Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Course Syllabus

Course Syllabus

Course number: FS103 (E) & (D)
Course Title: Color Theory

Class Meetings:
Section C Wednesday, 7:30 - 11:20 am 2950 Building, Room 308
Section D, Wednesday 12:30- 4:20pm 2950 Building Room 313
Session/Year: Summerr 2008
Instructor Name: Francisco Letelier
Email Address: Franlete@aol.com
Phone: (310) 399-5505
Instructor Availability Outside of Class: By appointment

Color Theory
Course Description:
In this course, students will explore color theory, including additive and subtractive color. Discussions of color and its relationship to composition, through harmony and contrast, will be explored.

Course Focus: The basic elements and principles of color. The student develops working skills with thinking and information of color design for a variety of visual effects. This course involves the development of color perception, expression, and application in traditional and digital imagery, using two dimensional formats through a series of problem solving exercises and projects.

Course Length: 11 Weeks
Contact Hours: 44 Hours
Lecture: 2 Hours per week
Lab: 2 Hours per week
Credit Values: 3 Quarter Credits

Course Competencies:
Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to:
• Compare and contrast hue, value, and saturation.
• Apply the concepts of unity, variety, contrast, dominance, appropriateness, balance, and harmony to their design.
• Compare and contrast additive and subtractive color theory.
• Distinguish the relative aspects of color perception (e.g., psychological and cultural aspects) as they apply to solving design problems.
• Differentiate between color used as symbol, as expression, and as description.
• Identify and define which color theories apply to different input/output devices.
• Identify color choices and ways.
• Demonstrate the design concept visually through sample boards, etc.

Course Prerequisites: None.

Method of Instruction: This course is taught using classroom and lab instruction employing lecture/demonstration, in-class exercises, student participation, lab activities, independent student projects and final exam.

Text(s): None.

Materials and Supplies:
Gouache (student grade) available in school store
Colored construction paper
Bristol board 9 x 12 tablet
Mat board
Illustration board
Ruler, triangle, exacto knife
assorted graphite pencils
Brushes for wet media
(one fine point brush and one flat ¼ ")
Drawing Journal

Materials for each class announced at the end of the proceeding class.
A supply of 81/2” x 11” paper work surfaces must be brought to each class session.

Estimated Homework Hours: 2-3 Hours per week

Technology Needed: None

Grading Scale:
All assignments must have clear criteria and objectives to meet. All students shall be treated equitably. It will be that student’s right to know his/her grade at any reasonable point that information is requested by that student. The criteria for determining a student’s grade shall be as follows (on a percentage of total points basis):

A 100-93
A- 92-90
B+ 89-87
B 86-83
B- 82-80
C+ 79-77
C 76-73
C- 72-70
D+ 69-67
D 66-65
F 64 or below

Process for Evaluation:
Any student absents in class total of 18 hours will be suspended from the course and awarded a grade of F.
Break times are scheduled at the instructor’s discretion.

Daily Assignments/In-Class Exercises = 25%
Attendance = 25%
All projects/Tests = 50%

*Please note: Showing up to class and doing all assignments, without progress, does not constitute a passing grade.

Student Evaluation/Grading Policies:
• Class time will be spent in a productive manner.
• Grading will be done on a point system.
• Points for individual activities will be announced.
• All work must be received by the set deadlines.
• Late work receives a grade of zero.
• On-time projects may be redone with instructor approval.

Department Attendance Policy: 3 Absences equals an F in the course.

School-wide Attendance Policy:
Students who do not attend any classes for fourteen (14) consecutive calendar days and fail to notify the Academic Affairs Department will be withdrawn from school. In addition, the student may be involuntarily withdrawn at the discretion of the Academic Director, and with the approval of the Dean of Academic Affairs, at any time.

Classroom Policy:
• No food allowed in class or lab at any time. Drinks in recloseable bottles allowed in classroom.
• Edible items brought to class or lab must be thrown out.
• If student elects to eat/drink outside class or lab door, missed time is recorded as absent.
• Attendance is taken hourly. Tardiness or absence is recorded in 15-minute increments.
• Break times are scheduled by the instructor at appropriate intervals.
• No private software is to be brought to lab or loaded onto school computers.
• No software games are allowed in lab (unless in course curriculum).
• Headphones are required if listening to music during lab. No headphones are allowed in lecture.
• Any student who has special needs that may affect his or her performance in this class is asked to identify his/her needs to the instructor in private by the end of the first day of class. Any resulting class performance problems that may arise for those who do not identify their needs will not receive any special grading considerations.

Plagiarism and Cheating (Student Handbook – pgs. 154-155)
Dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly supplying false information or deceiving the school and its officials is a violation of the student conduct policy. Any student who is found to have violated this policy is subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including suspension or permanent dismissal. Please be aware that plagiarism is presenting another’s ideas as one’s own and includes paraphrasing as well as copying without proper citations or quotation marks.

Disability Policy Statement:
“It is our policy not to discriminate against qualified students with documented disabilities in our educational programs, activities, or services. If you have a disability-related need for adjustments or other accommodations in this class, contact Kimberly Clapp, Disabilities Coordinator at (310) 314-6181 kclapp@aii.edu or visit her office located on the 2nd floor of the 2950 building, room 230.
Course Outline

Week 1: Lecture: Primary Colors, additive and Subtractive color, printing systems, computer monitors.
Lab: Creation of color wheel – Primary, Secondary and Tertiary colors
Homework: Complete color wheel

Week 2: Lecture: Basic Color Theory -Itten and Munsell systems
Lab: monochrome study/grey scales
Homework: Create a composition using one of Itten's color contrasts

Week 3: Lecture: Color Relationships and Harmony
Lab: Layout and Transparency
Homework: Layout and transparency

Week 4: Lecture: Color symbolism
Lab: Symbolic color
Homework: Symbolic color

Week 5: Lecture: Grids, Rhythm, Unity
Lab: Grid Study using rhythmic color and set palette
Homework: Finish Study

Week 6: Lecture: Still Life: Cropping and Enlarging
Lab: Create a warm or cool color palette for your composition
Homework: Finish Still life and Cropping exercise. Bring in image of a landscape with a distant horizon for next class
Week 7: Lecture: Fauvism and Expressionism
Lab: Using color to imply distance
Homework: Based on photos taken (24) select one photo and create a landscape using the color theory of aerial perspective.

Week 8: Lecture: Pointillism
Lab: create a color scheme and a series of studies using pointillist technique
Homework: Pointillist Composition based on your studies
Bring in image of work by a modernist artist who employs color as a device.

Week 9: Lecture: Modernist Art/ Visual Color Movements
Lab: Using selected work as a model, create a study
Homework: Modernist composition

Week 10: Lecture: Psychological/ Cultural context of Color
Lab: Use handout to explore/ experiment with
various psychological aspects of color
Homework: Cultural/psychological image

Week 11: Final project critique

Monday, April 21, 2008


"Everything in life is vibration"Albert Einstein


from Altered-state.com

In colour there is life. To understand this power, is living.
Colour could very well be the most magnificent experience we take for granted. Look around, it's everywhere, surrounding and embracing us. We interpret life as much through colour as we do shape, texture and sound.
The truth is, the power of colour is the very essence of life.

Our most important energy source is light, and the entire spectrum of colours is derived from light. Sunlight, which contains all the wavelengths, consists of the entire electromagnetic spectrum that we depend on to exist on this planet.
Light flows through our eyes and triggers hormone production, which influences our entire complex biochemical system. This biochemical system then affects our being. And light does not travel alone. Light travels with other energies as shown below.

