Interpreting color intent

This was an assigned discussion for my second design class, Color Theory.  The goal was to find 5 images with “interesting use of color,” and to interpret how the colors help to convey the message or add emphasis to the work.

My concentration at SCAD is momentarily Sequential Art, but as that field often overlaps other disciplines, I am selecting work that is illustrative in nature and tells a story in still form. I selected triadic schemes as my color focus, as the contrast of three colors creates a beautifully strong image.

ring-around-the-rosie-ernie-barnesIn the Ring Around the Rosie by Ernie Barnes, the colors are green orange and purple. This seems to be a very common color palette, as the  Ehsan Hassani (cat) also features a purple (on the bluer spectrum) and the orange and green hues. The warmth of the orange is complemented by the cooler purple tone. Orange serves as the focal point, while the purple fades into the background in support. Ehsan-Hassani-Moghaddam-580x282The green color (depending on its temperature or amount of yellow included) seems to compete with the orange when it is brighter, but recedes in importance in darker or more blue-inclusive hues. Barnes allows the girl jumping higher in her “ring” to be centered and dominant – – perhaps showing her confidence or enthusiasm. Hassani makes the orange cat dominate his purple room, and features a green pen and drawing to showcase his momentary desire (or character’s focus).Los-cachorros-1

In Los Cachorros y el Codigo de Marco Polo, the pallet is predominantly red and blue, with yellow (and yellow-green) as accent. The room is set in red tones, while three of the characters are blue. The yellow character takes attention in his contrast from the repetition of the other two colors. The illustrator toys with the lighting of the colors to make each prominent or receding.
Carter Goodrich_NewYorker_2000-05-15_100In Carter Goodrich The New Yorker cover art, green, orange and purple are dominant. The illustrator also uses blue and pink, as though they are demonstrative of their combination (purple). Here, the green is used as a background and serves to unify, while the orange and orange-red colors take the focus. The purple-blue color is visible, but not as important in the image. It suggests that the warm red head is happy, is important, is wealthy, while her purple-hued bench-mate is envious and though regal (in success of her job), she is lacking something.
vacuumThe Captive Exile’s painting features green-blue, orange-yellow, and purple in juxtaposition. The orange sands are given prominence by volume and temperature. The violet and greenish blue vacuum are clearly the forgotten tool – shown both in the item’s burial and in it’s cooler toning.


Color Theory and Design {Spring 2016}

The goal of this course is to understand and use color as part of the artistic process.  How colors are combined, how they are used (saturation, temperature, hue) are critical to the overall appearance of a work.

I’m a big fan of color, and like my Mimi, I think I’m pretty good at pairing colors in a way that is harmonious and attractive.  Nevertheless, I don’t always follow the rules and I’m struggling with the terms.  Vocabulary jargon? Not my forte.

rjonessmith_projc_prismatic2 copy rjonessmith_projc_prismatic1 copy rjonessmith_projC_muted2 copy rjonessmith_projC_muted1 copy rjonessmith_projC_combined2 copy rjonessmith_projC_combined1 copy

Above are “color combination studies.” I like the images, but they definitely don’t perform well when in grayscale. Some of them were supposed to be at the same levels so the entire field appeared one tone grey when color was removed.

rjonessmith_projectD_2 copy rjonessmith_projectD_3 copy rjonessmith_projectD_1copy

Camouflage studies  – – wherein I take a photo from some random source – and forget to give credit –  chop the photo up, and paint around it in the hopes that my paint will meld with the colors of the original image.  Save that horrid green square (!), each came out pretty nice.

rjonesmith_projE copy rjonessmith_projf_final copy

The goal of these two digital pieces? … Well, let’s just say that I’m thankful for in-lecture examples.  I’m supposed to be showing the changes of color when in close proximity to other colors.  The amount of a color used also affects the dominance of said color (or lackthereof).  In the elephant watering hole piece, the herd is demonstrating the Bezold effect, wherein one color swapped out can alter the whole perception of the design.

Waiting too long

I sit on this bench,  looking across at my husband. He’s bound to a fluid IV, pumped up with insulin and morphine. He’s moody – delivering a mixture of frustration, panic and self pity in random sequences.

If he sleeps, the monitor beeps; it flashes its red APNEA warning and the oxygen levels countdown to… I don’t know.  I hold my breathe, just as he has done, and wait for the warning to go away.image

It took forever to get a room, and yet we passed a dozen empty ones en route to his assigned quarter. In the cold little space, he lays covered in blankets, staring at the tiny television  and listening to the foreign sounds of hospital workers.

Tests were ordered, but not completed. An ultrasound for kidneys has yet to happen, but could be a determining factor to his going home. Blood pressure and heart monitors tick away the seconds.


They fill him with medication  (the ones he should have been taking, anyway). We wait for answers and release.


