Developing An Eye For Color: Transparency

text by Jessica Ives
artwork by Nancy Duncan, Sasha Laurita, and Tom Wright

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For the past several winters, during the darker, colder weeks between holiday festivities and mud, I have been lucky enough to teach regular classes offering an exploration in color for both adults and children. During this past January, February, and March I once again had the pleasure to work with a class at the Farnsworth Art Museum.

We recently experimented with creating the illusion of transparency (or optical mixture) by making color aid paper studies of folding ribbons and overlapping shapes. Have we successfully fooled you into thinking the opaque paper we work with is transparent?

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John Ruskin wrote: “Hundreds of men can talk for one who can think, but thousands of men can think for one who can see.” The goal of every class I teach is to learn to see better, finer, and more clearly all the time. Like color theory pioneer Josef Albers, I, too, believe that, “In an age in which increased human sensibility has become such an obvious need in all areas of human involvement, color sensitivity and awareness can constitute a major weapon against forces of insensitivity and brutalization.”

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