We know that each colour found in the visible light spectrum has its own wavelength and its own frequency, which produces a specific energy and has a nutritive effect. We know some rays can be dangerous if we are exposed to them. But the visible light, the rainbow, has a soothing effect on us.
Light is the only energy we can see, and we see it in the form of colour.

Our body absorbs colour energy through the vibration colour gives off. All organs, body systems, and functions are connected to main energy centres.
Through colour we receive all the energies we need to maintain a health body, mind, and soul. The National Institute of Mental Health has done studies showing that our mental health, behaviour, and general efficiency in life depends to a great extent on normal colour balance. When something goes wrong, or is out of balance, we can strengthen our energy centres through the conscious use of colour.

Light consists of the seven colour energies: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Each colour is connected to various areas of our body and will affect us differently emotionally, physically, and mentally. By learning how each colour influences us, we can effectively use colour to give us an extra boost of energy when we need it.
If you wake up in the morning with little energy, or you need to prepare for a business meeting, this is where the power of colours can help. All you have to do is reflect on the type of day you have planned; choose the colour that will help you meet the demands of the day; and then absorb that particular colour. It's like fuelling your system with the right kind of gas!


Healing by means of color and light was the first type of therapy used by man. The sun's rays kept him warm, the colors of the flora fed him and accounted for his mood. The Egyptian Pharaohs and the Inca Indians worshipped the Sun as God and used plants as medicinal herbs.

In 6th century BC, Orpheus, the founder of the first metaphysical mystery school in Greece utilized vibrational medicine of color and light as a means of healing and spiritual awareness. Both Pythagorus and Plato were strongly influenced by his teachings.

In 125 AD - the ancient scientist, Apuleius experimented with a flickering light stimulus used to reveal epilepsy.

In 200 AD - Ptolemy observed patterns of color rays coming from the sun into the eyes produced a feeling of euphoria.

In the 17th century - French psychologist Pierre Janet used flickering lights to reduce hysteria for hospital patients.

1876 - Augustus Pleasanton used blue light to stimulate the glandular system. In this same year, Seth Pancoast utilized red light to stimulate the nervous system.

1878 - Dr. Edwin Babbitt used variant colors to produce healing of internal organs.

1908 - Aura Soma developed in England used colors to heal physical and emotional symptoms and promote psychological change.

1926 - C.G. Sander specified that application of particular colors was necessary for normal health.

1930 - The Father of Spectro-Chrome Metry, Dinshah P. Ghadiali compiled an encyclopedia of treatment with the use of color and light for over 400 various health related disorders.

1941 - Dr. Harry Riley Spitler formulated "The Syntonic Principle" stating that light by way of the eyes balances the autonomic nervous system.

1943 - Dr. Max Lucher developed psychological color testing to reveal information hidden in the subconscious mind which is still used today.

1980 - Dr. Thomas Budzynski - used phototherapy to accelerate learning.

1991 - Dr. Harrah Conforth applied color and light to facilitate whole brain synchronization and Dr. Robert Cosgrove utilized colored light for sedative properties prior to , during and immediately following surgery.

Color Research
That color affects us all is an undoubted fact. Its significance has been investigated and the results utilized in merchandizing, selling, home decorating, the workplace environment, industry, plant growth, nutrition, physics, physiology, psychology, ecclesiasticism and art. In fact, color is so much a part of our lives that we tend to take it for granted.

Physical healing is encouraged by directing colored light towards diseased areas of the body or to the eyes. In conventional medical treatment, phototherapy and photochemotherapy are used in current dermatological practice e.g. in the treatment of psoriasis, and blue light has been shown to be effective in the treatment of hyperbiliruminemia in the newborn.

There is a wealth of evidence to support the psychological effects of color and Dr Max Luscher's The Luscher Color Test contains ample evidence of this (be advised that many of the references in this book are in German).

In conventional medical practice, the use of blue light in the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia has been proven by many researchers including Vreman et al with their study "Light-emitting diodes: a novel light source for phototherapy". Creamer and McGregor of St John's Institute of Dermatology, London. UK published a paper in January 1998 entitled "Photo (chemo) therapy: advances for systemic or cutaneous disease", exploring the value of light as a treatment. Griffiths of the University of Manchester, UK, in July 1998, published a paper on "Novel therapeutic approaches to psoriasis" and in October 1998, The Archives of General Psychiatry ran four articles on light therapy. Regrettably, where treatment of a broader spectrum of disorders is concerned, the evidence is largely anecdotal.
Research in the agricultural field lends support to the potential for color as a therapy in humans as the following examples show:

1. In 1997 researchers at the School of Agriculture and Forest Science at the University of Wales, UK used red and blue light to establish whether these would increase activity and reduce locomotion disorders in meat chickens. They showed that in 108 chicks walking, standing, aggression and wing stretching all increased in intensity when reared from day 1-35 in red light. Where blue light was used, there was a high incidence of gait abnormalities. Prayitno DS., Phillips CJ and Stokes DK. 1997. The effects of color and intensity of light on behaviour and leg disorders in broiler chickens. Poultry Science 76(12): 1674-81.

2. Michael Kasperbauer, a researcher at the US Agricultural Research Service Center in Florence, South Carolina, showed that using red plastic sheeting under tomato and cotton plants produced a 15-20% higher yield than plants grown over traditional black or clear plastic. Also turnips grown under blue plastic had an improved flavour when compared with those grown under green sheets. Analysis of those grown under the blue plastic revealed that they had higher concentrations of glucocinolates and vitamin C (glucosinolates being the compounds which give turnips and horseradish their traditional "bite"). Kasperbauer and his team have also investigated the link between color and pest control. Michael Orzolek of Pennsylvania State University proved that aphids and the plant viruses they transmit are generally attracted to yellow and repelled by red and blue. This finding echoes the work of Babbitt a century earlier when he wrote "The electrical colors which are transmitted by blue glass often destroy the insects which feed upon plants." Boyce N. Rainbow Growing. New Scientist. 24 October 1998.

Future research could focus on the clinical efficacy of color therapy and, the neurobiological mechanism of action. Extensive anecdotal evidence of the value of color therapy in the treatment of countless physical disorders over many decades deserves to be revisited. However, this evidence needs to be subjected to rigorous scientific research in order to establish (or otherwise) a sound basis for color therapy. Developing instruments for applying color could provide a commercial incentive for clinical trials.
A major resource for researchers is the Faber Birren Collection Of Books on Color which was presented to Yale University in 1971. Faber Birren (1900-1988) was a leading authority on color and the collection's holdings are the most extensive to be found anywhere. A complete online bibliography can be found at the Yale University Library website.
from the chapter on Color Therapy by Therese M Donnelly in the Clinician's Complete Reference to Complementary & Alternative Medicine by Donald W Novey MD, published by Mosby, 2000.

The practical application of a specific colour for a bodily condition requires common sense and experimentation. Generally, dis-harmony that produces a cold, wet condition requires red. Conditions of a hot, thermal nature require blue to calm and effect a stabilization of the subtle body in question. Therefore, contra-indicated to any red condition is the use of a red colour application such as with sunstroke. The use of red will aggravate the problem. The same is true of any blue condition; ie, contra-indicated for colds or pneumonia is the use of cold blue.
Some color therapists believe colours contain energy vibrations with healing properties. Exposure to a color and its vibrations can be used to assist the body's natural healing and recuperative powers to achieve and maintain health and well-being.
The are seven natural colours in the visible light spectrum (rainbow): red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Each color vibrates at its own individual frequency. In Color Therapy each color corresponds to one of the seven chakras (energy centres in the body), which in turn can influence a specific gland, organ, or tissue of the body. for example, the color red, which corresponds to the root or base chakra, can be used for problems with the adrenal glands, kidneys, and bladder. The color rays may be in the visible or invisible spectrum and can be administered through colored lights or applied mentally through suggestion.


