This workshop provided a real learning experience regarding color in art.

Anshu Priya offered this wonderful commentary on TAG’s June 3 workshop:

We knew we had to have her back after Cynthia Peterson conducted a wonderful workshop for TAG on ‘Composition’ a few months ago.  And we made it happen today as she delivered what seemed like a true masterclass on ‘Color’.

We delved into ‘Color vs Value’ at great length. We discussed the various color theories starting with Isaac Newton’s early discovery of white light being made up of different colors. Cynthia took us through the properties of color – hue, temperature, value, chroma – and we got clarity on these concepts with the help of practical exercises that she had designed.

The color wheel was our most important tool today, and we learned in great detail about the historically primary colors ( red, blue and yellow)  – then going into secondary and tertiary colors. We also discussed the applicability of analogous or complementary colors and color triads , and how it might enhance our work.

Any discussion on color would be incomplete without talking about actual pigments, so we were introduced to pigment numbers, different mediums and binders etc that are used depending on what kind of art materials we are using (Acrylics, oils, pastels, watercolor).  We learned about tinting and shading colors , about dull vs bright ones, about cool vs warm. About how inherently some colors were light in value (Yellow) vs those that were inherently darker (Ultramarine Blue).

Cynthia was very generous in showing us books on color that she had carried along with her, and also shared names of artists who have been doing pathbreaking art using color as a primary tool. She also shared work by prominent impressionists who used color theory to their distinct advantage. At the end of an insightful session, she patiently critiqued some of our paintings.

We all went back home enriched with ideas about how to be intentional about the use of color in our work.

Anshu Priya