Tag Archives: 20thcentury

YELLOW – A PRIMARY PIGMENT

Vincent Van Gogh “Starry Night”

David Dunlop has a unique approach to teach art. That’s probably because his studies about art have a unique approach. David told me that he researches, reads and visits venues with art exhibitions. He analyzes and figures out how artists of the past operated. That’s going back to caves, cultures, and creations throughout history.

Today’s speak is about the warm and cheerful color yellow, from an artist’s point of view (POV), rather than from the interior design POV. So let’s hear what David, the artist, has to say about the color yellow.

David Dunlop summer afternoon workshop Amblers Farm

By the way, every workshop David teaches consists of an hour lecture about art, mostly from the intellectual POV, followed by a small painting in support of his lecture. So much fun!

Yellow!

 

A color associated with Earth, as one of the four elements. Known to be the imperial color of the Kahns or the color of the light of Eden. Yellow as a pigment has history that varies in use from ancient Egyptian sulfur to synthetic 20th century translucent Hansa acrylic yellows.

A strong favorite of Turner, in the 19thcentury, was lead chromate or chrome yellow as well as the fugitive (fast fading) aureolin yellow. Turner also favored the translucent organic gamboge, from Cambodia, for its glazing ability. Winslow Homer, like Turner, had a preference for aureolin yellow for his watercolors.

David with his yellows. Could be gamboge or aureolin, both transparent.

yellow-orpiment-menk

The Renaissance painters relied on the toxic yellow orpiment made from poisonous arsenic because of its promise to imitate a golden effect, according to Cennino Cennini’s Book of Art (Libro Dell’Arte of 1396).

Popular with artists is the stable and abundant pale yellow ochre, mined from earthen deposits in France. At times, yellow ochre was mixed by Renaissance artists with expensive powdered gold to give golden highlights.

Cadmium yellow, opaque and potent, was first available to artists in the last quarter of the 1800s. Impressionists and neo-impressionists were crazy for it because it gave a strong yellow hue effect. If you like to apply the paint thick, pure and opaque like the Impressionists, cadmium yellow was made for you. The other new 19th century yellow was chrome yellow. It was brilliant when thinly applied to white ground, but it was fugitive.

Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo expressing concern about the permanence of the new vivid colors, but he concluded that maybe some fading would give a beneficial effect and help to soften and harmonize what he feared were overly strong colors. Chief among the strong new colors was the opaque cadmium yellow. Cadmium yellow was an odd color revealing itself as pure because it only reflected a very narrow slice of the visible spectrum. Cadmium yellow was great at absorbing all the other colors of light except for a pure yellow. This meant cadmium yellow appeared intense and rich. But if you mixed it with another color then the narrow slice of pure yellow collapsed and the beholder only would find a dull yellowish, greenish gray or a yellowish orange at best. At worst it became a light-sucking grayed brown. Yechhh!

Impressionist painters were determined to limit the mixing of cadmium yellow with white and as little else as possible. More mixing meant less light bounced back to the eye and resulted in a weak color effect. Mixing opaque colors together is called subtractive mixing because it subtracts light. Van Gogh applied his paint thick and often undiluted to insure the strongest color effect. Artists like Van Gogh might mix the cadmium yellow with white to give the color a quality of halation as seen in the painting example.

Unlike cadmium yellow, gamboge is a translucent color. When viewed as a thick glob of paint, it appears warm, not bright and with a tendency to list toward green unlike a glob of cadmium yellow. But when thinly applied to white ground it appears much more yellow. That’s how Turner used it. As light bounces off the white ground and back through the glaze of gamboge it brightens the sensation of yellow. The thinner the gamboge yellow, the greater the sensation of yellow. The thicker the gamboge yellow becomes, the less the sensation of yellow for the viewer.

Yellow light in News Stand-oil on anodized aluminum 24×48

Amateurs keep adding more yellow and wonder why they are getting a duller effect as they keep subtracting light by adding more pigment. In David’s second image, he offer a gamboge based yellow in varying degrees of thickness, providing varying degrees of yellow, applied to a white enamel anodized aluminum surface.