Red is called "The Great Energizer" and "The Father of Vitality." Red is warm, vital, heating. It loosens, opens up clogs, releases stiffness and constrictions. It is excellent for areas that have become stiffened or constricted.

RED is the first visible colour we see after the infra-red band is passed. Red is thermal, heating, warming, yang and positive. It has many tendencies including the promotion of cellular growth and activity, stimulating the Will aspect, corresponding to our life force, or the circulatory system. It is therefore indicated for all colds, sluggish or dormant conditions, such as pneumonia, bursitis, paralysis, arthritis, anaemia, as a liver stimulant, an energy builder, for raising the blood pressure and increasing circulation
Red links with and stimulates the root chakra, at the base of the spine, causing the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This results in greater strength. Red causes hemoglobin to multiply, thus increasing energy and raising body temperature. It is excellent for anemia and blood-related conditions.

Use when you need to meet a demanding day, or when you feel drained of energy. The colour red provides the power from the earth and gives energy on all levels. It connects us to our physical body. Everything that is to be commenced needs the life vitality of red.


Orange is the true color of the sun. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions.

Because orange is a blend of red and yellow, it combines physical energy with mental wisdom, inducing a transformation between lower physical reaction and higher mental response. Thus, it is often referred to as "The Wisdom Ray."

Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting. Through orange, we are able to heal the physical body (red) and, at the same time, induce within the mind (yellow) greater understanding on how the body may be kept in good repair. Orange helps assimilate new ideas and stimulate mental enlightenment. It is also helpful in dealing with excess sexual expression.

ORANGE - joy and constructivity - animates like red, although different cures are effected by this ray. Included are inflammation of the kidneys, gallstones, prolapses, menstrual cramps, epilepsy, wet cough and all sinus conditions.

Brings joy to our workday and strengthens our appetite for life! Orange is the best emotional stimulant. It connects us to our senses and helps to remove inhibitions and makes us independent and social.


Yellow helps strengthen the nerves and the mind. It helps awaken mental inspiration and stimulates higher mentality. Thus, it is an excellent color for nervous or nerve-related conditions or ailments.

Yellow links with and stimulates the solar plexus, or psychic center. It can be used for psychic burnout or other psychic-related conditions or ailments.

Yellow can be used for conditions of the stomach, liver, and intestines. It helps the pores of the skin and aids scarred tissue in healing itself. It also has a very enriching effect upon the intellect and the brain.

YELLOW is stimulating to the nervous system and the intellect. These rays have an alkalizing effect which strengthens the nerves, and are awakening, inspiring and vitally stimulating to the higher mind or manas, aiding self-control. Typical diseases treated by yellow are constipation, gas, liver troubles, diabetes, eczema and skin troubles, leprosy and nervous exhaustion.
Like the color of gold, yellow represents the highest of the physical colors. "Worth its weight in gold" applies to yellow.

Gives us clarity of thought, increases awareness, and stimulates interest and curiosity. Yellow energy is related to the ability to perceive and understand. The yellow energy connects us to our mental self.


Most people associate blue with healing. However, green is the universal healing color. The ancient Egyptians and Chinese used green as the primary color of healing. Why is that? Because green is midway in the color spectrum; therefore, it contains both a physical nature and a spiritual nature, in equal balance and in equal harmony. Thus, green can be used for just about any condition in need of healing. When in doubt, green will always work.

Helps relax muscles, nerves, and thoughts. Cleanses and balances our energy, to give a feeling of renewal, peace and harmony. Green connects us to unconditional love and is used for balancing our whole being.

Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body. It is neither relaxing nor astringent in its impact.

In a more practical sense, green affects blood pressure and all conditions of the heart. It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing effect.

GREEN is the colour of balance, harmony, nature, neutrality and of non-resistance. It was the colour of the first system from which we evolved and remains with us to this day as the calming, peaceful green of spring and nature. Green corresponds to the heart center on the physical plane and heals many illnesses of this nature, specifically including heart troubles, decreasing and stabilizing blood-pressure, ulcers, cancer, headaches, nervous disorders and influenza, and acts as a general tonic.


BLUE, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the visible spectrum and is electric, cooling, yin and negative. Dr Babbitt has called blue one of the greatest antiseptics in the world. Blue light will stop bleeding of the lungs, decrease fevers, cure sore throats, give relief to most inflammations of the skin and gums, and can be used with infants for pain while teething. Blue is also used for goitre, measles, chickenpox, cuts, bruises and burns. Relaxing, soothing blue rays will also bring great calm and peace to the mind that is worried, excited, or in a constant nervous state. More diseases are treated by blue light than by any other colour, which is not surprising considering that cosmic fire in our system is clear cold blue.

Dr. Edwin Babbitt, in his classic, "The Principles of Light and Color," states that "The Blue Ray is one of the greatest antiseptics in the world."

Blue is cooling, electric, astringent. It helps bleeding, decreases fevers, and cures soar throats. Blue can have a sedative effect, as expressed in the remark of "feeling blue." It is a very positive color, indicating loyalty and reliability, as expressed in the sentiment of being "true blue."

Blue links with and stimulates the throat chakra. The throat chakra is often referenced as the "power center" and "the greatest center in the body" because it is the primary center of expression and communication, through speech. Thus, the effect of blue upon this center and the aura, in general, is quite profound.

Blue can be used for any type of ailments associated with speech, communication, or the throat. Solarized blue water is an excellent tonic for laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx.

This is a mentally-relaxing colour. Blue has a pacifying effect on the nervous system and brings great relaxation. Ideal for sleep problems, and hyper-active children. Connects us to holistic thought, and gives us wisdom and clarity enhancing communication and speech.


INDIGO, as previously stated, is the colour of our solar system. It has been particularly beneficial in treating cataracts, glaucoma and various eye problems. Other uses of indigo include purification of the blood and of the mind. Ear and nose complaints, diseases of the lungs, asthma, infantile convulsions and mental complaints may be remedied through the use of indigo.

Indigo is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also benefits mental problems. It is a freeing and purifying agent.

Indigo combines the deep blue of devotion with a trace of stabilizing and objective red. Indigo is cool, electric, and astringent. It is, also, the color ray used by Spirit to help entrance a medium.

Indigo links with and stimulates the brow chakra (third eye) and controls the pineal gland. It governs both physical and spiritual (not psychic) perception; that is, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience. Thus, it can be of great assistance in dealing with ailments of the eyes and ears, as well as assisting in problems or conditions related to mediumship.

Finally, indigo is considered the ray of the Holy Spirit.

The indigo energy connects us to our unconscious self, and gives us the experience of being part of the whole universe. Strengthens intuition, imagination, psychic powers, and increases dream activity.


VIOLET is the last colour we can see before light passes on to ultra-violet. This colour is an excellent remedy for neurosis, diseases of the scalp, sciatica, tumors, rheumatism, cerebro-spinal meningitis, concussion, cramps and epilepsy. Violet animates and cleans the venous blood. Esoterically violet is white and synthesizes all form manifestation.

