BYR color wheel

It is impossible to think about our life without colours. And the most striking example of the display of the colours is the rainbow; when we look at it, it would seem that the colours of the whole of the earth are sprayed on it. 

Here are some articles in which I have tried to introduce some of the players of these colour field, the artists and their styles. The artists referred here have talked in the language of the shapes, lines, tones of the colours and the textures. Through the dictionary of colours, an artist creates space and light on a canvas or paper; he or she creates sensational volumes and mind-pleasing movement showing through the alphabet of the colours. The colourful plate offered here is full of illustrative drawings, wonderfully done watercolour paintings, and the unforgettable oil colours like acrylic are also narrated. 

Color star-en (tertiary names)
 KwamikagamiCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What Is Colour?    In simple words, colour is the visual response of the objects when we look at them. The gold is yellow, the sky is blue, and the blood is red, like that. We look at these things and they visually respond to us. And to these visual responses, we have given names. The names are red, yellow, and blue. When the objects respond? They respond when the light falls on them. In a way, this is not the technical definition or a scientific definition. But for a layman, it would suffice.  

If we look at the colour wheel, shown here, we find twelve colours. The colours are classified as per their characteristics and compositions. First of all, let us look at what types of colours the artists use. Nowadays the artists have wide choices, to use Pencil, Charcoal, Pastel Colours, Water Colours, Oil Colours, and Acrylic Colours. But primarily the colours are classified into three major categories. They are named primary colours, secondary colours and tertiary or intermediate colours. Let us see how the colours on this wheel are made.     

Primary Colours: Three colours. These are Red, Yellow and Blue. These are natural hues. Natural colours. They are pure colours, without any addition of any colour.        

Secondary Colours: Three colours. They are named Orange, Green and Violate. These secondary colours are a mixture of two of the above three primary colours. They are mixed and created like thus:  Red   + Yellow =  Orange, Blue + Yellow = Green, and Red + Blue = Violet.      

Artemisia Gentileschi,
Self-portrait as a Female Martyr
Oil on Panel  Private Collection,
New York City, USA

Tertiary or Intermediatory Colours: They are six in number. These colours are made by mixing the full saturation of one primary colour and half-saturation of another primary colour. It does not contain any tint of the third primary colour. Look how these intermediatory colours are formed.  RedOrange;  Yellow + Orange;    Yellow + Green;      Blue + Green, Blue + Violet, and Red + Violet.

While using colours, and doing their painting, the artists use the colours as per their scheme of the art piece. They use primary, secondary, and intermediatory colours. In addition to this, they mix the colours and create a wonderful combination of colours. There are other words which are referred to in about the colours. 

First, come to the Hue. The hue refers to the origin of the colours we are seeing in our everyday life. The hue is the originality: the red, the yellow, the blue, the green etc. These colours have their shining and value. When colours like white or black are added to these original colures, the hue is affected. When we mix white into the original colour a tint is created. When we add black to the original colours the shade is created.  Tones are the aspect of the colours when white and black both are added to any colours having their own hue. 

St. Joseph Carpenter Georges de La Tour 
Oil on Canvas : given to the Louvre
Paris, by Percy Moore Turner, London

Chiaroscuro: The meaning of the word Chiaroscuro is light-dark. Thus, when a combination of light colour and the dark colour is used on a canvas, it creates an eye-catching view. The contrasting colours are put nearby and the chiaroscuro is created. This technique is used when an artist wants to show the solidarity of the object painted, he uses this technique. This creates a three-dimensional effect in the painting.

What Is Painting?  Painting, in simple words, is an act of applying paints on any surface. It would include airbrushing, coating, enamelling, the splashing of colours or even varnishing. In fact, the painting includes all of these, but it is much more than the total sum of these acts. There are ways and means to describe the technical aspects and scientific effect of numerous colours in our mind. But the main reason we love colours and paintings is that these colours live in our sensibilities. We love them spread in any form.

History of art is not only an academic journey narrating the paintings we have on the walls of our museums and the homes of art lovers. Instead, it is a study in knowing about the manner in which the artists of the past had tried to connect their feelings with the hearts of viewers. 

William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The Knitting Girl Oil on Canvas
Joslyn Art Museum, Nebraska, USA

Here are some articles in which the different slots of time are taken as a basis and the paintings done in that period are discussed. With the change of techniques of painting and the tastes of the people, the art of painting is always affected. This has resulted in specific movements of art, a specific type of painting done by the artists. But these are not water-tight compartments, as the time slots and styles of painting are overlapping. Let the following articles tell the whole story.

The Subjects: The subjects covered here are broadly comprised of still life, landscape, figurative paintings, Mughal Miniatures, Rajasthan Paintingsportrait painting, and basic art like a pencil drawing. The most recurring theme would be to explore how the artists see the objects lying before their eyes and how they conceive these objects in their minds. This part consists of the main lessons in the art of painting. The emotional and artistic process, the mental traffic through which an artist passes, and how the artists reflect on this phenomenon: these would be some surprise brush strokes you would see in the following articles. 

No claim is made that these analytical articles can make you an artist. It is because it was never an easy journey on the land of art. But systematically arranged information plays its own role. Here you will find narration of the paintings done by some of the master painters of the bygone era. Modern artists, men and women, will also get their seats. 

  The Death of Socrates  Jacques-Louis David Oil
on Canvas metropolitan museum of Art, New York

Renaissance Art: It is believed that history is the collection of chaotic moments of the past life of the human race; whereas the history of art collects the most beautiful moments the human race has witnessed till the day. We can have proof of that concept when we look at the paintings which were done under the style of classicism.

Romanticism: Painting Nature, Love and Passion: In the field of art, the word ‘Romanticism’ has a specific meaning. It conveys the concept showing of sentimentality on one hand, and on another, it refers to the lack of idealism or reality that confines the artistic passion. For artists falling under the category of romanticism, expression was the paramount element. They wanted freedom of expression, and they did it ignoring the social norms and the rules set by convention.

The Victoria Tower of the Houses of
Parliament seen from Parliament Square

John Crowther (1837–1902)
Watercolour 1893, London

Genre Artist: Paintings of Daily Life: Genre painters choose the ordinary life of common men as the subject. This style of paintings is also called genre scenes or genre views. These paintings are pictorial representations in any of various media that represent scenes or events from everyday life, such as markets, domestic settings, interiors, parties, inn scenes, and street scenes.

Impressionism: The impressionist artists are known for their adherence to two main principles. Under the impressionism style of painting, an artist searches for the general impression of a scene. It may be a celebration of a season or play of sunlight falling on the land water or the trees. Secondly, the impressionist paintings would be finished in one session.

Hudson River Valley Painters: Once a battleground for the colonial war and the cradle of European civilization on American soil, Hudson River Valley had become like a pilgrimage for the artists in the nineteenth century. These artists received inspiration from nature and painted some of their best landscape paintings from 1825 to 1880.

The Modern Painters and Old Masters are a valuable guide to those who want to enter the land of painting. Here the life, work, training and style of some of the masters are narrated. Here in this place, an attempt is made to adore those who have made the art of paintings so deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of the people. Here there will be a description of the paintings painted during the time from the memorable past to the present day. 

I, the writer of these articles, Naval Langa, am happy to share some of the essentials of art. Though using this limited space for such a purpose is like crossing the Atlantic in a small boat. But While going through these articles, you would feel as gazing out of the window of an aeroplane, surveying general topography. So shall we start? 


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