Perhaps if he’d heeded the warnings his body gave him – the lethargy, the irritability, the aches – he’d have sought help sooner. But the drop in clinic said “viral infection,” let it run its course. And the medication he was prescribed for his diabetes makes him feel awful before he feels great again (so he won’t take it). Now, it’s too late to prevent illness. We are here in the hospital… waiting.


The spring quarter is in full swing. I thought I’d had a bad enough time enduring the intense scrutiny of winter session… then I   caught the flu in week one of these classes and quickly discovered that there is no rest for the weary and the critiques in the courses for concentration are hard core critical.  I simply cannot catch up, keep up, polish up. I’m rocking less than 60% in week 5 and likely cannot salvage the grade. Give up? It’s the only up that seems plausible right now,  though it sets a poor example for my kids and it doesn’t bode well for my future in this course sequence.  I’m hitting the point of apathetic dispair. 

Four down toward forever

On this occasion of our fourth anniversary

we’ve much to celebrate

despite obstacles and adversity

our calendars share several new, significant dates

each day marked in memories

you can bet our girl’s birth is among the greats

have you counted the times you’ve had to “cheese?”

photos collected of our daily lives

until each child said,  “No more, mom. Please.”

in sickness we’ve dwellt, for health we’ve strived

laughter marks the moments

together, we’ve promised, keeping faith alive

even as we now wade through uncertain currents

our children growing up, and unfortunately, distance

someday they’ll return to appreciate parents

remembering they

re always loved, that’s an insistence

you and I, we’re blessed

soulmates returned, taking forever, we chance.

{written 3/14, as a Terza Rima example}

DRAW 101: Reflections Assignment

Task 1: Reflect on what you have learned in this course (think of your greatest achievements as well as some of the learning challenges you overcame) and set goals for future learning with this fresh course experience in mind (think of what skills related to drawing composition and media you wish to continue to develop in the future and how).

This course was a challenge for me – not because I am not used to drawing, but because I was not prepared to be pushed to better what I believed was my best.

In this course, I discovered the power thumbnails really have to help in the composition process. I knew from DRAW 100 that I don’t enjoy working on compositions without personal meaning; if I cannot assemble still life with objects of some significance or theme, I quickly bore of the project. What I did not realize was how many possibilities I could come up with for the same concept and that each new thumbnail presented opportunity for adjustments in composition that ultimately saved critical time and frustration in the process of completing my work.

I enjoyed working on my mimic piece of the master work. Using the grid method really assisted me in seeing the image in lines (marks) and values, rather than as a whole. It was fairly simple to create duplicate marks – – except where my master haphazardly penned them in quick, random strokes. I did, unfortunately, discover that printing the image resulted in distortion that I was oblivious to until I compared my work to the digital original. By then it was too late to repair the deep set marks I’d charcoaled into my paper.

I struggled greatly with the poster. It continues to be the hardest part of my drawing process. I don’t like dark and fight deepening my tonal values. I also have difficulty identifying the intensity of core shadows in this stage.

I failed at the reductive techniques – partially because I chose a space that lacked a true midground and background, partially because I didn’t use my understanding of atmospheric perspective to push back the structures furthest from my point of view. I definitely need to work at developed environments.

I learned to trust suggestions. Having feedback on work in progress moves the process forward and helps identify potential.

Task 2: Respond to the following statement based on what you learned and experienced in this course so far:

Process is less important than presentation. The final product is all that matters. Product is what sells, and how you arrive at that point is not important. Getting caught up in process only hinders productivity and marketability. Real artists focus on the business and not on the process. The way to create true artists is to simply encourage them to work on how to sell their final product. Clouding their minds with techniques and procedures in the name of “craftsmanship” will only hinder them.

I believe that art is a process. While a profitable artist may not always explain his/her process, there certainly were steps taken to creating the final selling piece. Artists develop techniques through trial and error – working in various mediums to see what they prefer and what produces the best results. An artist has to make critical decisions in selecting paper and mark making tools (medium) even before they begin. Then there are considerations for the size of the piece, the planned composition, and the message to be conveyed.

Presentation is important. A fantastic final piece shown without regard for background, clarity, and lighting will not be shown at its best. To market work as a product, one must be aware of potential clients’ tastes. And there are specific questions to consider: Should it be framed? Is the photograph taken of the work presenting it in accurate light? Is the piece seen in true color and resolution? If shared in a portfolio, the work should be clean and organized cohesively with other work.

I’m not sure art is really “teachable.” I learned in my Master of Education classes that students embed tasks into their process best when they have techniques or steps modeled for them and then they practice mimicking the steps in their own work. Based on this method, I would teach by showing as many techniques as possible to my students and allow them to experiment with each. I would also want to present examples of stellar work in a variety of mediums and styles. Exploring these might inspire them to delve into unfamiliar arts. Presentation techniques, then, would be best reserved for after the art has been created (unless, of course, we are referring to an installation piece where the presentation is the art.).

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