5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process Technique

Auryn Ink

I have only experimented very briefly with this App – its rivals are Procreate – with forthcoming improvements to the waterbrush system, Adobe Sketch and ArtRage, all of which have interesting watercolour effects. See Digital Watercolour.

Dedicated App for watercolour painting.

The Auryn Ink website: has images of art gallery-size paintings as well as manual, tutorials and FAQ.

Flickr group

Facebook page

App Details

The whole experience is rather more random than real watercolour happy accidents. But some really beautiful effects can be achieved, including layering and erasing that cannot be achieved on paper.

Canvas: There is a choice of low, high and superhigh resolution. Rough or smooth papers with different textures that affect their ways of interacting with paint. It is also possible to control run and splatter.

Stylus: Apple Pencil uses tilt and velocity for size. For quick washes the Sensui brush stylus is good. Fingers also work well.

Layers: There are 3 layers: wet, dry and fixed layers in one image that simulate the way watercolour layers and paper interact. It is possible to control evaporation, dry and fix layers to build up images.
An image layer can be inserted at the bottom for reference/deletion.
No blend modes.

Undo: is on a timer and has to be done before layer dries. Otherwise use eraser and paint over.

Brushes: four types of tip to combine with a range of ‘footprints’ and a variable eraser to get mask effects. There is a paint flow and size control. Using the Apple pencil size is also affected by tilt and velocity.

Colour: There is a central colour picker dialogue, with customisable palette for each painting. Holding down the brush brings up an eyedropper. Then as you paint you control interaction between water and pigment on the brush for transparency.

Output: as PNG only to iPhoto. Can send into the website to enlarge to large A1+ art gallery prints.

Text: No. They recommend  theTypedrawing app.

Social network: Link to Auryn Ink website and Auryn Ink Facebook page.

Art Examples


Tutorials and reviews

PDF Manual

In Process Technique


VERY preliminary experiments, curtailed by RSI. To be applied to relevant projects in the course. See Review.

ArtRage has a variety of brushes, pencils, crayons, rollers, and pastels. It has:

  • an interesting oil tube option, that can be smeared into a textured oil painting.
  • watercolour brushes which can produce some striking effects.
  • a variety of canvas presets and paper options that alter the texture of the brushes. These can be altered as an image progresses so that multiple textures can be applied in the same image.
  • roughness of  paper can be adjusted so your pencils can be used for soft shading.
  • range of Layer Blend Modes
  • photos can be imported and converted to oil for smearing or use as reference images, or trace over images.
  • paints can be mixed with one another on the canvas

Drawings can be recorded for later viewing on the desktop.

Tutorials from You Tube

Basic tutorial series from ‘the Theatre Professor’









Pixelmator combines photo editing and painting tools. It is most useful for enhancing or touching up  photography on the iPad, with rudimentary painting and basic text. It has:

  • a range of brushes including double-texture brushes, watercolours, and pixel brush (Sketchclub pixel brush has more interesting settings), but only basic size and transparency settings.
  • graphic design features include using blending layers and shapes to which features like shadows, outlines, gradient fills and fixed reflection can be added
  • text in a limited set of fonts
  • photo effects,  including kaleidoscope.

One of my favourite uses is to make beautiful kaleidoscope patterns from paintings and/or photographs.

You Tube tutorials

5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process Technique

Adobe Draw

I have not looked at this much. But will explore more for the project on fashion in Assignment 2 as a comparison to Procreate. It is likely this will see a significant upgrade for iOS 11.

Behance Gallery


Travel writing

Marco Polo
robert byron road to oxiania
nicolas bouvier
Patrick Leigh Fermor
Bruce Chatwin
Paul Theroux
Colin Thubron
Italo Calvinho   Invisible Cities


2: Landscapes of Place In Process

Colour theory

Cambridge in Colour: Colour Management


Cambridge in Colour:  Colour Perception

Color can only exist when three components are present: a viewer, an object, and light. Although pure white light is perceived as colorless, it actually contains all colors in the visible spectrum. When white light hits an object, it selectively blocks some colors and reflects others; only the reflected colors contribute to the viewer’s perception of color.

Prism: White Light and the Visible Spectrum
Human Vision

The human eye senses this spectrum using a combination of rod and cone cells for vision. Rod cells are better for low-light vision, but can only sense the intensity of light, whereas whilecone cells can also discern color, they function best in bright light.

