Part 2, Close to home, Complementary colours




For this exercise, I was to draw a circle divide it into 12 parts and and mix the colours from Chevreuls colour circle or wheel beginning with primary re, red-orange and so on.

Next I had to consider the twelve colours from Chevreuls colour circle and lay each colour next to its opposite or complementary on a grey ground. Try to match the darker tone to the lighter by adding white. Then I had to make mixtures of each pair of complementary colours and describe the resulting colour.

One thing that I have notice was I didn’t seem to be able to match tones as easy on a grey ground I found this very difficult as can be seen its easier when I look at the colour wheel which does emphasis Chevruels view that adjacent colours can alter the tone. I do a lot of work in black and white and found it really disturbing that I find it so hard to do with colour on a grey.

As can be seen with the mix of the pair of complementary colours I managed to get the tone a little better, hopefully a learning curve and not letting the grey ground influence my tone. When mixing complementary colours in relatively even amounts the colours in the main went to a version of brown, well nearly all, blue and orange was more a grey because of the lack of red pigment and the yellow purple to green beige in relation to the amount of red in the purple. I have noticed Complementary colours are just that and complement one another, enhancing each other’s visual appearance.


Painting 1, Understanding Colour, Broken or tertiary colours

For this exercise, I was to make a scale between an orange red and a green blue. Try to maintain consistent tonal values across the scale by adding a little white. At the midpoint add more white, the result should be grey. It goes on to say this is known as a broken or tertiary colour and this type of colour makes up the appearance of much of our world. Then I was to make a carefully graded scale between a pair of secondary colours like Orange to violet once again the middle colours should lose Chroma.

I have tried reading up about this and can’t find the term broken applied in the way I am reading it so, my only interpretation of this is the colours are laid side by side as in the broken application of paint used by the Impressionist. It is fascinating how colours react, secondary colours do seem to be muddy in areas, the first few steps from the original colour seem to be the most clear. The primary colours do behave better when mixed giving a less muddy appearance.

I applied more white in the centre of both exercises the primary exercise became a blue grey  the secondary was a beige, which went with the muddy look form the mixing of the colours. For both exercised tone appeared to be relatively even I was surprised as this was the first attempt and totally by eye, I don’t find keeping tone similar very easy.  Exercises like this can be fun and a good way to learn about the colours we are using and how to mix them so it is an exercise worth practicing especially as different makes of paint can behave differently.

Cornwall Visit

I love Cornwall and its concentration of artists and art. St Ives is one of my favourite places though I have yet to go to the Tate itself. I always have the Mutt in tow and our furry friends are not allowed in, however Falmouth Art Gallery is always a joy to visit and although this time I wasn’t a fan of the abstract paintings hung by Winifred Nicholson it was a very interesting exhibition as I am interested in texture and brushstrokes fall within that category. There was less texture to the paintings than I would like to practice it was a learning curve as to how brushstrokes play a great part in a painting. They can show texture and movement their placement altering the light as you walk around the painting. I enjoy the colours of Potted Flowers, Prismatic No.2 1978. It was said Winifred Nicholson was inspired by looking through a Prism and seeing the colours, I feel this can be seen in Potted Flowers and Sunroom 1980 whose brushstrokes give texture and look like they have be dashed on with a large brush. I bought a book called Effortless Brushstrokes at Falmouth Gallery which is a lovely little book with paintings from a number of artists who are masters at the expert ease of their work.

I am happy to say among many studios, I also visited Whites Old Workshop in St Ives, and took time to look in at Hani Mroz’s new work, she works with Mixed Media, her work has movement and life and although more abstract than I, the texture and tactile look draws me to her paintings each time I visit.

Also, Jenny Hirsts work at Porthminster Gallery St Ives who likes to add texture into her work with collage, rubbing and scraping of paint. The emotion within the picture is palpable her work hold emotion and movement. The picture of St Ives is beautiful.


