The Language of Color How do artists use color to create meaning? Click mouse to advance to the next slide
What are the artists reasons for choosing colors? Artists use color to create the time of day or give a sense of place or atmosphere to their work Artists use color to express emotion Artists use color to achieve an emotional response in the viewer Artists use color as a technical element of design Artists use color to support a story
Time of day Winslow Homer uses a primary color palette and white to capture the strong daylight of the tropics Homer uses a limited dark palette to create the illusion of a night scene
Night Even though Van Gogh is using saturated warm and cool colors, the context of the bright yellows surrounded by blues and greens gives them a cooler appearance and supports the feeling of a night sky
Cool Color Cool colors all contain blue, they tend to recede from the viewer and create a sense of distance Cool colors are also thought to be refreshing and clean.
Cold Color & Emotional Distance In this painting of the Old Guitar Player, Pablo Picasso uses only cool blues + brown to reinforce the sadness, distance and isolation of the musician. Picasso did several melancholy paintings during his “Blue Period”
Warm Color Warm Colors all contain red. Artists can use these colors to create a physical response to temperature. VanGogh uses them to express the heat of a summer day
Hot Color Mark Rothko uses the strength of saturated red to compress the smaller orange shape. Saturated hot colors like these advance towards the viewer.
Light John Singer Sargent creates a sense of light on the water by using hues that are transparent and light in their value ranges. This allows the blue and orange complments to create a sense of acivity without clashing
Dark Values Leonardo da Vinci said “Color is the enemy of art”. Artists from earlier times used value rather than color as their most important tool. Colors containing black are used to create volume and shadows.
Supper at Emmaus Caravaggio captures a serious moment using dark colors contrasted with smaller areas of red and white. The white and red also lead the eye through the painting
Drama 3 centuries Later, John Singer Sargent uses a similar palette in this portrait of the actress Ellen Terry in the role of Lady Macbeth to heighten the sense of drama.
Neutrals vs. Dark values + Red Winslow Homer isolates the two figures in the painting “Lifeline” with gray and neutral colors to focus the viewer’s attention on the figures at the center of the story
Arbitrary color Two impressionists, Van Gogh and Gaugin did not reproduce exact realistic color in their work. This freed artists to pursue color as a separate compositional element
Bright colors are active Keith Haring used these high key complimentary colors to help create a feeling of movement
Bright Piet Mondrian uses lines of bright color on a white background to replicate the rhythm and activity of New York City streets
Icarus Henri Matisse uses these bright primary colors in an active dancing way. This work tells the story Icarus who fell to earth after flying too close to the sun
Color and Medium Dale Chiluly uses the transparent and reflective properties of blown glass. The complimentary color scheme and saturated colors create lively movement to the inside and outside of the piece
Pale Artist Mary Cassatt worked in pale hues. The pale colors, all made with white help us to connect with the idealized and romantic vision of mother and Child
How does a change in intensity of the colors affect the way you react to the content?
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