Three types of cone cells exist in your eye, with each being more sensitive to either short (S), medium (M), or long (L) wavelength light. The set of signals possible at all three cone cells describes the range of colors we can see with our eyes. The diagram below illustrates the relative sensitivity of each type of cell for the entire visible spectrum. These curves are often also referred to as the “tristimulus functions.”

Select View: Cone Cells Luminosity

Raw data courtesy of the Colour and Vision Research Laboratories (CVRL), UCL.

Note how each type of cell does not just sense one color, but instead has varying degrees of sensitivity across a broad range of wavelengths. Move your mouse over “luminosity” to see which colors contribute the most towards our perception of brightness. Also note how human color perception is most sensitive to light in the yellow-green region of the spectrum; this is utilized by the bayer array in modern digital cameras.


Virtually all our visible colors can be produced by utilizing some combination of the three primary colors, either by additive or subtractive processes. Additive processes create color by adding light to a dark background, whereas subtractive processes use pigments or dyes to selectively block white light. A proper understanding of each of these processes creates the basis for understanding color reproduction.

Additive Primary ColorsAdditive
Subtractive Primary ColorsSubtractive

The color in the three outer circles are termed primary colors, and are different in each of the above diagrams. Devices which use these primary colors can produce the maximum range of color. Monitors release light to produce additive colors, whereas printers use pigments or dyes to absorb light and create subtractive colors. This is why nearly all monitors use a combination of red, green and blue (RGB) pixels, whereas most color printers use at least cyan, magenta and yellow (CMY) inks. Many printers also include black ink in addition to cyan, magenta and yellow (CMYK) because CMY alone cannot produce deep enough shadows.

Additive Color Mixing
(RGB Color)
Subtractive Color Mixing
(CMYK Color)
Red + Green Yellow Cyan + Magenta Blue
Green + Blue Cyan Magenta + Yellow Red
Blue + Red Magenta Yellow + Cyan Green
Red + Green + Blue White Cyan + Magenta + Yellow Black

Subtractive processes are more susceptible to changes in ambient light, because this light is what becomes selectively blocked to produce all their colors. This is why printed color processes require a specific type of ambient lighting in order to accurately depict colors.


Color has two unique components that set it apart from achromatic light: hue and saturation. Visually describing a color based on each of these terms can be highly subjective, however each can be more objectively illustrated by inspecting the light’s color spectrum.

Naturally occurring colors are not just light at one wavelength, but actually contain a whole range of wavelengths. A color’s “hue” describes which wavelength appears to be most dominant. The object whose spectrum is shown below would likely be perceived as bluish, even though it contains wavelengths throughout the spectrum.

Color Hue
Visible Spectrum

Although this spectrum’s maximum happens to occur in the same region as the object’s hue, it is not a requirement. If this object instead had separate and pronounced peaks in just the the red and green regions, then its hue would instead be yellow (see the additive color mixing table).

A color’s saturation is a measure of its purity. A highly saturated color will contain a very narrow set of wavelengths and appear much more pronounced than a similar, but less saturated color. The following example illustrates the spectrum for both a highly saturated and less saturated shade of blue.

Select Saturation Level: Low High

Spectral Curves for Low and High Saturation Color

In Process

Paul Cezanne

Cezanne Creative Commons website

The Card Players

Exhibition Courtauld Gallery

Paul Cezanne (January 19, 1839 – October 22, 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cezanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cezanne “is the father of us all” cannot be easily dismissed.

Cezanne’s work demonstrates a mastery of design, colour, composition and draftsmanship. His often repetitive, sensitive and exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognisable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature. The paintings convey Cezanne’s intense study of his subjects, a searching gaze and a dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.

Paul Cezanne was a French painter, often called the father of modern art, who strove to develop an ideal synthesis of naturalistic representation, personal expression, and abstract pictorial order.

Cezanne was born in the southern French town of Aix-en-Provence, January 19, 1839, the son of a wealthy banker. His boyhood companion was Emile Zola, who later gained fame as a novelist and man of letters. As did Zola, Cezanne developed artistic interests at an early age, much to the dismay of his father. In 1862, after a number of bitter family disputes, the aspiring artist was given a small allowance and sent to study art in Paris, where Zola had already gone. From the start he was drawn to the more radical elements of the Parisian art world. He especially admired the romantic painter Eugene Delacroix and, among the younger masters, Gustave Courbet and the notorious Edouard Manet, who exhibited realist paintings that were shocking in both style and subject matter to most of their contemporaries.

