Thursday, March 13, 2014

Light Key Color Study with Dan Thompson

Due to technical difficulties, I come to you 2 weeks late with an update on Level 2 and 3's class with Dan Thompson. My apologies!!!

This blog entry is an account of our first day into Light key color study. Dan started with a very thorough, 3 hour lecture and discussion on Henry Hensche and the tradition and lineage of colorist  methodology in painting. Here at Studio Incamminati, we inherit a tradition of a colored approach to seeing from our founder Nelson Shanks.  Nelson studied briefly with Henry Hensche, but was profoundly influenced by his ideas and teachings on color study which are an integral part of our program and curriculum.

After lunch, Dan demonstrated the process of a color study. Color study is a way of arriving at an understanding of color by stating and properly relating the colors of various masses to one another. By disregarding highly refined drawing (aided by the use of a palette knife) the artist makes a series of color 'notes', or guesses, at the color of each shadow and light mass of the subject. These initially garish and chromatic statements are an attempt at capturing "the shock of the light" or what Hensche called the "light key," the correct arrangement of colored relationships that will give the sensation of the light condition the subject is bathed in, in this case, artificial light. Unlike tonal painting where a local color is chosen for each object and is lightened or darkened to describe its form with black or white, colorist painting seeks to also describe the 'color of the light' whether it's the warm orangey glow of a halogen bulb, or the cool and ambient blue of natural light. Disassociating the color of the light from the local color of an object is the great fun and struggle of color study.

Dan's initial drawing

Dan's First pass

Dan's final pass

Dan's palette - note how separate and clean his piles are
Carolyn Gabbe
Alexander Soukas
Nell O'Leary
Christopher Nixon

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