Sunday, 13 November 2011

coming full circle

Color theory was one of my favorite classes when I was an impressionable design student at RISD. We spent endless afternoon hours laboring over recreating numerous Itten excercises, the mama of them all, the 12-hue color circle.

We painstakingly mixed gouache, stretched paper and perfected our application of flat, perfect color as we yearned to understand the Swiss master's principles and in return awakened our own personal feeling and expression of color.

"To help a student discover his subjective forms and colors is to help him discover himself."*

So, I was utterly delighted when my 7-year old daughter proudly presented an off-kilter, eagerly cut out but rather accurate (watercolor) color circle which she had recently painted in 2nd grade "Kunsterziehung". At last, this foreign school system was talking my language. She matter-of-factly walked me through the color positions and combinations thereof and upon realizing how astonished I looked (I just couldn't hide it) I was awarded the piece to cherish.

And here it now stands, framed in my studio. Far more expressive than my perfectly dry-mounted specimen archived somewhere in a dusty portfolio box but as equal a reminder of the journey I have traveled and of the one which she has yet to take. 

* Johannes Itten, The Art of Color, Otto Maier Verlag 1961


  1. we learn from our daughters

  2. being a visual arts teacher you are absolutely speaking my language. I delight in colour theory and relish watching kids work the science of it out (the only time 'science' in beautiful).

    What a fabulous example and very worthy of framing!

    xo em