Many of Cezanne’s early works were painted in dark tones applied with heavy, fluid pigment, suggesting the moody, romantic expressionism of previous generations. Just as Zola pursued his interest in the realist novel, however, Cezanne also gradually developed a commitment to the representation of contemporary life, painting the world he observed without concern for thematic idealization or stylistic affectation.

The most significant influence on the work of his early maturity proved to be Camille Pissarro, an older but as yet unrecognized painter who lived with his large family in a rural area outside Paris. Pissarro not only provided the moral encouragement that the insecure Cezanne required, but he also introduced him to the new impressionist technique for rendering outdoor light.

Along with the painters Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and a few others, Pissarro had developed a painting style that involved working outdoors (en plein air) rapidly and on a reduced scale, employing small touches of pure color, generally without the use of preparatory sketches or linear outlines. In such a manner Pissarro and the others hoped to capture the most transient natural effects as well as their own passing emotional states as the artists stood before nature. Under Pissarro’s tutelage, and within a very short time during 1872-73, Cezanne shifted from dark tones to bright hues and began to concentrate on scenes of farmland and rural villages.

Although he seemed less technically accomplished than the other impressionists, Cezanne was accepted by the group and exhibited with them in 1874 and 1877. In general the impressionists did not have much commercial success, and Cezanne’s works received the harshest critical commentary. He drifted away from many of his Parisian contacts during the late 1870s and ’80s and spent much of his time in his native Aix. After 1882, he did not work closely again with Pissarro. In 1886, Cezanne became embittered over what he took to be thinly disguised references to his own failures in one of Zola’s novels. As a result he broke off relations with his oldest supporter. In the same year, he inherited his father’s wealth and finally, at the age of 47, became financially independent, but socially he remained quite isolated.

Cezanne’s goal was, in his own mind, never fully attained. He left most of his works unfinished and destroyed many others. He complained of his failure at rendering the human figure, and indeed the great figural works of his last years-such as the Large Bathers(circa 1899-1906, Museum of Art, Philadelphia) – reveal curious distortions that seem to have been dictated by the rigor of the system of color modulation he imposed on his own representations. The succeeding generation of painters, however, eventually came to be receptive to nearly all of Cezanne’s idiosyncrasies. Cezanne’s heirs felt that the naturalistic painting of impressionism had become formularized, and a new and original style, however difficult it might be, was needed to return a sense of sincerity and commitment to modern art.

For many years Cezanne was known only to his old impressionist colleagues and to a few younger radical postimpressionist artists, including the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and the French painter Paul Gauguin. In 1895, however, Ambroise Vollard, an ambitious Paris art dealer, arranged a show of Cezanne’s works and over the next few years promoted them successfully. By 1904, Cezanne was featured in a major official exhibition, and by the time of his death (in Aix on October 22, 1906) he had attained the status of a legendary figure. During his last years many younger artists traveled to Aix to observe him at work and to receive any words of wisdom he might offer. Both his style and his theory remained mysterious and cryptic; he seemed to some a naive primitive, while to others he was a sophisticated master of technical procedure. The intensity of his color, coupled with the apparent rigor of his compositional organization, signaled to most that, despite the artist’s own frequent despair, he had synthesized the basic expressive and representational elements of painting in a highly original manner. (From


Cezanne’s approach to watercolour YouTube

Cézanne’s watercolours are studies preparatory to painting in oil, notes of strong sensations before nature afterwards to be rendered in the more permanent and solid seeming medium. They are also solutions of those problems of picture making which were his lifelong obsession, and which, at a certain period of his life, could be more easily settled in watercolour than in oil.
In about 1883 Cézanne’s struggle to achieve the greatest possible modelling through colour had led to a density of texture which the passage of time has made most beautiful to us, but which Cézanne felt to be too congested. He wished to attain the same effect with far greater simplicity of means.
He therefore limited his palette to green, blue and a few warm earth colours and adopted as an exercise in economy a spare and delicate technique of watercolour. What began as a discipline became a delight; and some of the paintings here exhibited were clearly executed for their own sakes. But they retain the evidence of their origin. No attempt is made at a full continuous description of appearances; the white paper predominates and the eye leaps form on complex of colour to another, forgetting that in between is nothing but whiteness.
Why is it that in spite of this lack of finish Cézanne’s watercolours give such a satisfying sense of completeness? For one thing because he knew how to concentrate all his resources on the essentials of a composition.