Violet is truly the color of the divine Spirit. Violet works only on the levels of the Spirit. It is generally not used for physical conditions; however, some color experts believe that it does provide nourishment to the cells in the upper brain and does have a link with the crown chakra. Furthermore, it helps expand the horizons of our Divine understanding.

Violet should be used only for spiritually-related problems.

Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation ten-fold by meditating under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in Church windows.

Purifies our thoughts and feelings giving us inspiration in all undertakings. The violet energy connects us to our spiritual self bringing guidance, wisdom and inner strength. Enhances artistic talent and creativity.


White is the perfect color; for it is all color, in perfect balance and harmony. It is the color of the awakened Spirit; the light of perfection; the light of the Christ and Buddhic consciousness. It is also the Divine Light.

Just about everyone has heard of surrounding people with the "White Light of Healing and Protection." Directing white into the aura helps stimulate the person's own divine nature into healing the self.

The general rule of thumb is to place the affected area 12 inches from the glass and approximately 10-12 inches from your LIGHT SOUIRCE if you are inside. Twice a day is the ideal and, once started, the treatment should continue until the complaint is gone.
Colds are the most dramatic to experiment with. Use red. Focus over the chest and leave it there for 5-7 minutes. Colds and asthma, utilizing red and orange respectively, have reportedly brought dramatic results in a very short time. If you are not sure of any colour, always under-expose the time of treatment.


RED: 5-10 minutes. Never more than 10 minutes.
ORANGE: 5-15 minutes, with 15 minutes used only for sinus problems.
YELLOW: 15 minutes. As a nerve tonic 15 minutes is ideal.
GREEN: 10-25 minutes. This is the only colour that can be applied at such length.
BLUE: 5-15 minutes. Never over-expose around the head region.
INDIGO: 10 minutes. For eye therapy usually 1-5 minutes is sufficient.
VIOLET: 5-25 minutes. The only occasion for a 25-minute application of violet would be in treating sciatica, exposing only the back or sides of the body.

Any colour that is applied to a specific area must be localized; this is very important. Green, yellow and blue may be general.

Red is never to be applied to the head region.

The best part of the rainbow isn't the pot of gold...
...It's the rainbow itself

" An apple reflects a shade of red to the retina, forming impulses that travel as coded messages to the brain, where hormones are released, altering metabolism, sleeping, feeding and temperature patterns. So you see, we don't just notice colors, we feel them. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, they empower us. Dawn to dusk, they rule our world, transforming nature's energy into personal realization. Every color has its own personality and in each lies knowledge and clarity."
~Suza Scalora

Color Therapy, or Color Healing, is the therapeautic use of varous forms of color and light for physical, emotional, and spiritual benefit to the human body. Color and light therapy involves the application colour in a variety of ways: colored gels with light to penetrate and stimulate the body's meridians which corresponds to traditional Asian acupuncture systems as well as accessing and incorporating the axiational lines ; colored lights applied to areas of the body; the use of colored lenses (prescription and non-prescription eyewear) for a variety of health concerns; the use of the sun; light applied to the eyes ; and the use of crystals or crystal rods with or without an outside light source for penetration of colorinto the body through the auric field, also using the acupuncture systems and axiational lines. Further use of color is made in the environment through the use of colored light bulbs, the paints applied to a room, the color of carpeting and furniture, or through the use of certain colored clothes, the use of crystals in the environment, sunlight, all of which directly impact the body through the bio magnetic (auric) field.
Color assists the body in its natural ability to balance itself and has been used for centuries by practitioners of the healing arts especially in Asia and in the ancient civilizations.. Egyptian priests left manuscripts showing their system of colour science, and Indian and Chinese mystics had knowledge of colour in their secret doctrines.
In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton developed the first valuable theory of color when he admitted sunlight through a prism. Newton established the presence of seven basic colors in the spectrum. For centuries the healing profession has recognized that color is a force of immeasurable and infinite power, exerting a tremendous psychological and physiological influence on people.
In Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s psychologists working in mental hospitals researched the effect of color on patients. By utilizing different colored walls and lights it was found that depressive patients put into rooms with red or bright yellow walls, and hyperactive patients put into rooms with blue or green walls, were both calmed by the respective colours.
Black is a color associated with tragedy and death. Blackfriars Bridge, in London, was a was a gloomy black structure known for its high rate of suicide. After the bridge was painted green, the suicide rate declined by one third.
The use of color has numerous applications in industry. Experiments have shown that muscular reaction time is much quicker under the influence of red light than green light, which has application on an assembly line. The colours used on factory walls and machinery affect employee morale, efficiency, absenteeism, and accident rates.
In sports, a locker room painted in colours on the red side of the spectrum is known to stimulate team members. Uniform color can also influence a teams performance: thus, many professional football teams use red or orange as some part of the team colours.
Color is used extensively in interior design to create a certain feeling or mood, and to influence behaviour. For example, red rooms cause an overestimate of time. This is a particularly effective color for restaurants that want to make an individual feel she has spent more time there than she actually has. This allows the restaurant to seat more people in a given time period.
Restaurants and food processors use color to make food more attractive and appetizing. it has been suggested that consuming naturally colored foods and beverages is and an excellent way of getting color into the body for the improvement of health.

The condition that led the way to acceptance of some form of light treatments is Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D.. This condition occurs most frequently during the long winter months but has also been shown to be present in people who have been house or hospital confined for long periods. Other occupations, such as pilots, flight attendants, miners, third shift industrial workers, etc., also experience symptoms of light deprivation. Some of these industries have begun to require the employees to sit in full spectrum light rooms for periods of time to avoid symptoms. Some people have affectionately called this condition "Cabin Fever" and have used it to describe a feeling of frustration, confinement, irritation at everything and anything and an inability to concentrate or enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

" All forms of matter are really light waves in motion."
- Albert Einstein

Color. We delight in a rainbow, sigh at a sunset, luxuriate in the rich colors of our homes, clothes, special spaces. Our eyes gravitate towards saturated color like moths to the light. No coincidence, considering the entire spectrum of colors is derived from light. And no surprise, really, that seeing, wearing or being exposed to color- whether in the form of light, pigment, or cloth- can affect us at levels we are only just beginning to understand.

Scientifically, it makes sense. Color is simply a form of visible light, of electromagnetic energy. Let's break it down. What exactly is light? It is the visible reflection off the particles in the atmosphere. Color makes up a band of these light wave frequencies from red at 1/33,000th's of an inch wavelength to violet at 1/67,000 of an inch wavelength. Below red lie infrared and radio waves. Above it: the invisible ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays. We all understand the impact of ultraviolet and x-rays, do we not? Why then wouldn't the light we can see "as color" not have as big an impact?

How we "feel" about color is more than psychological. The last decade has proven that lack of color, or more specifically, light, causes millions to suffer each winter from a mild depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Because of the complex way in which exposure to various colors acts via the brain upon the autonomic nervous system, exposure to a specific color can even alter physiological measurements such as blood pressure, electrical skin resistance and glandular functions in your body. And they most certainly can affect how you feel on a day-to-day basis. Learning about color's qualities and putting it to use can enhance your spirit, improve your health, and quite ultimately, expand your consciousness.

Did you know?
Many people today agree that we are made up of vibrations and vibrations are colors. Some people who are sensitive can see other people and even objects giving off or being surrounded by colors. These emanations are called auras or energy fields. There are also some common misunderstandings associated with particular colors. For instance, the color black has often been feared. It has been believed to represent the unknown. Black in the past and even now has had associations of somehow being bad. But if you look again, you will see that black has great depth. Many image consultants, color therapists and healers have a fixed belief system about color. For example, orange is accepted for autumn, blue for calming, yellow for intellectual openness and mental clarity, white for purity, and purple for power. Colors do not need to be fixed or used only in these ways. Find out what works for you by exploring every color.

