The Early Bird Catches the Worm, but the Second Mouse Gets the Cheese
Color Theory and Four Factorial
First, I simply draw. The pressures of life melt away and magic happens. I tend to edge away from hard, geometric designs in favor for organic shapes. I am interested in letting the pencil guide my design. I go back into the drawing with pen and the piece begins to become more cohesive. The next step of my process is going into Photoshop or Illustrator to trace scans of my drawings and fill them in with color. My work often ends up appearing to be a microcosm of blooms, sprouts, and biomorphic shapes resembling a setting where flowers could end up dancing. I create drawings often when I feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of life, and the drawings allow my mind to be at ease for a moment.
As a child, my parents would often play the Fantasia 2000 film by Disney on VHS, which, looking back now was an influence on my style. The animators who worked on this film were given music to create a story around, and they let their imagination run free. In taking Ana Pozzi-Harris’ History of Surrealism class, I was greatly influenced by the Dadaists and Surrealists of the early 20th century. Artists questioned their surroundings and created alternate realities where their imagination could play. The idea of a color study initially came from my 2-D Design class with Professor Michael Marling first semester of freshman year at The University of North Georgia. He had our class purchase pronto plates, print out color separations of an image, cut the negative spaces out of those images, and use the plates as a spray paint stencil. I used the colors blue, yellow, red, and black to create my image. During this process Marling gave us a formula which I use now for this project. I later found out the formula is a math function called factorials executed in real life to show all possible combinations a set could have.
Printmaking is traditionally hands-on from carving woodcuts to etching copper plates. Polyester plate lithography is different from other forms of print because I have the ability to sketch out my work in my sketchbook, edit in Photoshop, and not lose small details in the transition from paper to plate. I love printmaking because it requires one to think backwards. I do not do well under pressure to get something right all the time, instead I enjoy the happy mistakes that come from experimentation. It is a hydrophobic process where gum arabic and water cling to the white spaces on the plate leaving the oil-based ink to cling to the toner. I also learned how different inks lay on the pronto plates. For example, yellow and blue both lay on the pronto plate in a thin translucent layer while red is much thicker, opaque, and tends to run off the pronto plate.
Color is an important psychological tool to influence a viewer’s perception on a piece of work. Although my work has an underlying freedom and whimsicalness, this project is very structured. Here, I chose three primary colors: perfect pallet ultramarine process blue, perfect pallet process yellow, and perfect pallet alizarin crimson. From these three colors I created the secondary colors of purple, green, and orange. From these six colors, there are three compliments: red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple. With these compliments, there are three different combinations in which these colors can be arranged, and this is how I chose the colors for each of my compositions (i.e. red, green, blue and orange). With just four colors in a composition, there are twenty-four different ways to arrange the colors. This gives the artist twenty-four opportunities to convey their idea in the desired manner. The small prints are examples of all the color combinations and should be seen as suggestions for how color can function within each composition. For the larger works in my show, I picked from composition of those twenty-four, the color arrangement I believe is the most successful in color theory and in the way that I was feeling when I created the initial design.
The idioms I used as titles for my work are often used but not in their entirety, just like the combinations of color that could be successful, but the artist did not choose to use. Here, I wanted to show the complete story as well as the three finalized color combination which I felt told the most accurate story.
“He who wishes to become a master of color must see, feel, and experience each individual color in its endless combinations with all other colors.” – Johannes Itten
Pronto Plate Lithography
© 2019 Erynn Flanagan, Some Rights Reserved
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Senior Capstone, Color Theory, Factorials, Printmaking, Lithography