In this, as in other ways, Cézanne’s watercolours are a key to the understanding of his oils, and, in fact, greatly influenced his oil technique. They show, for example, his uneasy relation with the contour which, he is reputed to have said, escaped him, but which, in fact, gave him the dreaded sense of imprisonment.

2: Landscapes of Place In Process

Elements of Design

Line and shape
Literal lines do not exist in nature, but are the optical phenomena created when objects curve away from the viewer. Nonetheless, line-like shapes are for all intents considered line elements by the artist; for example, telephone and power cables or rigging on boats. Any such elements can be of dramatic use in the composition of the image. Additionally, less obvious lines can be created, intentionally or not, which influence the direction of the viewer’s gaze. These could be the borders of areas of differing color or contrast, or sequences of discrete elements, or the artist may exaggerate or create lines perhaps as part of his style, for this purpose. Many lines without a clear subject point suggest chaos in the image and may conflict with the mood the artist is trying to evoke.

Movement is also a source of line, and blur can also create a reaction. Subject lines by means of illusion contribute to both mood and linear perspective, giving the illusion of depth. Oblique lines convey a sense of movement and angular lines generally convey a sense of dynamism and possibly tension. Lines can also direct attention towards the main subject of picture, or contribute to organization by dividing it into compartments.

The brain often unconsciously reads near continuous lines between different elements and subjects at varying distances.

Straight lines
Straight lines are called linear when used in a piece of art work. Straight lines add affection and can make it look more detailed and challenging. Horizontal, vertical, and angled lines often contribute to creating different moods of a picture. The angle and the relationship to the size of the frame both work to determine the influence the line has on the image. They are also strongly influenced by tone, color, and repetition in relation to the rest of the photograph. Horizontal lines, commonly found in landscape photography, can give the impression of calm, tranquility, and space. An image filled with strong vertical lines tends to have the impression of height, and grandeur. Tightly angled convergent lines give a dynamic, lively, and active effect to the image whereas strongly angled, almost diagonal lines generally produce tension in the image. Viewpoint is very important when dealing with lines particularly in photography, because every different perspective elicits a different response to the photograph. By changing the perspective only by some degrees or some centimetres lines in images can change tremendously and a totally different feeling can be transported.

Curved lines
Curved lines are generally used to create a sense of flow within an image. They are also generally more aesthetically pleasing, as we associate them with soft things. Compared to straight lines, curves provide a greater dynamic influence in a picture.

In photography, curved lines can give gradated shadows when paired with soft-directional lighting, which usually results in a very harmonious line structure within the image.

A shape is defined as a two or more dimensional area that stands out from the space next to or around it due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture.[4] All objects are composed of shapes and all other ‘Elements of Design’ are shapes in some way.[5]

Mechanical Shapes or Geometric Shapes are the shapes that can be drawn using a ruler or compass. Mechanical shapes, whether simple or complex, produce a feeling of control or order.[5]
Organic Shapes are freehand drawn shapes that are complex and normally found in nature. Organic shapes produce a natural feel.[5]

In design, space is concerned with the area deep within the moment of designated design, the design will take place on. For a two-dimensional design, space concerns creating the illusion of a third dimension on a flat surface:[5]

Overlap is the effect where objects appear to be on top of each other. This illusion makes the top element look closer to the observer. There is no way to determine the depth of the space, only the order of closeness.
Shading adds gradation marks to make an object of a two-dimensional surface seem three-dimensional.
Highlight, Transitional Light, Core of the Shadow, Reflected Light, and Cast Shadow give an object a three-dimensional look.[5]
Linear Perspective is the concept relating to how an object seems smaller the farther away it gets.
Atmospheric Perspective is based on how air acts as a filter to change the appearance of distance objects.IN
Form may be described as any three-dimensional object. Form can be measured, from top to bottom (height), side to side (width), and from back to front (depth). Form is also defined by light and dark. It can be defined by the presence of shadows on surfaces or faces of an object. There are two types of form, geometric (man-made) and natural (organic form). Form may be created by the combining of two or more shapes. It may be enhanced by tone, texture and color. It can be illustrated or constructed.