In Occult Meditation, by Alice A. Bailey, the Tibetan says that "..colours are the expressions of force or quality. They hide or veil the abstract qualities of the Logos, which are reflected as virtues or faculties. Therefore, just as the seven colours hide qualities in the Logos, so these virtues demonstrate in the life of the personality and are brought forward objectively through the practice of meditation; thus each life will be seen as corresponding to a colour."

The basic premise of the ancient art of Colour Therapy is that all manifested life is energy, emanating from One Source, to and including all directions, encompassing all possibilities. It is here that we begin to see just why colour and sound play a very important part in our everyday lives. Each day we see colours and hear sounds which act upon our bodies. When we find a colour or ray quality lacking or in excess, the result can be dis-ease, dis-harmony or dis-cord.

The modern interpreter of colour therapy, or chromo therapy, was Dr Edwin Babbitt with his widely known work The Principles of Colour Therapy, printed in 1878. It is interesting to note that Babbitt's diagram of the atom is found in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire by Alice Bailey. The Tibetan illustrates that this energy system is repeated throughout the manifested universe, from the smallest atom up to and including the largest solar system. Here again we find agreement between exoteric and esoteric scientific theory.

In meditation, you may visualize or 'breathe in' a specific colour for treatment of any conditions previously named. By consistently practising this form of colour therapy, you will achieve the desired result, though the time period may be slightly longer. As we have seen through example and experiment all is Energy and that Energy generates a force which is applied either correctly or not. In the correct apprehension of force and its action upon our bodies, we can truly effect lasting change within ourselves. "Colour is therefore 'that which does conceal'. It is simply the objective medium by means of which the inner force transmits itself; it is the reflection upon matter of the type of influence that is emanating from the Logos, and which has penetrated to the densest part of His solar system. We recognize it as colour. The adept knows it as differentiated force, and the initiate of the higher degrees knows it as ultimate light, undifferentiated and undivided." - The Tibetan.

This ancient art is still practical today, and its uses are many and varied.

As John Gage shows in his definitive history Colour and Culture (1995), the way we see colour is associative rather than empiric – for example, we think of blue as cool, expansive and soothing, even though the blue bit of a gas flame is hotter than the orange. Colour has different meanings in different contexts, but, Gage writes, “there seems to be a universal urge to attribute affective characters to colours”. Practitioners of chromo-therapy were convinced that colour was primarily a question of immediate feeling rather than intellectual judgment, and that it could have profound psychological and physiological influences. This belief in the powerful corporeal effects of colour influenced avant-garde artists such as Gauguin and Kandinsky, who thought of chromo-therapy as a useful tool in developing a non-representational art, because it provided the grammar for a supposed universal language of colour. But though chromo-therapy was once an intellectual fashion, its role in the story of modern art is largely forgotten. Where did the idea that colour could heal come from?

In the West, theories of colour evolved out of alchemy and medicine; colour was, therefore, intimately bound up with the therapeutic. The first colour circles were urine charts used by physicians to identify an imbalance of the four humours. A fifteenth-century example, from an anonymous Treatise on Urine, shows a radial pattern of twenty vials in various hues, running from clear (indicative of a phlegmatic temperament) to black (melancholic) through a series of yellow ochres (choleric) and blood reds (sanguine). Potions and herbs were often chosen by doctors on the basis that their colour opposed and would therefore harmonise any humoural lopsidedness.

In his influential Theory of Colours (1810), Goethe developed this relationship between colour and Hippocratic medicine. He and his friend, the Romantic philosopher Friedrich Schiller, also visualised colour relationships in a circle – which they called a “Temperamental Rose” – but they adapted the entire spectrum (not just those shades relevant to the medical diagnosis of bodily fluids) to the four humours. Green and yellow represented the active, sanguine character, exemplified by bon vivants, lovers and poets. Purple and blue-red characterised the passive and melancholic type – monarchs, scholars and philosophers. However, for Goethe, colours weren’t just arbitrary symbols of these bodily states, they could also produce them. “Every colour,” he believed, “produces a corresponding influence on the mind.”

Goethe tried to prove that colour had a direct, rather than mediated, effect on our feelings by tinting his laboratory windows alternately yellow, red, green and blue. He concluded that “the eye could be in some degree pathologically affected by being long confined to a single colour; that, again, definite moral impressions were thus produced… sometimes lively and aspiring [yellow], sometimes soft and yearning [blue], sometimes uplifted to the noble [red], sometimes dragged down to the base [green]”.

His own house was decorated according to this scheme. Unpopular guests never made it past the “Juno room”, which was painted a “gloomy and melancholy” blue so that they wouldn’t be tempted to stay long. The lucky ones who had dinner invitations were led into the warmth of his yellow dining room: “The eye is glad-dened,” he hoped, “the heart expanded and cheered, a glow seems at once to breathe towards us.” He preferred to work in a green garden room as he found the neutral admixture of yellow and blue to be peaceful and soothing.

Following Goethe, doctors began using colour not just as an aid to diagnosis, but as a cure in itself. The French psychologist Charles Féré, who worked under Charcot at the famous Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, was convinced of its psychological therapeutic properties. He began experimenting with coloured light on hysterics in the 1880s, glazing asylum cells with blue or violet glass to create calming and curative effects. Féré thought of coloured light as different waves or vibrations of radiant energy that could be sensed not just by the eyes, but all over the skin in a form of cutaneous vision. In 1887 he set up a device, invented by Etienne-Jules Marey, who pioneered the photography of serial motion, to test this peculiar theory. It was a primitive oscillograph which measured the contractions of the hand and forearm under the influence of various coloured lights, definitively proving, Féré thought, that red had the most exciting effect and violet the most calming.

Other doctors had already followed Goethe’s lead. Dr Ponza, Féré wrote excitedly, “has announced happy effects from red light in melancholics and blue light in maniacs”, and Dr Davies, of the County Lunatic Asylum in Kent, “has obtained four cures of maniacs by the same treatment, but has not obtained any results in melancholics”. (However, Féré admitted, “the experiments of M Taguet had a negative result in all cases”.) Colour treatment soon became fashionable. The illustrations in Seth Pancoast’s Blue and Red Light: or, Light and its Rays as Medicine (1877) show a well-dressed woman sprawled languidly on a couch as she bathes in coloured light. One contemporary writer dubbed the resulting craze the “blue glass mania” and offered the following prescription: “Blue glass one part; faith, ten parts; mix thoroughly and stir well until all the common sense evaporates, as the presence of a minute quantity will spoil the mixture.”

However, apparently lacking in common sense, the research conducted by scientists and physicians into the psychological power of colour inevitably influenced artists, who found in this work an affirmation of the moral significance and physiologic impact of their medium. Paul Gauguin’s use of bold, flat planes of non-representational colour, as seen in Faa Iheihe (1898), was directly inspired by chromo-therapy. “Since colour,” he wrote in his diary, “is in itself enigmatic in the sensations which it gives us (note: medical experiments made to cure madness by means of colours) we cannot logically employ it except enigmatically… to give musical sensations which spring from it, from its peculiar nature, from its inner power, its mystery, its enigma.”

Kandinsky, who had been impressed by Gauguin’s forceful use of brilliant colour when he saw his paintings in Paris in 1902, came across chomo-therapy when he read Arthur Osborne Eaves’s The Power of Colours (1906). “Colour directly influences the soul,” Kandinsky wrote in Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912). “Anyone who has heard of colour therapy knows that coloured light can have a particular effect upon the entire body. Various attempts to exploit this power of colour and apply it to nervous disorders have again noted that red light has an enlivening and stimulating effect upon the heart, while blue, on the other hand, can lead to temporary paralysis.”

That same year, the Swiss psychologist Dr Max Lüscher developed a colour test which consisted of a person sorting 73 colour patches into an order of preference (an abbreviated test of eight cards was also used), and claimed to be able to judge personality from the results. He even believed that “it is sometimes possible to deduce personality characteristics of a painter when great emphasis is placed on one or two colours, for example, Gauguin’s obsession with yellow in his later paintings”. His ideas served to boost interest in chromo-therapy, reviving a fashion just as the FDA was recalling all of Ghadiali’s devices. Lüscher was influenced by both Goethe’s theory of colour and Kandinsky’s neo-Romanticism – and thought his test worked as “an early warning system for stress ailments… cardiac malfunction, cerebral attack or disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract”. He was convinced colour had fixed primal associations that took us back to an ancient fear of the dark, to hunting and self-preservation. “The test is a ‘deep’ psychological test,” Lüscher asserted, insisting on its scientific veracity, “developed for the use of psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians… It is NOT a parlour game.”

His theories were taken up not only by psychiatrists and therapists, but by the advertising and marketing industries, where they had a wider and more long lasting influence. For example, Lüscher advised that sugar shouldn’t be sold in a green package, as the colour is associated with astringence, whereas blue was associative of sweetness. In the 1960s, the American scientist Alexander Schauss read Lüscher’s musings on colour psychology, packaging and décor and began his own research into the physiological effects of colour. He thought he’d discovered a colour with a profoundly calming effect and was keen to put it to use. Beginning in 1979, he persuaded a number of American prisons to paint their cells a camp, but supposedly pacifying shade. If only he’d done so in time for Ghadiali’s confinement, the Bombay colour theorist might have found himself in a cell painted a bright Indian pink

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Psychology of Color by Roger Elliot

PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOR Symbolic meanings of colors have psychological connotations. Nevertheless, colors effect us psychologically regardless of any symbolism. And the psychological effect of one color can be very different from its symbolical significance. Black may signify mourning, but a black gown or suit, such as a tuxedo, is distinguished and elegant as well, depending upon circumstances. An orange or red gown is loud and flashy, out-of-place, when worn by a woman attending a funeral; but it may be proper and attractive when the same woman wears it at a gala reception or dance.
There is no absolute definition of psychological effects. A few years ago, I was wearing a charcoal-gray suit, a pair of gray gloves, a white shirt, and a subdued necktie. Standing in a subway car, I overheard two women whispering to each other: "He must be an undertaker." They shied away from me. They probably imagined I smelled of death. At the same time, I thought I was smartly dressed. After the experience, however, I always wore my charcoal suit with a bright-hued shirt and a very colorful necktie...and without gray gloves.
There can be hardly any question but that people prefer bright, sunny days to dark, rainy ones; a bouquet of fresh flowers is more attractive than a shabby trash can full of waste; darkness will always suggest danger and mystery; fire and flames will never cease to be fascinating as well as frightening.
As we have become more conscious of the pleasant or unpleasant reactions to colors, we employ our knowledge in a practical manner. We now paint the walls of hospitals and schools a pale Nile-green, rather than the previously universal dull gray or buff or glaring white; we find the soft green hue more relaxing to eye and soul. We've discovered that a small room looks bigger if painted in light tones, and even larger if one of its walls is done in a different hue; the lighter color gives a feeling of space, while the different color appears to open on another vista.
The Louvre in Paris, and other major museums in Europe, have long since painted the walls of various galleries in different hues: dusty-green, blue-gray, light-maroon, and so forth, in order to make them more intimate and diversified. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art tried the same idea a number of years ago, but people objected to the colors; they were accustomed to the drab uniformity of each gallery. Recently, though, The Metropolitan has redecorated some of its galleries in color and nobody seems to complain, since people have become adjusted to the idea of color. Paintings on colored walls are closer to us, or so it seems. The dry, severe atmosphere of a museum is softened.
Many an artist faces a client who doesn't dare purchase a certain painting, because the client believes it won't go with the color of the wall. This is a completely erroneous concept. The color of the wall has nothing to do with the painting, unless the wall color is absurd - orange, perhaps, with cobalt blue woodwork! One doesn't encounter such bizarre color combinations in the average household. On a normal wall, any painting you like will remain attractive, provided that it's in a frame which visually separates it from the surroundings.
UTILIZING PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS IN PAINTING As I have stated before, art is not a haphazard activity. Even if you paint spontaneously, such a painting is based on your knowledge and skill, rather than merely your natural talent. Knowledge and skill are what you learn from teachers, from books, from the internet, from experience, from practice. If you understand the psychological effects of colors, you can employ them at your will, deliberately. you have a better chance of figuring out the ultimate effect. You can be sure, for example, that a painting executed mainly in shades of gray, and much of it in black, with hardly any relief from the dark tones, will have a lugubrious, depressing effect on the average onlooker. If that is what you want, go ahead.
Art is not necessarily a joyful activity; a painting is not great because it is full of happiness; nor is it bad because it happens to convey a feeling of tragedy. This is the same as with theatrical productions: we have tragedies as well as comedies. But if you write a tragedy, you don't want the audience to laugh at it; and if you planned to write a comedy, you are shocked if it makes people cry. You're free to pain a tragic picture, employing all the colors that convey an emotion of sadness or despair.
Understanding all the features of your art is bound to help you in attaining your positive goal. I've seen outdoor paintings the artist wanted to be cheerful. I saw him do the work. But what happened? He painted the light, sparkling blue sky much too dark. He painted the foliage of trees in the background just as those in the foreground, a grayish-green. The grass was blue-green; the earth, visible here and there, was almost black, with gray highlights. The tree trunks were all of the same rusty-brown color, in the distance, in the foreground, in the middleground. The entire painting looked dreary, dull, without any depth. It resembled an old, shabby, discolored theatrical backdrop. He missed his mark by miles!
I saw another artist, a very serious one, paint a funeral, showing people standing all around the grave, with their umbrellas open. He thought that funerals must be held on rainy days, the way they are usually shown in grade C films. He painted all the figures, all the umbrellas in black, the sky gray, but the grass was bright green, as if hit by the sun. There was something theatrical about the black silhouette-like figures. The onlooker felt that it was all a fake, a play-acting.
There are artists who know exactly what colors to employ. For example, the artist who paints cityscapes right after the rain. One can see the clouds disappearing; there are some puddles of rainwater, here and there, but the sun is out, and everything looks freshened-up, cheerful. This kind of painting demands absolute knowledge of colors and their effects.
HOW TO JUDGE YOUR COLOR SELECTION There are two major criteria by which you might judge your selection of colors in any field: in dress, home, or painting. Neither of these criteria is easy, and neither of them is foolproof, but both of them are well worth trying, especially because there seems to be no alternative.
One way you can judge colors is not to look at your work, dress, or home for a few days, until your eyes are fresh enough to be able to see clearly. You can put a dress or suit in your closet. You can turn a painting face against the wall. You can shut your eyes when you are home, or try to look at a small corner only. The best idea is to go away for a while.
A few days later, turn your painting face out; take your apparel out of the closet; turn all lights on in your house, and look, just look. A great deal of self-criticism is possible in this fashion. In paintings, you can also turn the work upside down. You'll find this simple trick is a help. For reasons we have discussed before in these lessons, you'll notice mistakes more quickly in an upside-down picture than in a rightside-up painting.
The other way of judging results is by watching the reaction of other people to your colors. Those people may be friends or strangers, but, preferably, they are people whose judgment you consider satisfactory. Don't tell them anything, just watch them.
Even though tastes are different, most people in your own circle are likely to agree on what is attractive and what isn't. If such general agreement didn't exist, the world would be absolutely unbearable.
Watch peoples reaction to your taste and allow them to make suggestions. Listen to them carefully and consider their criticism and advice. But, for heaven's sake, don't permit every Tom, Dick, and Harry to destroy your ego by making devastating, unwarranted comments on your taste and artistry. CHARACTERISTIC COLOR COMBINATIONS By a natural association of ideas, we think of spring as full of vivid color. Summer, in our memory, lives as a season of heat, without any delicacy of color. Everything is ripe, fully grown. Autumn, in a large part of the world, is a symphony of colors, ranging from still green leaves, through yellow, orange, violet, purple tones, to the dying brown foliage under a clear blue sky. Winter is either depressing with its barren earth, skeletonized trees, and shrubs; or invigorating with its bright blue sky and violet shadows thrown on the pure snow. Winter sports are characterized by multi-colored apparel.
Dusk, dawn, rain, thunderstorm, snowfall, the sun coming out from behind clouds after a shower, the last orange rays of the setting sun illuminating the sky - all carry certain moods with them. These moods are reflected in the coloring.
Artists have been intrigued by seasons, and weather for centuries. The seasons have often been depicted in combination with the ages of man: childhood and spring; youth and summer; maturity and autumn; old age and winter. There is a challenge in painting the seasons. You must go outdoors and paint from direct observation during the greater part of the year. Few artists paint in the open in the cold season, but one can observe snowy scenery from a house or a shack. One noted New England artist that I happen to know, has been painting nothing but snowscapes, and always from life. He drives around in a glass-enclosed studio, complete with heater, and all equipment built on the good, old chassis of a car. He stops wherever he finds inspiration. He doesn't seem to be interested in any other subject. When there is no snow, he takes a vacation.
One serious warning: don't paint outdoor scenes without a thorough observation of reality. Here again, the name of a color is very different from its actual appearance. You cannot paint a meadow glowing with red poppies merely by painting the lower half of your canvas green, and interspersing it with many bright-red spots. The result will look like a red-polka-dotted green textile. There are the usual differences of shades, values, and even colors, because a meadow is hardly ever the same vegetation all over.
We speak of a beautiful sky, but just how blue is it? Which blue is to mixed with how much white in order to give us the blue we so admire? And the blue sky itself is not the same blue from top to bottom. What is the color of a dirt road? What is the color of an interesting rock formation? There is no dirt road color, there is no rock color. Everything has many hues, and many shades of each hue. In general, painting from memory alone is near impossible, and should not be practiced without vast knowledge. COLOR IN PHOTOGRAPHY VERSUS COLOR IN PAINTING One need not tell me of the advancements in color photography in recent years. A colossal invention. In the art magazine that I publish, this month's issue includes a group of color photographers whose work is the most talked about of the month. The pictures are clear and remarkably beautiful. But beware of the color in such photographs! They are either too blue, or too red, too brown, or too green. Shadows in photographs are usually much too strong and lack the variety of shades found in nature. such pictures may be helpful in reminding you of certain basic colors of houses, hills, trees, flowers, but don't ever copy the colors as they are in the photograph.
I prefer black-and-white photographs. And I know that it is even hard to find film, but they are clearer. Details in them are not obscured by wild colors. I make pencil sketches and take notes referring to colors. If I have enough time, I also prepare a color sketch in watercolor or casein. Color photographs remind you of such hues, even though in a highly exaggerated manner.
The finest color reproductions of masterpieces give only a vague idea of the original coloring. Place such reproductions next to the originals and you'll have a shock. The most distressing and damaging difference is between paintings and color slides made from them.
I have a few friends who are now jurying shows for publication on the internet by looking at paintings from e-mail! I don't suspect that I need tell you of the problems inherent in this context. As wonderful as this medium is, and with the great potential, it is not nearly good enough a medium from which to judge a painting. COLORS IN PAINTING VERSUS COLORS IN A ROOM A painting must be a complete entity, so composed in color and design that it should stand by itself. A "colorful" painting is not a picture executed in all imaginable colors, but one which looks vivid, cheerful, without disturbing our eyes. It isn't necessary to have a painting match your drapery and furnishings in its colors. Whether you are an artist producing a picture, or a layman purchasing one, consider only one question: is the painting you're doing, or the painting you're buying, proper in subject matter for the particular place where it is to hang?
The frame separates - excludes - the surroundings from the picture. The color scheme of the painting, and the color scheme of the room can thus live side-by-side, in peace and harmony. It's nothing less than barbarous to insist that an artist change certain colors in their painting in order to "match" the colors of the room. I've heard of such cases. Don't let it happen to you, if you're an artist. And don't do it to an artist, if you're a layman.

