbook your own. Think of composition and overall placement of the required contents. You should be sketching everyday.  Things to include in your sketchbook:

-Class Syllabus

-Class notes and other pertinent information

-Sketches (you should be sketching everyday, practice what we learn in class)
 -Artist references/reproductions

-Your own point of view, make it your own

The sketchbook as previously mentioned, constitutes 20% of the final grade. A “C” is the best grade a student could possibly receive without a sketchbook. Color Foundations sketchbooks are to be exclusively used for Color Foundations class only. The content of the sketchbook to be graded are as follows: painted and unpainted thumbnails of the designs for the assigned projects, experimental color mixing swatches, research assignments, pre-critique writing assignments for each project, helpful comments regarding the individual student’s work made by the instructor and/or student peers during critique, and all instructor handouts.
Documentation Guidelines
You are required to keep a visual log of your work for this class. As mentioned before, you will be assessed on how well you document your work as well as follow directions. You will need to use a camera and not your phone to take your images if you choose to photograph your work.   You will have the option of scanning your work.
-Photograph your work when you finish each project -Take clear visible images
-Crop and center images/adjust if needed
-Label each image with assignment name
-Make sure each image is the same size. 8x10 300dpi for print and 8x10 72dpi for emails, submissions and website
-You will need to save your images in a folder labeled with your name on the server
Digital portfolios of all assigned project work are to be placed in the drop box of the class folder on the server at the end of the semester. The portfolio will count as one project grade. Artwork is to be chronologically arranged in the assigned order. Reworked assignments must be accompanied by the work they replaced. The purpose of the portfolio assignment is for the collective examination of each student’s progress over the course of the semester.

Class begins promptly after role call. Students will carefully pin work up and examine the efforts of their peers. I will give a brief recap of the assignment to be critiqued. Students are to examine the merits of the works at hand and provide helpful, constructive feedback. Does the work solve the color problem as assigned? What is working and why? What could be improved, and how? Is the design successful and is the design enhanced by the color interaction? And finally, craftsmanship, what is successful and what improvements can be made?  Craftsmanship is of the utmost importance.  Throughout the course each student will grow in the comfort level of handling the gouache and color aid paper.
The purpose of the critique is to enhance student understanding of color interaction and extend the opportunity to effectively articulate comments about their own work and the work of others. Peer commentary will address the merits and/or shortcomings of the work, followed by remarks from the student, and will finally culminate in observations from the instructor. All students are expected to freely participate in the critiques. There is to be no conversation while a student or the instructor is addressing the class.  Project work, texting, reading, needlepoint, computer use and any other activity not directly connected to the critique process is strictly prohibited.  Furthermore, critique is not personal; keep comments directed about the work and not the individual responsible for creating it.
Research Paper Guidelines
-Include 8 artists and color copies of their work (at least two different images). You will need to research each artist and provide a brief 2 page (1 page of writing, 1 page of images), double-spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font paper for each artist. Use four artists from the past and four contemporary living artists. In each paper talk about what attracts you to this particular artist. I want to hear your opinions about their work and how the artist is using color. You will be assessed on your ability to research artists as well as critically write about and discuss their work.   You will put artist research into your sketchbook and also turn in a digital “Word .doc” for grading.   These are worth 50 points each, so they can greatly affect your grade in both a positive and negative manner
Materials List

-Gouache: You will need to purchase the kit in the art center here at the school. It has all of
the colors that you will need for the course. You will need to purchase more later in the

-Color-aid paper – (you will split with another student. It will cost $30.00 per student)

-Ox Gull- optional (can be used to smooth out gouache)

-Tape – Scotch brand removable Magic

-X-acto knife and extra blades

-18"ruler (metal)

-T-square (metal)

- Glue, glue stick, rubber cement or matte medium (recommended)
- Brushes (synthetic)– small to medium flats and rounds

-Palette or plastic mixing tray (large)

-Water container (screw on lid), non-breakable

-Two small airtight jars for chromatic grays

-Cutting board – “self-healing” – 11x17” or larger

-Paper towels

-Portfolio or photo box

-Camera (6.0 megapixels or higher, you do not have to buy one, but need to have one to use)
-Bristol pad (11x14”)

Recommended Texts (recommended means that the student would be well served in examining these books)

This class will be following the theories of color and color interaction outlined in:

Color, 2nd edition: A Workshop for Artists and Designers , David Hornung, McGraw Hill

 Other related texts the student may find helpful include:

The Interaction of Color (Revised and Expanded), Josef Albers, Yale University Press, 2006 (on reserve in the library)
Color, Paul Zelanski/Mary Pat Fisher, Prentice Hall
Color Studies, Edith Feisner, Fairchild
Color in Contemporary Painting, Charles Le Clair, Watson Guptil (on reserve in the library)
Color Codes, Charles A. Riley II, University Press of New England, 1995
Color, Betty Edwards, Penguin, 2004
Color Terms
Achromatic – Having no color.
Achromatic grays – Grays mixed from black and white only. Achromatic grays appear to have no coloration.
Additive color – Color as seen in light. Red, green and blue-violet are the additive color primaries. When mixed they produce white light.
Analogous colors – Closely related hues adjacent to each other on the color wheel.
Chromatic - Having color.
Chromatic grays – Grays mixed from colors rather than black and white.
Complementary colors – Colors that share no common hue and lie directly opposite each other on the color wheel.
High key – refers to colors that are light in value.
Hue – The name given to a color based on its position in the spectrum and its wavelength. The common name of a color.
Low key – Colors that are predominantly dark.
Monochromatic – One color or a color scheme based on one color.
Muted color – Colors that have lost saturation in mixing, but whose parent colors are still easily identifiable (blue-green or red-orange).
Primary triad – In subtractive color red, yellow, and blue from which (theoretically) all colors can be mixed.
Prismatic color – Pure hues that represent the spectrum colors at highest saturation.
Saturation – Intensity or chroma. Saturation refers to purity of hue.
Secondary triad – In subtractive color orange, green, and violet. The three colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel made by mixing pairs of primaries.
Shade – Mixing black with a color.
Simultaneous contrast – The tendency for complementary colors to intensify each other when juxtaposed.
Spectrum – Pure colored light as seen with a prism or in the form of a rainbow.
Subtractive color – Color seen in pigment as a result of reflected light.
Temperature – The relative warmth or coolness of a color as determined by its hue (blue is cool, orange is warm).
Tertiary colors – Intermediate colors created by combining a primary with a secondary color.
Tint – White mixed into a color.
Triad – Color scheme involving any three hues equidistant on the color wheel.

Value – The relative lightness or darkness of a color.