Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Theory of Colour



At Art College I learnt about the the scientific theory of colour as well as the intellectual and emotional properties of colour for artists. Firstly, this involved attending workshops in a darkened lecture theatre where coloured lights were projected onto a large white film screen in order to explain the principles of how yellow, cyan, and magenta, combine to produce white light. Thereafter, the difference between the coloured light theories and the methods of mixing coloured pigments for the purpose of painting, was explained in practice.

There followed many experiments with coloured paint, as expounded in the Bauhaus teachings of the Johannes Itten. These were given and followed step by step, as the sequence of colour mixing and colour interpretation began to build a complete picture of infinite possibilities. But I was still lacking in the inspiration and the will to use this knowledge in a way that is creative. I was given theoretical knowledge, and was at a loss as to how to use it. It was 4 years after I left art college before I really began to understand colour in a way that was meaningful to me. This came in a way that was most unexpected, from looking at the world of plants.