Yellow Flora in a Florida Marsh-oil on linen 36×36

In his third image, he uses gamboge on oil primed linen, the thinner he makes the glaze of yellow the brighter the yellow of the leaves appears to be. Hermann Von Helmholtz advised artists in order to generate the strongest sensation of spectral opposites in paint they should contrast yellow and blue paint.

Diagrammed image

In his diagrammed image, he has circled areas where he has engineered the blue to be set against the yellow of the leaves. This helps propel the yellow of the leaves toward the viewer.

Visit David’s website. There you will find his DVD’s, his lectures and his blog link. He is a busy artist. He gives of his time and talents to support a cross-section of venues.  http://www.daviddunlop.com.

Do you like to wear yellow? How has yellow touched your life? Did you know that the color yellow attracts bees? I don’t mean flowers, I mean like a yellow blouse or shirt? Have you ever worn something yellow to a picnic? Ouch!

MOVERS & SHAKERS

I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky tumbling down whenever they’re around. All those fantastic movers and shakers changing lives, changing chairs, changing toys and changing history. All those folks we have been talking about in my blogs: Queen Victoria with her long reign in the 19th century, the Bauhaus school in the early 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright in the mid 20th century,

Pixar Cars

Steve Jobs of Apple and Pixar in the late 20th and to date only to name a few free thinkers.

Where would we be today without these creative thinkers? I suppose we would not know the difference. We can’t miss what we never knew. But we stand watch as they shake us around and push forward to new exciting innovative technology. What next?

We all subscribe to public domains to chit chat and contact others. You know: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. The public plays all over the internet while big brother is watching. George Orwell in his 1949 book “1984″ was right about big brother. Big brother IS watching you. Orwell was a little early in his prediction. But rest assured the major minds were already working on the technology we have today.

Technology Overload

Are we on technology overload and who is big brother? Do you believe you are being watched? How do you feel about this eye on you everyday, all day, all night? Are you participating in the public domains where everyone knows who you are? What changes have you made in your life with all the technology? Is life easier?

GRAND STAND

Bauhaus Art by the group at the school

The Grand Stand of design happened in the early 20th century. The guilty? The Bauhaus. So, what came before? Gradual economic and social changes in the 18th and 19th century caused by the Industrial Revolution. Because of those events, the  Bauhaus, a school of different ways of thinking, changed how we viewed and developed art and technology. We are talking about, let’s say for an art example, a painting, and for technology, the Bauhaus balconies or a chair or a teapot and more stuff than you can imagine.

László Moholy-Nagy
‘Bauhaus Balconies’
1926
Silver gelatin photograph

The idea for the school was the gestalt of a learning atmosphere for all, the teacher, the student, and the creator. They all were involved with the process. Triggered by 19th century technological-industrial development, there was no gap between artistic conception and realization. It became easier to design and develop because everyone worked together.

Bauhaus "Wassily" Chair by Marcel Breuer

For example, another member of the staff at the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer, looked at the tubular form of the bicycle handlebars and made a chair using the concept. No, it wasn’t a chair with pedals. It was a chair with tubular steel supports.

Wassily Chair
Designed by Marcel Breuer, produced by Knoll®
In spirit and stature, Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair (1925) from Knoll has few equals. Believed to be the first bent tubular steel chair design, the Wassily Chair distills the traditional club chair to a series of strong, spare lines, executed with dynamic material counterpoint. The gleaming chrome-finished tubular steel frame, inspired by the graceful, curving handlebars of the Adler bicycle, is seamless in its assemblage. Thick cowhide leather slings create the design’s seating surfaces, which maintain their crisp tautness for decades. Named for Wassily Kandinsky, the father of abstract painting and a colleague of Breuer’s at the Bauhaus, the Wassily Chair is a symbol of the industrial heroism and engineering invention of the early 20th century. Made in Italy, each piece is stamped with the KnollStudio logo and the designer’s signature. The Wassily Chair is a registered trademark of Knoll, Inc., manufactured by Knoll according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer. The outcome of the grand stand school of design, the Bauhaus.