Developing An Eye For Color

text by Jessica Stammen
transparency studies by Jackson Day,
Lizzie Ogle,
Harper Gordon and Brynn Kooyenga

For the past few winters, during the weeks that are made of the dark cold days between holiday festivities and mud, I have been lucky enough to join a dozen or so eighth graders at the local middle school for a special class exploring color.

“It is obvious that in working with color paper there is no way of mixing the colors mechanically, as paint and pigment permit, and as they invite one to do on a palette or in a container.  Though this may first appear as a handicap, it is actually a challenge to study color mixture in our imagination, that is, so to say, with closed eyes.  Starting with the simple and well-known fact that blue and red when mixed produce purple, a blue and a red are selected and held next to each other.  One tries to imagine what kind of purple would result from a mixture of these two colors.  Then a paper is selected appropriate to this imagined mixture….In addition to the illusion of mixture, another deception will be recognized – that, in an illusionary mixture in paper, one color seems to show through the other.  The ‘mixture’ paper, therefore, loses it’s opacity and appears transparent or translucent.”

From Interaction of Color by Josef Albers