Awash in Color: Roy G. Biv and Friends

Philipp Otto Runge's Farbenkugel


I came across this nice post about color wheels and globes in Steven La Rose's blog. He showed a great image and provided a link to a German-language site about historical color systems which I followed, thinking I'd pull a different image for this post. Well, Steven selected the best one. And I'm not going to settle for second best, so I've pulled the same one. I love how the artist conceived the color wheel as a globe, with the true colors at the equator moving toward tints and tones at the poles.

Here are a few others images:

Two color pyramids: Tobias Mayer's Farbendreieck, above

Johann Henrich Lambert's Farbenpyramide, below, tints you dimensionally toward white as the pyramid reaches its apex


Wilhelm von Bezold's Farbentafel is more conventional, but still quite lovely


While we're talking Roy G. Biv, let me show you images of several contemporary artists for whom color is the primary element: Steven Alexander from Pensylvania, Kate Beck from Maine, and Rose Olson from Massachusetts. Consummate colorists all, whatever theory they learned was absorbed long ago, and what emerges now is its pure intuitive application. (See more on their own websites and blogs, accessed by the live link on their names.)

Steven Alexander, Slave To Love, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 54 inches



Kate Beck, Canyon. Red, oil on canvas, 46 x 46 inches


Rose Olson, Falling Sky, 2005, acrylic on bird's eye maple plywood, 35 x 22 inches

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What, and you thought I wouldn't include my own work here? Roy G. Biv is a close buddy of mine, too. These are two new small paintings from "Silk Road," an ongoing series of small grid-based color fields. I wrote about "Silk Road" in my first post for this blog. The work has developed incrementally over time, but my thoughts about it have not. It's always about hue.

Joanne Mattera, Silk Road 106, above, and Silk Road 103, below; both 2008, encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches



Nancy Natale said...

Wow, this is a great post, Joanne! I love the Farbenkugel (doesn't that mean colorcake?) and others. Steven's work is just so beautiful and reminds me of my MassArt teacher, Rob Moore, who was such a wonderful colorist. Thanks!

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks for the kind words, Nancy.
Farbenkugel is "color globe," (Kugel=globe, sphere, ball) so you got the first part right. Still I see your reasoning;I've eaten kugel, too.

Candace said...

Holy Moly! your blog is terrific, just like your art. Getting that little book of yours is evidently just the ticket I need, along with Linda Womack's -- I found this site thru hers, btw. Those color globes, etc., are just breathtaking in the pigments and the very concept.

Thanks for sharing, Joanne.

Hans said...

Wonderful. I had been at the Silk Road and these works fit perfect. Best regards, Hans