Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Radioactive Color Wheel

The latest project from the art class I'm taking involves working with acrylic paints to learn about mixing colors. Initially we worked to create secondary and tertiary colors using the three primaries. We then painted a series of swatches on a work sheet that made us exercise our abilities to compare the mixed colors against the color wheel for a visual match. My results weren't all that great but for a beginner, I'm not expecting too much. Everything takes practice, especially for me.

The next phase of the assignment involved sketching up thumbnails for an alternative format to the traditional circular color wheel. I sketched out a few basic ideas, the two most promising having different formats. One has a radiation sign feel to it with triangular format while the other used an implied 3D layout looking like an overview of a Rubik's Cube. I opted for the radiation sign format but  would have liked to pursued the Rubik's cube further. With time is running out as the assignment is due on Tuesday and considering the fact I still need to read three chapters, exploring my Rubik's cube format probably won't happen.

After completing the sketches, it was time to scale up to the full sized image. I grabbed my handy new set of dividers and went to work transferring the thumbnail sketch to a larger format. After some trial and error adjustments, I stood back and looked at my completed piece. I realized I hadn't scale up my thumbnail enough so I decided I would add a border to finalized piece to help balance out the negative space. Time to march forward regardless of the mistake.

Out came the paints, the palette knife along with a lot more trial and error. My work table became far more cluttered as the color wheel alternative started to take shape. Mixing wasn't straight forward because it isn't  always easy to recognize what needs to be added to a mixture to alter its tint or shade to the desired outcome. To complicate the matter, I'm still struggling with streaking issues during painting. Finding the proper amount of water to add to the acrylics is clearly another experience issue that requires practice.

Okay, so my results weren't anything I would call  spectacular but it is a functional color wheel. Next step was to read through the assignment sheet a second time to see if I needed to create a write up about the project. And that's when the "Oh oh!" moment struck. I had misread the instructions and thought the entire piece had to be mounted on a background of no less than eight inches. Wrong. The color wheel had to be no less than eight inches on at least one dimension. Considering my longest dimension was about 5 1/4 inches, I had a problem that wasn't going to meet the given requirements.

Hmm, that leaves me with a problem. The piece is already glued down with rubber cement and I don't want to go through the entire process again to scale everything up in size. So, what's a person to do? Think like MacGyver and improvise, that's what. I thought about the problem and the objectives for a while. We were to give primary colors the most weight while secondary and tertiary colors were to be of lesser prominence. Well, my primaries are in the center which is the main point of focus but they could use something to bolster their presence. Time to add a triad of extensions and bingo-bango-bongo, we meet the requirements. The extensions have the additional benefit of giving more weight to the primary colors too.

Are my extensions a perfect solution? Nope. But sometimes good enough is acceptable when striving for perfection is too cost prohibitive. Some might note that I have larger elements for the yellow and red extensions. True, but my work around is to place the heavier, smaller element on the bottom of the drawing. It helps balance out the larger, lighter elements at the top. That's the story I'm giving and I'm sticking with it. Design around those mistakes and keep moving forward, that's my motto.