Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chien Chung-Wei [feedly]



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Chien Chung-Wei
// lines and colors

Chien Chung-Wei, watercolor
Chien Chung-Wei is a Taiwanese watercolorist who early in his career emulated the painstakingly detailed methods of 19th century European watercolor painters like William Henry Hunt and Myles Birket Foster, but as his career progressed moved to a looser, more open style emphasizing the gesture and light of his subjects.

He most often paints urban scenes and architectural subjects, capturing the play of light with fresh, clear color and a superb balance of free brushstrokes and sharp, controlled edges.

On his website, you will find galleries of recent work, as well as a selection of early work in his previous style (accessed from a drop-down menu at upper right).

I particularly like the work in his "Demo" section, which I presume is done even more quickly than his studio pieces. In these, he often takes on very humble subjects, finding in them a variety of patterns of light and shadow, as well as contrasts of muted and higher chroma color.

Chien Chung-Wei occasionally tours the US doing workshops. You can find some time-compressed demos on YouTube, along with video samplers of his work.


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"Secondaries" as Primaries [feedly]



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"Secondaries" as Primaries
// Gurney Journey

In yesterday's post about charting limited palettes, I mentioned that the colors you choose for your palette don't have to be blue, red, and yellow.

Autochrome by Louis Lumière"Madeleine, Suzanne et Andrée à travers les vignes"
You can use what we think of as "secondaries,"—orange, green, and violet—as primaries and come up with very interesting color schemes. The Autochrome process, an early form of color photography, did just that.
Jean-Baptiste Tournassoud ( French, 1866 - 1951); Le Phonographe;
Autochrome, circa 1912 courtesy the 
Photography Museum
Autochromes used grains of potato starch dyed red-orange, green, and blue-violet.

Through a magnifier (below), the individual colored grains are visible (left courtesy PhotographyMuseum.com, right courtesy Univ Delaware).


I'm not sure how accurate the color in these examples are. The first one looks Photoshopped to pump the colors, and the second one looks yellowed. But you get the idea.

Yellows are mixed from orange and green, similar to the way they're mixed from red and green in computer screens and theater lights. Yellows are the hard color to achieve this way, because they come out weak and low value, so they have to be tinted up with white, and at best they'll be sort of beige.

But the experience of building a color scheme where the colors we think of as "primaries" have to be mixed from "secondaries" is a strange exercise that will rewire your color brain.
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