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Still Life with Einstein, Color Comps

Still Life with Einstein, Color Comps (2002)

This is one of the homework assignments in Intermediate Illustration taught by John Clapp. After doing a black and white rendering of a photograph, we were assigned to paint a series of color compositions in a variety of styles, as described below.

This first one is my favorite of the compositions. The idea here was to use as much color everywhere (Crazy Quilt style) but to keep the proper value scale. You may judge the values from the black and white scan of the same painting, shown on the left.

Crazy Quilt Crazy Quilt, Black and White

Two other paintings that I think came out well are Limited Palette (below, left) and the Half Saturation (below, right).

Limited Palette Half Saturation

The next two comps are Monochromatic (below, left) and Analogous (below, right), which is nearly monochromatic.

Monochrome Analogous

The next painting is also monochromatic but Reverse Value (below, left); compare its digitally inverted image (below, right).

Negative Negative Inverse

In Frozen Value (below, left) the painting is done with all colors but at equal value, which is why the black and white scan (below, right) of the image is nearly uniformly gray.

Frozen Value Frozen Value, B&W

Compare the above with using all colors but selecting them according to their value, as with Full Saturation (below, left). Again, compare with the black and white scan (below, right).

Full Saturation Full Saturation, B&W

The next two paintings are High Key (below, left), a style favored by the Impressionists, and Low Key (below, right) , a style favored by Renaissance painters. Obviously, I'm no Monet or da Vinci.

High Key Low Key

Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel are known as complements. They can be used for a jarring effect, as in Pure Complements (below, left), or to create accents, as in Split Complements (below, right)

Complements Low Key

Finally, you may compare the above with the original photo reference, shown below.

Photo Reference

In case you don't recognize them, the items in the still life (clockwise from the top) are: spectrometer (telescope tube and base); gyroscope; small magnet; dial ammeter (meter for measuring current); large x-ray tube; slide ruler resting on a book.

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