Friday, December 01, 2006

Color Mixing Secrets

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I suppose few make the attempt to master color mixing because it seems complicated (aren't there millions of colors?) The subject has come up because someone asked about the colors I would choose for a limited palette. Since I'm on a self-imposed exile from the technical aspect of painting and because I've come to the conclusion that the only way to have a command of color-mixing is to discover it for yourself, I've tried to boil down everything I know about the science in the following principals (at the risk of appearing evasive):

Black and white are blue (I know this is a secret because I've never found it elsewhere.)
Add two and change three
The triad is the key
Light beats dirt
The dull cannot become pure again
A fluted column lacks unnecessary material (this is the response to the limited palette question of which there are many shapes)
The core shares axes
Complexity competes with purity
The vision is changed by the viewer
Switch domains and become contrary
Start with one and the rest follow
All according to the rules of proximity
And bound by the laws of gravity

I'd like to give a small framed oil sketch to the first person who can decipher these clues. Email me privately for confirmation.

-Doug Rugh


Michael-Ann said...

Goodness! I think this is one post that I will have to attempt to "digest" on an individual line-by-line basis... There is a LOT to figure out/think about with each one of your principles.

I am very happy your shared them! Thank you.

Doug Rugh said...

Thanks for your comments. Glad to have you here.

fathergoose said...

I'll try for the congeniality prize but would accept the token if you thought fit....

** Black and white are blue; must be a secret because I've never seen this (in print at least).

** Add two and change three. Hell, adding one is difficult enough. Three will kill you.

** Triad is key... Everything is known by its relativeness to something else. I see 'this' because it has a relationship to 'that', making it distinct and perceivable. Add the third leg and you've got the quality of stability; the difference between walking and daaaaancing!

** Light beats dirt. Painfully and repeatedly I've learned this in my paintings and, sigh, I continue to learn it (an education never stops). Goes hand-in-hand with the **dull cannot become pure again. All painting is about light (not plums to be eaten, trees in the wind or bums dancing) just light. Miss that and all the great textures just add up to dull paint, or dirt if you're lucky.

** Fluted column..... I'm an architect by trade and a painter by night. Less is more, and in this case it can be seen and felt, both in the modelling of light and the weight.

** The core is the centre, once established things can pretty much go where ever they wish, but always in a relationship. This is the meaning, a variation for each axis.

** Complexity competes...sure it does. You have to work hard to make it look easy. Complexity gets in the way of distilling an essence; thats where the work is. Its knowng not just which wigit to hit with the hammer but which wigit NOT to hit.

** Vision...It's a fundamental truth that no two people will ever see exactly the same thing, receive exactly the same info and respond exactly the same way.

** Switch domains & become contrary....Sometimes a singular success can become the ultimate failure. We can become style bound or medium bound, we end up in a rut. A domain implies a finite and so a limited amount of input. Variety may be popularily seen as the spice of life, but I think variety is life.

** Start with one and the rest will follow....The paradox of this is that discipline is required to take one idea and run it into the ground, get everything out of it that you can before moving on. Only then swith domains.

** All according to the rules of proximity....see comments on relativeness of one thing (shape, tone, line) to another. Then see last point.

** .....And bound by the laws of gravity. This is the rule that holds it all together, and when you get really rolling along, you can break this one too because at that point you'll know why you're breaking it and what it may mean.


Doug Rugh said...


I enjoy your comments.

It's interesting that your interpretations could be so lucidly parrallel and at the same time so dissimilar from my intended meaning (in almost all cases.) I guess it's the nature of the thing. Thanks for playing along.