Showing posts with label kandinsky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kandinsky. Show all posts

Monday, April 09, 2007


It's unfortunate that most of the color theorists since Chevreul have been abstract painters rather than representational ones. I like to thumb through my Itten, Albers and Kandinsky color books once in a while but I have to admit that they're not very usefull. They are a lot of fun, though. Here just for the heck of it, are a couple of Kandinsky color theories. Maybe they'll spur you on to make theories of your own.

According to Kandinsky certain colors (above) have an affinity for certain forms. A dull shape like a circle deserves a dull color like blue. A shape with intermediate interest like a square deserves an intermediate color like red. A dynamic, interesting shape like a triangle deserves an enegetic, luminous, psychotic color like yellow.

A hexagon is midway in interest between a square and a triangle so it gets the midway color it deserves, orange. Toilet cover seats get green.

Lines also have an affinity for certain colors. Bold, dynamic lines like diagonals get a bold color like yellow. Less drastic diagonals get a less drastic color, red. Dead lines that are nearly horizontal get a dead color like black. Slightly active lines like verticals get a dull color like blue.
Kandinsky even has a theory about coloring lines according to their centrality in the composition. Lines in the middle get yellow. Sad, unloved lines that hug the edge of the frame should get dull colors.

The same goes for angles. Drastic accute angles get drastic colors, more sedate obtuse angles get bland colors like blue.

Ditto curves. Of course a line usually has both drastic and sedate curves and angles and the color of the line changes accordingly.

Here's all these theories in a single painting. Interesting, huh?

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Am I the only person here who likes Kandinsky? He was a Russian painter who was infuenced by fauvism but left the movement when Matisse declared that fauvism was incompatible with abstraction. How do you like this railroad painting? I think he and Gaugain (spelled right?) "owned" green!

These "Blue Rider" paintings with the colored frames (above) are terrific in my opinion. He sneaks in some white puffballs...more about that later.

This watercolor (above) looks like a tiny model for a stage set. You can see the Matisse influence but he Russianizes it somehow.

Here's (above) an early example of how Kandinsky adopted pointalism to traditional Russian style. The dabs of paint look like little puffballs. When I first saw them they reminded me of cheesepuffs and I found myself wondering where the Russians ever got the idea of painting on black vevet with junk food. After a moment's reflection I figured that was a pretty superficial observation; the picture obviously referenced balls of lint. It's a pretty picture, though. The dots of light are like stars or fireflies. It makes the whole scene seem magical.