Color Understanding for Contemporary Painters

Charles Emerson is a Pacific Northwest painter who creates richly hued abstract paintings that describe ethereal and atmospheric spaces. Embracing color as the foundation of his work, Emerson builds his compositions by applying layers of subtly varied tones that shift with light. His paintings contain terrestrial forms, celestial shapes, and painterly marks, each depicting an emotive microcosm with every varying palette. His paintings are reflections on personal experiences and an engagement with the concept that “nothing ever stays the same.” Emerson uses painting both as a visual diary– recording places, significant moments, and interpersonal interactions- -as well as a part of a spiritual search where one can transcend the here and now. Charles Emerson, originally from Los Angeles, received his Master of Fine Arts from Yale University and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Southern California. He was the recipient of the Fulbright Grant, and he completed his fellowship in Venice, Italy in 1961. Emerson has shown nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in Venice, Italy and Los Angeles, CA. He was the artist-in-residence at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art (Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego) in La Jolla, CA, and at Reed College in Portland, OR. Emerson has resided in the Northwest for more than 30 years, and he teaches color theory and painting at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, WA.
Monday
9/11-11/13
9:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M.
$475
Advanced
Gage Capitol Hill
As this is a more advanced class, Intermediate to Advanced with good painting experience, I assume that you already have a basic understanding of materials needed for any water based medium. In this case acrylics or water based oils. A good selection of brushes, most importantly soft hair or soft acrylic hair, is necessary to lay down some flat color. A complete color explanation will be given the first day of this minimum list of colors from which most all other colors can be mixed. As a smooth surface is necessary with hard edges, no pastels or colored pencils will work well enough. Regular oil paints do not dry fast enough.

If you do not already have acrylics as an oil painter, you will find them useful as a good underpainting; fast drying, luminous, and a good way to stain canvas and retain the surface in your work with a very fast blocking in of color at less expense.

I recommend Golden Acylics; NOT LIQUID ACRYLICS as there is not enough body for covering well, nor are the other versions necessary such as extra or heavy body. Daniel Smith Brand and Grumbacher Brand are also fine. No bargain brands, as they are low in chroma, with very poor color for the most part. Golden also names most of their color truer to the basic components rather than confusing names that really do not relate to basic color language.

All colors are labeled Golden Acrylics and readily available. If you choose another brand, any clerk should be able to help you with the transition. Artists and Craftsman are especially helpful and knowing as they hire working artists and if they do not know the answer there as always been someone who did. Be sure to avoid craft store brands as you probably already know or any bottom rung brands.

BASIC COLORS:

  • YELLOW Golden. Primary Yellow This is a neutral yellow excellent for all mixing. Cadmium
    Yellows have orange in them and Lemon Yellows have green
  • WHITE Titanium. White is chosen for it’s covering ability as well as a true white
  • BLACK Carbon. Black (NO Payne’s Gray please or any thing tinted with another color)
  • VIRIDIAN GREEN very helpful in mixing
  • THALO GREEN (pthalocyanine). YELLOW SHADE is very intense, transparent and brilliant
  • CHROME OXIDE DARK, yet another GREEN good for mixing this, the most difficult color to use
  • COBALT BLUE one of three basic blues necessary for mixing, cooler
  • THALO BLUE (pthalocyanine) GREEN SHADE is very intense,transparent and brilliant
  • ULTRAMARINE BLUE one of three basic blues, warmer
  • DIOXAZINE PURPLE more brilliant than any other mixed purple in this list. Very useful
  • ALIZARINE CRIMSON HUE a necessary cool, transparent RED
  • CADMIUM RED MEDIUM or any true, bright red
  • C. P. CADMIUM ORANGE very bright and intense
  • BURNT UMBER (NOT light) a cooler brown
  • BURNT SIENNA a warmer brown
  • MEDIUM MAGENTA an extremely useful strong pink for mixing. Also very good is QUINACRIDONE PINK. Only one is necessary

FOR THE FIRST DAY YOU WILL NEED:

  • TWO PAINTING SURFACES APPROXIMATELY (small variations allowed) 14 X 17 inches. One to be painted a solid as possible COBALT BLUE and the other a solid as possible ORANGE. Both colors unmixed, straight out of the tube. They should be the same color as in the tube
  • WATER PAINTING SUPPLIES (container for water, rags or paper towels, brushes, palette, etc. – prepared to paint )
  • ONE ORANGE any size – round
  • NOTEBOOK AND WRITING TOOL for notes

COMPLETE EXPLANATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE GIVEN ALONG WITH A COLOR SEEING DEMONSTRATION.

 
Josef Albers’ truism, “Color is only color according to amount and placement” informs us that theories, formulas, or rules do not always apply and should not be universally applied in painting. In our course, we will learn to look and see, and to analyze what is actually happening as color becomes part of the structure, space, and even psychological presence of a painting and not merely a decoration or way to organize a work. Basic painting skills required, only acrylics or water-based oils for fast drying.

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