Categories
Fine Arts

Colours and Design

THE SPITFIRE IN COATS OF MANY COLOURS

In a new adventure, I signed up for a course in Colour Theory Foundation at George Brown College and got the chance to deepen my understanding of how colour works in art. I taught colour theory during my many years in the classroom, but the knowledge needed to get points across to my audience of adolescents was superficial compared to what I was able to examine here. It was a struggle at first, climbing to the top of the hill of existing knowledge to see from its summit the new world laid bare before me.

Working with military subjects, my palette has often been restricted to earth tones. Even when completing figurative art, intense hues were not exactly what I would be reaching for when placing them in the mixing trays. The opportunity to work with hues out of the tube in gouache has turned out to be a fun process, reuniting me with a medium I enjoy painting with.

A test image to get back into working with gouache, which I hadn’t touched in almost three years. The grid was presented by the instructor as a way of creating a circle using only a simple ruler. It’s a useful technique to know.

From this point, I created a motif and used it for the subsequent pieces. I wanted to resist going to the old standby of aviation, as suggested by the instructor, but after much stewing and sketching, I saw saw on Instagram a picture of a photo-reconnaissance Spitfire entitled ‘A Perfect Example of Primary Colours’ and realised that was it.

The next step was to create twelve studies of the aircraft in mixes of complimentary colours. What follows are the studies and a new composite piece I created from them.

One part of the piece. To create the roundels, I mixed the two colours which made up the complimentary pair together. Technically, they should be roughly the same hue through all the aircraft, but placing them beside the intense hues shifts them from image to image. An interesting effect!
The twelve combinations. Scroll down for the new composite piece. These images are created in gouache on watercolour paper, approximately 18×24″ in size.
THE SPITFIRE- WINNING HEARTS AND WARS SINCE 1936, by C.A. Seaman, copyright the artist. 2020. Gouache and digital media.

The next piece was to use the motif in a colour wheel featuring a shopping list of colour effects, including complimentary pairs, triads, tetrads, analagous colours and… the Bezold Effect! This one was so complex that I completed a primer to identify what colours went where in the piece. I then pulled out the paints and applied them using the primer one hue at a time. The images below show some of the process behind this piece.

The final piece, scanned and in a better resolution follows below…

COLOUR ROLL OF SPITFIRES by C.A. Seaman. Copyright the artist, 2020. Gouache on illustration board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *