Where two colors meet: That’s where all the action is

Our assignment:

Make two identical compositions, each at least 10″ x 12″. Use the exact same colors in both compositions. You want to have clear foreground shapes and clear background shape.

In composition A, you will create normal interactions between the foreground shapes/colors and the background shapes/colors.

In composition B, the foreground shapes will be fragmented or shattered, allowing the background color to show through the cracks. There are a million different ways that you can break up your major shapes and each will contribute to a different overall dynamic. You might want to think of the many different ways that mosaic tiles can be cut and assembled.

This assignment explores a simple, but important tenet of color theory: In color relationships, most of the visual action occurs on the edge where two colors meet. Consequently, if we break a solid field of color into fragments we are creating more edge and a surface that is more dynamic that one left unbroken.

Solid shapes

Composition A

Broken shapes

Composition B

What do you think? Is there more visual action in composition A or composition B?


Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

At the tender age of 65, I decided to go back to college to get an art degree. What inspires me most about painting is that for the first time in my life, I don’t worry (too much!) about making mistakes and I don’t get frustrated (too much!) because something doesn’t turn out as I imagined. Instead, I find myself noticing problems and trying to figure out solutions. Over and over, I will ask myself, “I wonder what will happen if I try this?” It’s the same question I asked when I realized that pursuing a BFA at USM was within my grasp. And so, I am! I also write another BDN blog called Catching Health. Take a moment to check it out at catchinghealth.bangordailynews.com.