Color Beauty


At the demo Scott delivered this weekend at the opening of his Steamboat Art Museum exhibition, he shared several John F. Carlson quotations that have influenced his own understanding and handling of color. Several of the participants later asked if they could get a copy of those quotations. Others wondered if we would be sharing photos of the palette he used.

The answer is “yes.” Here ya go!

“Reserve is strength; overstatement is weakness. No one cares (as Emerson said) to hear the singer’s topmost notes when the voice is ‘nigh onto breaking.’ This art of conservation is strength and makes the masterpiece a masterpiece….

“… Otherwise, the man who simply bought all the different colors obtainable, and squeezed them out upon the canvas to give it ‘full force,’ would be the greatest master, instead of being merely extravagant.”

“‘Good color’ in a picture means not at all the certain prettiness that the vulgar demand…

“… It means expressive color with its infinite variations, not merely color ‘dashed in’ upon the canvas!…

“… Good color really means good taste; and ‘powerful’ color means a reserve, to give a climax its full force, and not ‘red, white, and blue all over.'”

“Color beauty is arrived at only through sensitive juxtaposition of color masses, of varying proportions, of values at transitions…

“… With the general growth of a student’s artistic state, this color sense improves, and he will eventually ‘feel’ color rather than see it…

“… If he is an artist, he will feel when to expand and when to conserve color — the beginner’s cry of ‘go to the limit’ — TO THE CONTRARY.”

P.S. For those of you who asked for the “Top 10” photos from the opening, first, let me say how delightful it was to meet you all in person! And secondly, hang tight for the photos. I haven’t lost the email sign-up sheet (yet), and I’ll get them to you by the end of this week.

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