The tree’s visual texture is represented here in this image.
Meaning the way a surface feels or is perceived to feel. Texture can be added to attract or repel interest to an element, depending on the pleasantness of the texture.[5]

Types of texture
Tactile texture is the actual three-dimension feel of a surface that can be touched. Painter can use impasto to build peaks and create texture.[5]
Visual texture is the illusion of the surfaces peaks and valleys, like the tree pictured. Any texture shown in a photo is a visual texture, meaning the paper is smooth no matter how rough the image perceives it to be.[5]
Most textures have a natural touch but still seem to repeat a motif in some way. Regularly repeating a motif will result in a texture appearing as a pattern.[5]


Japanese dark, light. A notan painting is a small, quickly executed monochrome painting that consists of simple shapes in a number of flat values.

positive and negative space

barry john raybould:

mass notan: rough plan of disrribution of light and dark shapes. 7 or less shapes.

contour notan: detailed exploration of exact contour of light and dark shapes

limited value study: quick painting in 3,4 or 5 values.

shape simplification. Merge shapes that have similar values into larger shapes of one


  1. Law of Proximity. Visual elements are grouped in the mind according to how close they are to each other.
  2. Law of Similarity. Elements that are similar in some way, by form or content, tend to be grouped.
  3. Law of Closure. Elements roughly arranged together are seen to complete an outline shape. The mind seeks completeness.
  4. Law of Simplicity. The mind tends towards visual explanations that are simple; simple lines, curves, and shapes are preferred, as is symmetry and balance.
  5. Law of Common Fate. Grouped elements are assumed to move together and behave as one.
  6. Law of Good Continuation. Similar to the above, this states that the mind tends to continue shapes and lines beyond their ending points .
  7. Law of Segregation. In order for a figure to be perceived, it must stand out from its background. Figure-ground images exploit the uncertainty of deciding which is the figure and which is the background, for creative interest.

‘Grouping plays a large part in Gestalt thinking, and this is known as “chunking.”


  1.  Emergence. Parts of an image that do not contain sufficient information to explain them suddenly pop out as a result of looking long enough and finally grasping the sense .
  2.  Reification. The mind fills in a shape or area due to inadequate visual input. This includes closure (above).
  3. Multistability. ln some instances, when there are insufficient depth clues, objects can be seen to invert spontaneously. This has been explolted more in art (M. C. Escher, Salvador Dali) than in photography.
  4. Invariance. Objects can be recognized regardless of orientation, rotation, aspect, scale, or other factors.

Michael Freeman The Photographer’s Eye p38

2: Landscapes of Place In Process Theory

Colour theory

In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is – as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.

Albers  Interaction of Color 1963 p1

Our perception of colour depends on both physical factors relating to the way the eye registers light and more psychological and cultural factors that affect the way the brain reacts to and interprets colours and their relationships to each other.

Artists and designers have used and experimented with complexities and ambiguities in interactions between physical and psychological dimensions of colour to portray emotions and question the nature of perception. They may choose to focus on local or optical colour.

Some key implications of colour theory for illustration:

  • Artists may choose to focus on local or optical colour. Or use completely arbitrary colours to impose their own feelings and interpretation onto the image.
  • Tone is perceived first, then colours (yellow first), and then the image. Using flat primary colours will detract attention from the image – making colour the subject and tending towards abstraction of shapes.
  • Optical mixing is inevitable as the brain interprets colours, successive and simultaneous contrast.
  • Consider the effects of using strokes around shapes to increase or reduce colour vibration effects.
  • Precisely replicating colours across different media is difficult (eg RGB and CMYK) and devices (different printers and monitors).
  • It is desirable to allow for individual differences in perception eg colour-blindness or epileptic reactions. Some software allow for simulation of the ways in which images will be differently viewed.
  • It is important to be aware of cultural differences in interpretation of colour depending on ones audience.
  • All these factors affect the relationship between colours and harmony/tension in composition of an image and the ways in which the image as a whole will be interpreted.

Notes on Colour Theory

What follows brings together my notes and experimentation from previous painting, photography and printmaking courses and updates these notes as relevant for this course. See references at then end.

Physical factors


Light consists of rays of different wavelengths. When light strikes a surface, certain wavelengths are absorbed and others are reflected by its pigments. Different combinations of reflected wavelengths form all the observed colours.

Eye to brain

As light passes into the eye it strikes the retina at the back of the eye which consists of layers of cells including:

  • rods – that perceive black and white and allow us to see dimly lit forms
  • cones – that help us perceive hues. The cones in the eye only recognise red (long wavelengths), blue-violet (short wavelengths) and green (middle wavelengths). They relay these colour messages to the cones of the fovea, an area at the centre of the retina, whose cones transmit to the brain.

The brain then assimilates the red, blue-violet and green impulses and mixes them into a single message that informs us of the colour being viewed.