St Agnes Little Feathers Gallery is the place to see an artist called Gary Hall, he works in Acrylic and the one thing I learnt from his paintings is that fine detail can be achieved with the paint. I have only just started using it and have had great difficulty in getting a fine mark. Not so for Gary his work is very detailed the tiniest of marks are accurately placed to produce a realistic style of work.



Painting 1, Exercise Primary and secondary colour mixing

colour scale xxx

black and white


This exercise was more complicated, I had to identify my primary colours then arrange them on my palette in yellow, reds, and blues. I had previously, as requested prepared a coloured ground using my neutral grey and I was first to lay all my yellows, then blues, and reds next to each other and I was to notice the different shade of each colour and identify the most intense in each one.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many colours to choose from and felt I may not be able to do this exercise well, but I experimented with the colours I had and felt I learnt just as much from the few colours I owned, as I would with many. It really made me look at the variations between each colour well.

The colours that I thought were my most intense were Canary Yellow, Rouge, and Cobalt Blue.

I then had to make a scale from Yellow through to Red, Yellow through to Blue and the Red through to Blue. I was to make a note of how midway along the scale of Yellow to Red produces the secondary colour Orange. Yellow to Blue produced Green, however the Red to Blue produces a muddy looking colour which isn’t Violet. I feel this was achieved, I was then to try other hues to achieve violet. I tried different versions with the limited colours I had and feel it would have worked better if my Ultramarine Blue hadn’t been Green shade. In the end, I found a mix of Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue, tinted with a very small amount of Purple to soften the green worked the best. This can be seen top right. I found this exercise fun and a great learning curve of how hues with just a tint of another can make a dramatic difference.

The last part of this exercise I am not sure I did correct, but I believe I was to repeat the first three exercises adding enough white to my chosen primary’s to maintain a consistent tonal value. I did this by putting three equal amounts of white on my palette and adding enough of each colour to produce what I felt was the same tonal value.  Midway between the Red and Blue scale the pigment was supposed to look Brownish Grey, mine was more like a Pink Grey, I feel if I had added more pigment this tone could have been achieved better.

I changed everything to greyscale and was surprised by how close in tonal value some of the scales were, in fact a previous exercise was closer in tonal value than the last three which I tried to keep the same. It was an eye opener as I do a lot of Graphite work that relies on the use of tonal value and I expected to have better judgement. The Yellow had a greater difference in tonal value than the Red and Blue which were similar this I think made trying to keep the tonal value the same difficult.


Painting 1, Exercise Mixing greys – anachromatic scale

greyscale xxx

For this exercise, I had to start by mixing black pigment into white to create a tonal scale.  I worked on this a couple of times because I felt I managed the scale gradient, so stopped at the second attempt. It was an enjoyable exercise because it really makes you look at the many different tones that can be made by just adding white. I felt happy with my attempts.

Then I had to study the scale and find the tone that is equidistant between black and white, known as neutral grey. Once found it was to be painted on two scraps of paper and one place at either end of the scale and look to see if they appear the same. I painted one scrap of paper and then cut it in half this gave a greater chance of the two scraps used being the same colour for the experiment. I was then asked to look at them in situ and see if I thought they looked the same. I found they didn’t, the grey under the white looks darker than the scrap under the black, it was an optical illusion as they are in fact the same. This supports the Research previously undertaken showing that hues and tone do have a visual affect over one another.

Assessment criteria points

Demonstation of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness design and composition skills.

I think my technical and visual skills are improving with each level which is pleasing, the new materials used with each exercise gives greater skills and add to my ability to portray the object I am drawing/painting. Observatinal skills still need work as does my compostion, design is getter there and I feel more confident with my overall pictures.

Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I was more relaxed within Assignment 1 as there is a less time stress to finish. I think my work is presented relatively well and I have begun to manage my ideas and work with them though communication of my ideas may not yet be well covered.

Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invenion, development of a personal voice.

I am still developing my creativitiy, and personal voice, in Assignment 1 in following the remit creativity was really not an issue as we had to paint as we saw. Experimentation and invention are something that I will work on as I run through the course again there was little room of this at this stage of Painting 1 as I am learning to use my media and like to concentrate on application.

Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning logs and , at second and third level, critical reviews and essays.

Reflection I feel is probably my strong point although I enjoy research it is always hard for me to put into words and takes a large chunk of my time. I love my learning log which makes me relfect on the work I do as I go along, my feeling is it is a great way of compounding the learning process.


Painting 1, Part 2, Research Michel Eugene Chevreul

I was to find out more about the colour theories of Michel-Eugene Chevreul and make notes on how particular artists have used Chevreuls theories to expand the possibilities of painting.

Michel-Eugene Chevreul was a French Chemist one of his achievements was the development of a type of candle to which he obtained a patent. It was said to become a the most popular candle in France.

Later in his career, he became director of dyeing at a tapestry works in Gobelin. In his first year as director he heard complaints in relation to tapestry colours being poor, which he found the cause to be optical.  He spent time investigating the mixing of colours and found colours had influence over one another when placed side by side. Also, he felt our optical effect  when looking at colours will also have some bearing on them and how we observe them. For instance, if we stare at blue square for a short time, then move our eyes to a white background we see a yellow square after image which within a short space of time fades from view, the reason for this is we have red, green, blue colour receptors within our eyes, and when one of the colour receptors is fatigued by over reception the complimentary colour can be observed in a ghost view.

Chevreul wrote a book on colour theory which in the 19th Century was widely used as the colour manual by artists, designers and decorators. It was influential with the work of Impressionists and their search for colour brilliance, experimenting with the juxtapose application of colour allowing the colour mix to be done by eye.

George Seurat the pointillist met Chevruel and experimented with his colour theories, his paintings show the play of light where dots of colour are applied to his support and leaving the eye to mix the tiny applications of colour forming an image.

Josef Albers artist and art educator was inspired by Chevruel’s findings, he published a book looking at colour phenomenon, which is said to have 150 colour plates in relation to the subject. He became a very influential art educator.

Then around the 1910 there was a movement developed called Simultanism by abstract artists Robert Delaunay and Sonia his wife . The word simultanism was taken from the theories in Chevruels book of colour theory, De la loi du contraste simultanée des couleurs. The Delaunay experimented with patches of abstract colour to create movement and light.


Chevruel and Albers were two artists to influence the Op and Kinetic artist Carlos Cruz-Diez with his use of colour and style of art. Some of his pieces, with their coloured juxtapose lines create visual affects causing the viewer to see changing colours as they move around to view the piece. The shapes within shapes seem to hover and alter, I must admit they have an odd effect on your eyes, I am not sure I would like to look at them when I have a Migraine.

I have just brushed the surface of this interesting topic, the enormous influence of Chevruel’s research not only effect those that read his studies, but those that studied the studiers. There is no doubt one colour does influence its neighbour and the subject is a very interesting one, but not all artists felt the research of Chevruel was the colour Bible. Monet for one who was said to be preoccupied with garden colours and its powerful contrasts, didn’t feel it was wise to be over reliant on Chevruel’s colour wheel. I think I will have to study the subject more to be able to come to a more educated view, but in this modern world I am sure most of us have seen in one way or another the way colours do have an effect over one another.


Costa, A. B. (2017, June 21). Michael-Eugene Chevreul. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Courthion, P. (2017, June 26). Georges Seurat. Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Unknown,  (2017, 6 27). Carlos Cruz-Diez. Retrieved from

Unknown. (2017, 6 27). Mastering colour: Franco-Venezuelan kinetic and op artist Carlos Cruz-Diez at Puerta Roja, Hong Kong. Retrieved from Art Radar:

Unknown (2017, 6 27). USING COLOUR. Retrieved from SMITHSONIAN LIBRARIES:

Physclips. (2017, June 23rd). Complementary colours, after-images, retinal fatigue, colour mixing and contrast sensitivity. Retrieved from Physclips.

Roque, G. (2017, JUNE 23). CHEVREUL’S COLOUR THEORY. Retrieved from CHEVRULS LAW F1 WEB:

Unknown. (2017, 6 27). Simultanism. Retrieved from Tate: