For as long as I can remember, I've always had an interest in studio art and color design, but I'd never had any formal education beyond the art classes of my childhood. In taking the online ARTS 221: Color Theory and Concept course at UNC-Chapel Hill, I was able to explore the "intricacies of color theory with regard to perception, systems, and application in visual art," creating both digital and traditional art pieces, and gaining valuable experience working and experimenting with color. Below are the pieces I created throughout the semester with details about my artistic process.
Black Square Problem
This set of design problems asked us to show our understanding of the language of design, using 9 squares to visually express the meaning and essence of the words Order, Increase, Bold, Tension, Playful and Congested. This was achieved by experimentation with geometric idioms, developing different relationships between the squares in each plane to represent each word.
Personal Color Wheels
This project tasked us with developing two six-division color wheels, one we "Love" and one we "Hate."
When it comes to colors, I've always been very particular about how I use shades and tones to portray a particular message within a design. On a personal basis, I always love soft pastel shades to convey a sense of daintiness and whimsy, which I consider important aspects of my personal brand. Therefore, hard and heavy electric shades have never been my preference. I use those adjectives to describe my two color wheels, as each represents very different moods and aesthetics.
In order to learn the principles of color mixing, we used acrylic paint to create a ten-step value scale, a tint/shade scale, and a neutral scale, as well as a
12-step color wheel.
As challenging and time consuming as this project became for me, I feel like I learned a good deal about just how “fragile” colors can be when creating scales.
I had to do a lot of experimentation and iterations to get what I felt was the most equal scales possible, especially on the neutral scale as I had to try several combinations of complementary colors to get a scale that finally felt even and balanced between the red and the blue.
When creating the shades and tints scale, I had to be extra careful to add just the right amounts of black and white as to not ruin the progression of blue with too much light or dark.
A completely new concept to me, the Bezold Effect assignment asked us to create a 4-quadrant radial design in which the total effect of the perceived hues used is altered by the change of ONE dominant hue.
I wanted to challenge myself to create a more intricate floral design that would display my chosen colors beautifully. I was inspired by pieces that substituted only the background color as I wanted to see how an identical design would be altered with different colors behind it. Each quadrant has distinctly different tones, the purple cool, the pink bright, the green dull, and the blue warm.
The challenge here was to paint a three-dimensional object so that it is camouflaged against a background of found pattern or texture.
I spent a lot of time brainstorming how to go about this, but I ultimately drew inspiration from one of my favorite Disney movies, 101 Dalmatians, and created a more abstract representation of a dalmatian camouflaged by its own fur pattern.
Having learned how similar colors in a coordinating palette create a camouflage effect, I enjoyed playing with the simplistic black and white contrast, and how that can create a hidden dimensional image as well.
This is by far my favorite piece from the semester,
and I would love to create more art in this style.
Color Scheme Photo Edits
Using Photoshop, our task was to edit the coloring of a photo of ourselves using a monochromatic, analogous, and complementary color schemes, as well as variations to include a warm figure on a cool ground, a cool figure on a warm ground, and a "fantasy landscape."
For inspiration, I used the Adobe Color palette generator to help me in real-time put into perspective what each type of palette would consist of in order to apply those color principles to my image.
From there, I adjusted the image with the appropriate variations, taking care to isolate some of the more challenging colors, such as the blue of my dress, and the yellow brick road.
This project called for a 12"x12" design using an appropriate color scheme to best express depth, conveying an illusion of spatial depth in a composition that imposes the idea of foreground, middle ground, and background.
We had the choice of using gouache, watercolor, acrylic, or digital as our medium, and I took the opportunity to further develop my skills with watercolors, as it is one of my favorite painting styles.
Inspired by the upcoming Easter holiday, I chose to depict two painted eggs waiting to be found on a clear spring morning. I added depth with highlights and shadows, as well as the nestled positioning of the overlapping eggs in the surrounding grass.
Goal: develop a composition exploring value and perception of distance by incorporating three different background hues: light, medium value, and dark.
Goal: create a composition that showed transparency and equivocal space as a way of representing depth.
Throughout the semester, we were tasked with creating smaller-scale art compositions meant to challenge our perceptions of color and encourage experimentation and abstract thinking.
These are a few of my favorite exercises from my sketchbook.
Goal: collect or create color-chip examples of one color from various media and observe the different effects of that color
Goal: design and create three compositions in a double-complementary, split-complementary, and triadic color scheme.