Perceptions of colour vary significantly between individuals depending on eye and brain biology eg degrees of blindness to particular colours, ways in which stimuli pass along the optic nerve etc.

There are many other factors affecting our perception of a colour, such as:

  • the surroundings of the object
  • its surface texture
  • the lighting conditions under which it is seen.

How much of a colour is used, whether it is bright, dull, light or dark, and where it is placed in relation to another colour are also crucial factors in our perception. A distinction is usually made between:

  • local colour: the wavelengths that are reflected by a surface under conditions of white light
  • optical colour: the combination of local colour with light striking it and other surrounding colours


Dimensions of colour

Pure hues: A colour without any black, grey, white or complementary is called a pure hue and occurs in Newton’s light spectrum.

  • Primary colours are those which cannot be mixed using other colours
  • Secondaries the result of mixing two primaries
  • Tertiary colours, the result of mixing secondaries with one of their adjacent secondaries.

Broken hues are the result of mixing these pure hues with their complement to produce browns and greys.

However there is significant variation between colour theorists as to how they identify primary colours, and also between additive methods (RGB used where light is added and where white is the result of mixing all light wavelengths) and subtractive methods (CMYK and pigment mixing as in printmaking or paint where black is the result of mixing all colours). Moreover pigments are rarely pure. The results from mixing also depend on the relative colour temperature of each of the colours being mixed.


The lightness or darkness of a hue, or tone. Pure hues vary in value from yellow (lightest) to violet (darkest) This means that  mixing them will also alter the value. If you squint when looking at two hues of similar value they will merge together. When pigments of equal value are mixed together this gives a darker value because more wavelengths are absorbed and fewer reflected.

Value changes convey texture, are used for shadows and form. Sharp contrasts in value produce the effect of precision, firmness, objectivity and alertness. Close values produce feelings of haziness, softness, quiet, rest, brooding etc. Dark compositions give feelings of night, darkness, mystery and fear. Light compositions of illumination, clarity and optimism. Middle values are relaxed and often go unnoticed.

Discords: when the value of a hue is altered by the addition of black, white or another colour opposite to its natural value order eg adding violet and white to make lavender.

intensity (also termed saturation or chroma) defines the degree of purity or brightness (as opposed to light) or how dull (as opposed to dark) a colour is.

Pure hues are those where there is no black, white or complementary colour added. When pure black or pure white are present they are noticed before the other hues and colours present. Pure hues differ in chroma strength – lighter hues have stronger chromatic strength. Pure hues can be dulled to coloured greys through adding grey of the same value. Or mixing with complementaries to produce a shade.

Neutral greys can be obtained through mixing false pairs – orange and green, green and violet, violet and orange. But they tend to favour one of the parent hues and are less powerful than those made by combining complementary hues. They can also be produced through layering.

Intensity can create effects on objects in space.

  • high intensities make an object seem large and pushes it forward in the visual field
  • light pure values like yellow advance most on a dark background and least on a white background
  • pure hues have a relative strength. if balance is required, they should be used in the right proportion.

Temperature refers to the warmness or coolness of colour.

  • Warm hues are reds and secondary and tertiary hues of red (warm yellows, yellow-orange, orange, orange-red, red and red-violet). Warm hues appear nearer to us and are generally more stimulating.
  • Cool hues are blues and secondary and tertiary hues of blue (cool lemon yellows,  greens and bluish violet. Cool hues appear further away and are generally more relaxing.

Cultural factors

Cultural background and experiences affect a colour’s impact.

Factors such as linguistic distinctions can affect perception of colour – in some languages there is no distinction between blue and green and so although people can distinguish when questioned they do not make an immediate distinction.

The ways in which colours are interpreted will vary between cultures and for different groups, and even from individual to individual. Even where colours are perceived similarly, they may mean different things – in Asian cultures white is associated with death. Red is associated with happiness and luck. In Western cultures black is associated with death and white with purity. Red is associated with danger and blood.

Colour associations are also influenced by the types of pigments available and their material value. For example:

  • blue   lapis lazuli for the madonna
  • purple   mollusc in ancient greece so royalty
  • ochres and earth colour
  • red vermillion:  marriage and luck in Asian cultures
  • black: means purity in Islamic cultures
  • white purity. turns away other colours.

