I was browsing around the website COLORlovers, looking at how they analyze color trends in magazine covers and blogs and I was inspired to take a look at the color trends in some of the art I've been looking at and posting lately.
The last time I did something like this was when home computers were a gleam in their inventor's eye, during my first (and only) year at The School Of Visual arts in New York City in 1968. We used Color-aid paper. Yumm.
Now I use a design software that I love but almost nobody I work with has heard of. It's called Swift Publisher, and although it has only a fraction of the horsepower of Adobe Illustrator, which everyone recommends, I find it flexible and, best of all, I actually know how to use it.
Like most design software, it has a way to copy color from one place and put it in a designated location. Nifty. I depend on this feature for most of my digital color choices.
I did this mainly as a color exercise, but it turns out they're fun to do and quite nice to look at. I hope you enjoy them.
colors in Jello recipe booklet.
This Jell-o booklet was printed by chromolithography, which separates (and combines) colors in many many layers of printing plates, often dozens of layers. The way they combine, and the way the light hits the colors and the eye decodes the message is both subtle and tricky - think of a pointillist painting. So in this Jell-0 cover, it looks like there's lavender, but there isn't an actual lavender ink. These are the colors that separate and combine to make the final impression.
Diamond Dyes booklet. Circa 1890's. Wells Richardson & Co. Burlington, VT
This is a detail from a Diamond Dyes chromolithographed booklet, circa 1890. The colors I've defined don't necessarily reflect the colors of ink that were used to make this chromo. I'm sure there's a way to figure that out, but darned if I know it. The colors I've extracted are from a digital scan, as all of these images are. The colors, at least on my screen, are faithful to the original, but they are still digitized. So if two layers of ink are superimposed - layered on on the other, they will read as a third color. Even to the scanner. Still, its quite interesting, I think.
Ad for American Gas Association, Saturday Evening Post 1940
This 1949 ad uses different printing technology. Using a four color printing process, the inks combine to create colors from only four colors: cyan, yellow, magenta and black. The finished print, of course, is defined by the original work, in this case a painting, probably guache.The colors of the kitchen are a simple yellow, blue and white palette. The greens are only in the out doors. I've written about this ad before in this blog. It's one of my favorites and I keep coming back to it. Also, the American Gas Association has a google notifier, and last time I posted this ad I got a really nice note from them, so if you are reading this from AGA, hello!
Liza Cowan aka Liza Leger from FAKE!Paintings by Liza Leger et. al.
This is a digital photo (by Dok Wright) of a painting by me, Liza. The colors are paint in the original, and they look pretty faithful to me. I paint using mixtures of only five colors: Cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red medium, cobalt blue, titanium white and black. I get my neutral grayish greens and etc. by mixing all three colors plus white.
I was having so much fun with my color game that I introduced it to my children. I showed them how to do it and they each came up with one.
Photo by Liza Cowan 2002
Older daughter, WG, decided to do this photo I took of her many years ago. It was a digital capture, so the image was pixilated in it's inception. She chose to design her page with the colors right up against one another in different sizes.
detail from Alphabet Of Country Scenes. 1875, McLaughlin Bros. NY.
Younger daughter GW did this one, another chromo, and I love how she made the colors different sizes. Lively composition. I didn't discuss options of box sizes with the children, nor did we explore using different shapes or placement. We'll save that for another time.