Notes on Expressionism

Fauvism Expressionism notes * Robin Urton*

• Expressionism: figurative art artists purposefully disforms color, form, light, texture for desired intensification of emotional reaction
• Symbolist: colors are expressive in and of itself
• flattened or tilted plane
• patterns
• jarring textures, color
• crowded space

Edvard Munch
(Norwegian, 1863-1944)
Munch (pronounced Muenk) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely psychological and emotional themes was a major influence on the development of German Expressionism in the early 20th century. His painting The Scream is regarded as an icon of the existential anguish of the post-industrial modern age. It may have been partly inspired by the raw quality of African tribal art (the early 20th century was the first time the public saw such works in art museums). Munch tended to focus on intense emotions, such as those expressed in Puberty, which presents the fearful period of a girl's life as she faces the uncomfortable transition of becoming a woman.

The troubling nature of many of Munch's works can be partly explained by events of his early childhood, as well as the overly religious (and repressive) society in which he lived. Raised in Norway (which is dark and cold throughout much of the year), his mother died of tuberculosis when he was only five. Later, after developing a close attachment to his sister, she suffered the same fate. Art was, for Munch, a way to express his emotions of grief. Throughout his life he was also known to be obsessed with women, though he was never to marry. The Dance of Life focuses on the changing nature of woman as she matures from innocence into full sexuality, and then to old age - where she is again regarded as non-sexual.

Munch's clarity of expression was to have a great influence on many artists who would come to be known as "Expressionists". Though there were many developments in different countries, the most famous and influential would be German Expressionism and Fauvism (primarily a French movement).

German Expressionism
There were two groups of German Expressionist movements. One was called Die Brucke (meaning "the bridge"), led by Kirchner. The other was called Der Blau Rieter ("the Blue Rider"), led by Kandinsky.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
(1880 - 1938)
The beginning of Expressionism took place in Germany, around the time of the first World War. In 1912, Kirchner became the leader of a group of artists who called themselves "Die Brucke". He and the other artists sought to build a " bridge" between Germany's past and future. They felt that the art of the current establishment was too academic and refined to retain any degree of expression, so they instead found inspiration in medieval German art and primitive African sculpture. Additionally, they would find inspiration in the emotionally expressive works of Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. Since their primary concern was the expression of deeply felt emotions, they would also transform their negative feelings about the war onto canvas.
Kirchner achieved some fame during his lifetime, and was fortunate to maintain a number of collectors for his paintings. With the beginnings of WWII, however, his work was denounced (as well as his compratriots) as "degenerate art", and confiscated from museums. He became increasingly depressed by the war and took his own life.

