Expanding the Palette

Last Updated by Kevin Buckland, Pertain Gillespie on
Chartres Cathedral Window, built 1194 – 1220 in Chartres, France
Photo by Nutopia Ltd
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author. 

Color has always been a key element for artists attempting to persuade the viewer’s thinking. It was thought-provoking how the program’s timeline moved from century to century and how each culture related to color.

We felt a deep connection with the artists and how they worked over the centuries. If we could speak to one of them today, we would have a meaningful conversation. Color and light has always played a key role in the creative decision making.

With our own work, we observe and use color and light to convey moods and even establish a hierarchy of elements and feeling. The artists’ arena is about creating an illusional depiction of harmony or discord. The creative use of light and color can make an ordinary object dazzling or a mundane landscape sensational.

Imagine the advancement of trade routes centuries ago and how they affected the availability and use of color. Artists could work only in natural light back then. Today, artists can use natural light or artificial light in their studios. How do these working situations affect color choices?

Painting in the studio (artificial light) gave the artist the ability to work into the evening hours and control the light source. An ideal studio will have some form of natural light. Painting “En Plein Air,” meaning painting outdoors in natural light, presents a much different challenge. Artists capture light in the spur of the moment with a constantly changing light source.

Whether a studio painter or an outdoor painter, artists are faced with distinct lighting challenges. The play of lighting, natural or artificial, and lighting conditions affect colors.

Today’s artist benefits immensely from centuries of tried and true methods. We certainly are over-indulged with labor saving conveniences. Simple luxuries include natural daylight bulbs (warm or cool), tube paints, and pre-stretched canvases - even our pencils come pre-sharpened.

Is the advancement of technology and space travel going to lead to unimaginable new colors and lighting techniques? We bet yes. Are we producing better work today? Not certain what the answer is. Nonetheless, advancement in color and light is very influential in all our creative endeavors.

Beginning to end, we found this production so visually intriguing it was difficult to take notes for the blog. As artists, we make color and light choices every day. This program was of immense interest to us.

 Kevin and Pertain BucklandKevin and Pertain met while attending The Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio. For over 36 years this husband and wife team have owned and operated a graphics and fine art studio. Kevin enjoys painting and teaching watercolor while Pertain prefers creating black and white artwork and gardening. They live outside the beautiful city of Columbus, Ohio.

You can view their work at kevinbucklandart.compertainbucklandart.com and bucklandgillespie.com.

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