The Art of Color: Rothko Meets Web2.0

The Art of Color: Rothko Meets Web2.0

I've always liked the artwork of Mark Rothko. They are simple enough to enjoy with only a passing glance, but powerful enough to absorb large amounts of time considering the emotions and meanings behind the colors and how they interact with each other.

I share a similar appreciation for the hundreds of color palettes that are uploaded to COLOURlovers on a daily basis. They can be quickly appreciated as you scroll by them, but some of will jump out and grab you on personal level. And the ones that grab you could be the ones that another person scrolls on past... These little palettes become mini-artworks that can express emotion and ideas.

As basic as color is, it is a very powerful form of expression.


"Rothko's work is characterized by rigorous attention to formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition, and scale; yet, he refused to consider his paintings solely in these terms. He explained: It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing."
  Mark Rothko - National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

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Taking Chess Beyond Black and White

Taking Chess Beyond Black and White

There's an age-old debate in the Chess world over whether Black or White is the "superior" colour. Because White makes the first move, White wins an overwhelming percentage of the time. But what if both sides were Grandmasters? Would there still be a colour advantage, or would every game end in a stalemate? The Surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp found his own way to break free of this philosophical "gray area." In 1920, he invented a colour version of his favorite board game in an attempt to turn Chess into an artistic activity.

Duchamp's colour choices weren't arbitrary. Indeed, as Duchamp expert Francis Naumann points out, the colour of each piece served as a "continuous visual reminder of its movement and strategic power." Duchamp's two Rooks were light blue and dark blue. The Bishops were light and dark yellow. As the Queen is a combination of the Rook and Bishop (in terms of power and movement), she blended blue and yellow to form light and dark green. The Knights, sharing no characteristics with other chessmen, were light and dark red. Kings were white and black, and pawns were also white and black.

Naumann notes that Duchamp compared the black and white game of chess to a "pen and ink drawing," likening chess players to painters who created black and white artwork out of pre-existing forms. "Extending Duchamp's analogy," Naumann suggests, "we could then say that playing on the chromatic set would be the equivalent of drawing in color."

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Organizing Bookshelves By Color

Organizing Bookshelves By Color

Bringing color into a living space isn't just about painting the walls. It's also about paying attention to the way the objects in a home relate to one another. A full spectrum of color resides on most bookshelves, but it takes a good eye to make an average shelf into a work of art.

If you're really lucky, you can find a complete set of color-coded books at a thrift store. A few collections that come in a colorful series: Wallpaper's City Guides, many of the old color-coded Penguin books, and World Book Editions. For inspiration, check out the Rainbow of Books Flickr Group.

colorful_bookshelves.jpg by Chotda

How to Organize Your Bookshelves By Color

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Landmark Color: The Eiffel Tower’s True Hues

Landmark Color: The Eiffel Tower’s True Hues

Located in the City of Lights, the Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most familiar structures and one of the most treasured symbols of France. Weighing a total of 10,100 tons and rising 324 m (including the flagpole) the Eiffel Tower has survived and been protected through the years because of paint. Paint, it seems, “is the essential element in the conservation of metal works”. [Gustave Eiffel]

Well, I don't know about you but when I think of paint, I immediately have a coloring urge.

What Color is the Eiffel Tower?

colors of the Eiffel Tower
by Bret Arnett

Monsieur Eiffel chose to paint the Tower red after it was erected and since then the Eiffel Tower has changed colors several times transitioning between red-browns to mustard yellows back to red-brown and more recently, variations of brown.

According to the official Eiffel Tower website, the most current colour is labeled Bronze though others have labeled the current colour Milk Chocolate Brown or Brownish-Grey.

(Left: The layers of paint and colors of the Eiffel Tower through the years. You can find this on the first floor of the Tower.)


Which Color is the Official “Bronze”?

Eiffel Tower Photo by absolutwade
by absolutwade

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Hot New Car Colors from the 2008 NAIAS

Hot New Car Colors from the 2008 NAIAS

While the overall "color of the year" for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit may be "green", and for good reason, there are a few new colors, and the comeback of a few classic colors as well, that will soon be seen at your local parking lot or drive-thru line.

The auto industry is known for sticking to standard hues from year to year - which is still a big step compared to Mr.Fords 'one color for all' Model T, and his motto: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” and while the general colors remain the same, it is the shades that are continually becoming more and more interesting every year.