Colour harmony

Colour harmonies have conventionally been categorised as:

  • Monochromatic: a single hue with its tints and shades produced by mixing with white, black (or its complement)
  • Analogous: three or more hues that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Analogous schemes are most emphatic when the common hue is primary. They are most harmonious when the middle hue is primary (eg red-orange, red, red-violet rather than orange, red-orange and red).
  • Complementary: colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. But different artists may use different colour wheels, complements are different between RGB and CMYK.
  • Split complementary: a colour and the two colours surrounding its complement.
  • Triad: equidistant on the colour wheel. These result in a dominance of warm or cool.
  • Quadrad: where the four hues are equidistant on the colour wheel.

However in recent years colour choices have become much more varied, partly because of artist experimentation to ‘break the rules’, different cultural influences and also because of the rise of digital software that enable the rapid generation of a range of colour options – for example Adobe colour.

Colour interactions

Itten and Albers studied the interaction between hues and the ways in which our perception of hues and tones is altered radically by the other colours surrounding them. The effects of interactions can be altered by using coloured strokes around shapes.

  • Successive contrast: perception of each colour is followed by perception of its complement as eye and brain adapt – this is seen by staring at a colour for some time then closing one’s eyes.
  • Simultaneous contrast: where adjacent colours interact with each other. Simultaneous contrast is most intense when the two colours are complementary colours.
  • Vibration where certain hues meet: Disappearing boundaries: where analogous hues meet. Dissolving boundaries: where broken hues meet
    This can be used to create mysterious effects. Or combatted using sharp edges.
  • Discords play a supporting role – they are easily overshadowed by colours that are not discorded, but they stop the tendency of hues to spread visually. Large areas in discorded colours should be avoided as they weaken a composition. But small areas reduce monotony. Light discords also produce the best highlights (because they are unexpected and attract attention??) The discord chosen should be based on the primary colour closest to the object featured in the highlight, or the next closest primary on the colour wheel.

When colours or shades of grey are sequenced in a composition leading from light to dark or dark to light then the eye is comfortable. But when the sequence is broken eg grey background, followed by white then black then the effect is jarring eg dramatic skies. El Greco View of Toledo.

Rhythm, repetition and movement

Repeating colours can lead the eye through a composition and create a sense of movement.

Emphasis can be accomplished by using colour in a number of ways

  • colour contrast: bright/dull, light/dark, warm/cool
  • area size: large areas of a colour versus small
  • texture: rough versus smooth
  • use of arbitrary colour
  • unusual detailing
  • contrast with surroundings

Harmony can be achieved through:

  • repetition
  • similarity
  • use of tonality
  • surrounding a colour with a neutral colour



Albers, J. (1963). Interaction of Colour. New Haven & London, Yale University Press.

Barringer, T., et al. (2012). David Hockney: A Bigger Picture. London, Royal Academy of the Arts.

Batchelor, D., Ed. (2008). Colour. London and Cambridge Mass., Whitechapel Gallery and the MIT Press.

Britain, T. (2013). Gary Hume. London, Tate Publishing.

Davis, G. (2008). 2000 Colour Palette Swatches : The Designer’s Toolkit. East Sussex, UK, ILEX.

Dobie, J. (1986). Making Color Sing : Practical lessons in Color and Design. New York, Watson-Guptill Publications.

Eiseman, L. (2000). Pantone Guide to Communicating with Colour. Cincinatti, Ohio, GRAFIXPRESS.

Feisner, E. A. (2000). Colour : How to Use Colour in Art and Design. London, Laurence King Publishing.

Gage, J. (1999). Colour and Meaning: Art, Science and Symbolism. London, Thames & Hudson.

Greenwood, K. (2015). 100 Years of Colour : Beautiful Images and Inspirational Palettes from a Century of Innovative Art, Illustration and Design. London, ILEX.

Hornung, D. (2005). Colour : a workshop for artists and designers. London, Laurence King Publishing.

Hudson, T. (2004). Hockney’s Pictures, Thames & Hudson.

Itten, J. (1961). The Elements of Colour. London, Wiley.

Jennings, S. (2003). Artists’ Colour Manual, Collins.

Livingstone, M. (2005). Patrick Caulfield. London, Lund Humphries.

Lynton, N. (2007). William Scott. London, Thames & Hudson.

Parker, A. (2005). Seven Deadly Colours: the Genius of Nature’s Palette. London, Natural History Museum.

Parker, S. (2016). Colour and Vision through the eyes of nature, London, Natural History Museum.

Roque, G. (2009). Art et Science de la Couleur: Chevreul et les peintres, de Delacroix a l’abstraction, Gallimard.

Sausmarez, J. de. (2008). Basic Colour : A Practical Handbook. London, Herbert Press.