Emil Nolde

Wassily Kandinsky
(Russian, 1866-1944)
Though Kandinsky was born in Russia, he spent most of his creative years in Germany, and would head up the second German Expressionist group, known as "Der Blau Reiter". Kandinsky and his followers were more spiritually inclined than the Die Brucke group (and had close ties with a new sect of religious philosophy, known as theosophy). Kandinsky believed that colors, shapes and forms had an equivalence with sounds and music, and sought to create color harmonies which would be purifying to the soul. It is easy to see the impressionistic influence in his very earliest works. As his work progresses, it becomes increasingly abstract, until there is no longer an image defined by the various shapes and colors. By this time, Kandinsky had decided that the idea of creating paintings which were pictures of the representational world was no longer necessary. He felt that society was paving the way for a new, more spiritual age. Instead of focusing on the material aspects of life, he felt his paintings could help prepare people to see the spiritual, non-material world. Kandinsky is one of the first (if not the first) artist to create completely non-representational paintings.

Franz Marc
Franz Marc is best known for his paintings of animals (particularly horses and deer) in which he attempted to express his mystical veneration of nature. In works such as Blue Horses, he used stylized lines and curves and brilliant unrealistic color to create and heighten the sense of nature idealized. After 1913, in response to cubism and futurism, he turned to abstraction, creating moods of clashing, discordant uncertainty. He was killed in action during World War I.

Austrian Expression
Gustav Klimt was the leader of a group called the Viennese Seccession, which sought to separate itself from the naturalist movement which was popular in early 20th century Austria. His work is difficult to categorize, but is often associated with the Symbolists and Art Nouveau, but it also has some ties to Expressionism. Though he was supported by many members of the Viennese aristocracy (and painted many of thier portraits), his work was also widely criticized for its eroticism.

French Fauvism
Fauvism (pronounced Foev-ism) was the most optomistic movement linked to expressionism. This can be explained by its birthplace, in Paris. When viewing these works, it is easy to imagine the bohemian lifestyle of the artists. Parisians enjoyed getting together in the cafes, listening to music and drinking wine. They also enjoyed outdoor activities in the sun. Their art expresses more of pleasure than it does of the complex (often negative) emotions expressed in the north.

Fauvism was a brief but important art movement that followed the Post-Impressionism movement in France. Matisse is regarded as the leader of the movement, but Andre Derain was also significant (Braque also briefly painted in the style, before his cubist experiments). Each part of their paintings had loud colors, primitive elements, and wild ideas. Although the movement only lasted four years, it would have a profound effect on future artists, especially in terms of their use of color. Though initially inspired by Impressionism and Post Impressionist works, the colors used were even more saturated and high keyed. The effect was very bold, almost loud. Fauvism is recognized for its influence on cubism and modern expressionism in its flattened space, disregard for natural forms and its love of unbridled color.

Henri Matisse
After 1905, Matisse continued to use bright colors and bold compositions, yet these works are no longer considered to be of the Fauvist period. The most evident change in his work is his increased interest in patterns and the continued flattening of pictorial space. Matisse is, along with Picasso, regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His work is more decorative than Picasso's, but also less troubling. A famous quote by Matisse is that he felt that art should be like a good armchair to come home to after a hard day's work. Though he lived through two world wars, he decided not to focus on what was wrong with the world. Instead, he felt that art should provide a place for the soul to rest.

Matisses's latest artworks, are often regarded as his most innovative. They were created after a he was handicapped from severe arthritis which limited him to a wheelchair. Unable to stand to paint, he began cutting out shapes from colored pieces of paper. These he had glued (with help from assistants) to huge pieces of paper. The effect is extremely bold and light-hearted. The colors and shapes have a liberating sense about them. One feels that, despite his problems, Matisse has succeded in returning to a carefree childhood.

Assignment 10 Final

Color Theory Francisco Letelier Assignment 10 final

Create a psychological self portrait employing color to convey meaning,

Format 9" x 12" up to 11 x 17 2d

full color, acrylic or gouache with other media, including collage.
Illustration board or canvas board

Explore the meaning of self-portrait.

The expressionists used color to convey emotion in both realistic and abstract compositions. Your task with this assignment is to combine your knowledge of color to create an image which represents you. It may be a realistic self-portrait but more importantly you will create a portrait that speaks about your interior landscape.

Your composition should pay attention to figure ground relationships as well as employ some of the various aspects of color we have gone over in class. These include:
basic color theory, transparency, symbolic color, grids, rhythm, unity, pattern, warm and cool colors, cropping and enlarging, the use of color to imply distance, atmospheric perspective, expressionist use of color, pointillism and the use of color employed by the 'modernist artist' you have studied.

Challenge yourself, have fun, be original.

Please cover your work protective paper.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Notes on Pointillism

Pointillism is a style of painting that was popular among the French Neo-Impressionists of the late 19th century. It involves the practice of applying small strokes or dots of contrasting pigment to a surface so that from a distance the dots blend together into solid forms.

In a sense, this is what a computer does every time it draws an image using colored pixels. But because pixels are so small, computer monitors don't give us that gentle Neo-Impressionist feel.
Georges Seurat invented the technique known as Pointilism, which uses tiny dots instead of broad strokes to put the paint on the canvas. The individual dots of red, yellow and blue are sucked in through your eyes and mixed up in your head to create a variety of shimmering shades.

Pointillism was part of the impressionist art movement in the late 19th century. This movement did not aim to paint in a realistic way but rather as we perceive the world. The sub-group of impressionists called Pointillists (most notably Seurat and Pissarro) based their paintings on small colored dots (or even small oriented patches). The observer then constructs the image by merging dots. Perceived reality is, thus, a concept constructed by the observer.

Pointillism is an original form of art created by George Seurat. Pointillism is a bunch of tiny dots formed together to make a picture. Why we use pointillism instead of using a paintbrush and just painting is because pointillism is brighter and the other kinds of paintings can be dull. When two colors are next to each other, your eye mixes them and that is called optical mixing. Using optical mixing instead of physically mixing can make a brighter picture.

Pointillism takes a long time. For example, Seurat’s “A Sunday in the Park” took him two years to complete, covers a wall (81 inches by 120 inches) and has about 3,456,000 dots! If you are ever in Chicago, go to the Art Institute and check out this painting. It’s awesome!

The idea of pointillism is not to physically mix colors.

Assignment # 9 Pointillism

Color Theory Francisco Letelier Assignment 9

Using the 5 color pointillist palette you created in class, create a composition using pointillist technique.

This will involve the practice of applying small strokes or dots of contrasting pigment to the surface so that from a distance the dots blend together into solid forms.
The idea of pointillism is not to physically mix colors.

Size "8x11" executed on 9x12 illustration board.

Medium: Acrylic paint or gouache

Please strive to create a clean presentation.

Use one of your landscape photos, set up a still life or work from a photograph.
Emphasize composition on the page. Choose your subject carefully, making sure it is not too complex for the format we are working in, while checking that it provide enough visual interest to create a strong composition

Make sure you have a small enough brush so that the dots are not too big, make sure you use a large enough brush that dots are not too small. As you work, back away from the surface and observe how your dots are working in specific fields of color.