Thursday, 29 June 2017

Putting Munsell to the test

I have been an advocate of Munsell's '5 primaries' colour theory for years but have always tended to teach colour using the commonly accepted 12 part triadic colour wheel. Since the latter, with its different possible colour harmonies such as triadic, split complementary, tetradic and so on, can be quite complex to put into practice I have always encouraged students to stick with a simple analogous palette - to quote Kathy Gill "a slice of the colour pie".

Last week a bit the bullet and decided to introduce Munsell to my more advanced students. I avoided the quasi scientific stuff relating to the relationship between tone, hue and chroma and concentrated solely on using the ten part Munsell colour wheel as a way of creating dynamic paintings. I gave a presentation demonstrating how, having chosen a dominant colour for the painting, the artist then added the Munsell complementary colour supported by two discord colours. I explained how the complement was often used at the focal point with the discords usually, but not always, in the same area.

My students then began work on producing a painting based on the principles I had outlined and I look forward to seeing the results.

In the meantime I thought I should practice what I preach so here is a small study that incorporate the principles I outlined:

"Avocado"  8" x 6" Acrylic on paper

Dominant colour: Purple Blue; complementary colour: Yellow; discord colour #1: Red; discord colour #2: Green.

I'll post some of my students paintings based on the Munsell wheel in due course.

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