Stevens, C. and A. Wilson, Eds. (2017). David Hockney. London, Tate Enterprises.

Wilcox, M. (1987). Blue and Yellow don’t make Green: How to mix the colour you really want – every time. Penrith, Australia, School of Colour Publications.

Zelanski, P. and M. P. Fisher (1989). Colour. London, Herbert Press.

Useful links

Color Matters wide general overview

Cambridge in colour – technical notes on colour perception, colour harmony and colour management for photographers.

Color Art has notes on vision science and art

In Process

Patrick Caulfield

Patrick Caulfield Google images

Patrick Caulfield (1936–2005) was an English painter and printmaker.  He painted mostly everyday interiors and still life objects using geometric lines and/or thick black outlines and flat colour. Some are paintings or screenprints focus on evocative light and shape, experimenting with the effects of different combinations of, often vibrant, colours. Other works mix photorealism and flat images giving a haunting sense of fleeting moments, and a yearning for escape.

Caulfield’s extremely subtle art depends greatly on visual metaphor, on implication and absence, on visual clues that hint at things that are not overtly expressed, and which must be completed in the mind of the spectator…Giving solid visual form to intangible and ephemeral sensory experiences, and to equally slippery emotions’

Livingstone 2005 p9

I was first introduced to his work in 2013 through the simultaneous exhibitions of Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume at Tate Britain, using his work as inspiration for multiplate linocuts for OCA Printmaking 1. His use of flat colour and line – playing with both colour effects and perspective as well as combinations of media to produce emotional effects are an area I explore in some of my illustrations. Including:

1.3 Colour Palettes: Pots and Pans

3.3 Girl Meets Boy


Selection of paintings to music.

Some paintings are very pared down – reaction against abstract expressionism. Often different modes of expression: realism and linear abstraction. Understands use of light. Turns the everyday into the intriguing. Rethinks structure of interiors within painting.

Discussion of ‘After Lunch’ and the poignancy of the contrast between the fantasy painting and the linear plain waiter and the detail of the chink of light with the chain going down to the kitchen. ‘Endless Loss’.

From the Tate exhibition. Contrasts Gary Hume and Patrick Caulfield. They both use flat colour and unreal perspective. Patrick Caulfield is associated with Pop Art. Sense of ‘fragility of the moment’ and ‘fleeting moment’ and escapism.

Overview of life and art

Livingstone, M. (2005). Patrick Caulfield, London, Lund Humphries.


Patrick Caulfield was born in west London.

1950s: he began his studies in 1956 at Chelsea School of Art, London

1960s: he continued at the Royal College of Art (1960–63), one year below the students identified as originators of Pop art and fellow students included David Hockney. Through his participation in the defining The New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1964, he became associated with Pop Art. However he resisted this label throughout his career, instead preferring to see himself as a ‘formal artist’ and an inheritor of painting traditions from Modern Masters such as Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger who influenced his composition and choice of subject matter.

In the early 1960s Caulfield’s painting was characterised by flat images of objects paired with angular black outlines or isolated against unmodulated areas of colour. He deliberately chose subjects that seemed hackneyed or ambiguous in time. See for example: Portrait of Juan Gris 1963 (Pallant House Gallery, Chichester);  Still Life with Dagger 1963 (Tate); Pottery 1969 (Tate); Bend in the Road 1967 (Collection of the Museé national d’historie et d’art, Luxembourg)

1970s : he began to create highly complex paintings that play with definitions of reality and artifice, combining different artistic styles including trompe l’oeil. His subject matter shifted to topics that directly engaged with the contemporary social landscape and the representation of modern life. See for example: After Lunch 1975 (Tate) features a photorealist image of the Château de Chillon hanging in a restaurant interior that is depicted in simple black outlines against a flat, two-toned background. Tandoori Restaurant 1971 (WAVE Wolverhampton Art Gallery)

1980s:  Caulfield began to insert Photorealistic elements into his characteristic pared down paintings, creating  a vivid sense of place within abstract elements. See for example: Interior with a Picture 1985–6 (Tate), Bishops 2004 (Private collection, London), Braque Curtain 2005 (Tate)

Major exhibitions during his lifetime included retrospectives at Walker Art Gallery Liverpool and Tate (both 1981), Serpentine (1992–3) and Hayward Gallery (1999). In 1993 he was elected a Royal Academician. In 2013 there were simultaneous exhibitions of Caulfield and Gary Hume at Tate Britain. (where I was first introduced to his work)