Recently, the colors used on automobiles have been made up of multiple color layers added together with translucent layers making each color increasingly more complex. Look at a car from one angle the color might be "scorched penny" but as you move your point of view around the car the color moves along with you changing drastically from that bright orange to nearly black.

DuPont 2007 Global Automotive Color of the Year

img by ripismoney

After seven years in first place, silver ran into tough competition this year with white/white pearl rising to the lead color choice for vehicles in one key region and two countries. In North America, white/white pearl, silver and black/black effect are in a virtual tie for first, with white/white pearl narrowly taking the top spot, according to the report issued by the company’s Automotive Systems business. White overcame silver in Japan and is the decisive leader in Mexico, more than doubling the popularity of gray.
-DuPont Reports Global Color Popularity Ratings for Vehicles

So, while the car industry never strays too far from the popular colors, the growing 'niche' color market is something for a color lover to excited about. In recent years the niche market has seen bright saturated oranges and greens. Imagine what might come next, I'm hoping for patterns, but we will just have to wait and see.

Some of My Favorite Colors Popping Up at the NAIAS This Year

red lexus roadster
img by TheWongFamilyPictures

img by ripismoney

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Color By Hand: The American Sign Language Spectrum

Color By Hand: The American Sign Language Spectrum

Of all the ways to talk about color, sign language must be the most expressive. If you don't already speak sign language, color words are a fun place to start. You'll learn that it doesn't take a palate to discuss a palette.

How To Sign Your Colors

Orange: This colour sign pantomimes squeezing an orange fruit. In front of your mouth, form the letter "c" with your right hand (make a "c" shape by curving your fingers toward your thumb, as if you're grasping a can). Then squeeze your hand into a tight fist. Repeat this squeezing and inflating motion several times.

Sign Language Orange Color

Blue: Form the letter "b" (fingers extended and held tight, thumb tucked against the palm) with your right hand, to the right of your body. Slightly shake your hand to the right from the elbow, without bending the wrist.

Sign Language Blue Color

Red: Touch your lips with the tip of your index finger. (All other fingers are gathered toward the palm.) With a downward motion, glance the top lip, then the bottom. This motion is performed once, though sometimes people double it.

Sign Language Red Color

Brown: Form the letter "b" with your right hand (fingers extended and held tight, thumb tucked against the palm). Move your hand down the side of your right cheek, from your nose to the bottom of your mouth.

Gold: Touch your right ear with your right index finger. As you move your hand away, form the letter "y" (thumb and pinkie outstretched, other fingers tucked into the palm). Then shake your hand slightly.

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Whet Your Palate: Colorful French Macarons

Whet Your Palate: Colorful French Macarons

I'm quite obsessed with delightfully delectable French macarons. Last summer we went to Paris on our honeymoon and it was the best vacation we've ever had! If it weren't for our families and the petty but rather hindering language barrier I was ready to pick up and move there. One of the main reasons was the colorful and heavenly macarons. I wish I had taken more photos of them but we were too busy having them for dessert after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

header post 1
1 Paulette Macarons in Cali via happy cavalier.
2 Payard Patisserie in New York, Vegas, Tokyo etc.
3 Of course Laduree in Paris.

The History of The Macaroon

Some say they were Created By Italian Monks, Refined By French Pâtissiers.

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Colorful Allusions vol. 4

Colorful Allusions vol. 4

Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant color.  In this rebus-style puzzle, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes.  Try to guess the exact hue of each.  Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words.  Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue.  Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.


He looked around him as if seeing the world for the first time. The world was beautiful, strange and mysterious. Here was blue, here was yellow, here was green, sky and river, woods and mountains, all beautiful, all mysterious and enchanting, and in the midst of it, he, Siddhartha, the awakened one, on the way to himself. All this, all this yellow and blue, river and wood, passed for the first time across Siddhartha’s eyes.
—Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, 1978.

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Vinyl Toys: Invasion of the Color Snatchers

Vinyl Toys: Invasion of the Color Snatchers

People that have been in love with toys have likely been in love with them for a long time. That is the heart of many of today's premier vinyl designers, which may be the reason for the bold statements they make in both design and color. For those of you unfamiliar with this popular trend, you may be startled to find what an intense source of color and beauty the designer vinyl toy universe can offer.

Vinyl Toys
img by delarge

Designer vinyl started to pop up around 1990. It was coming from radically different sources: Some designers were classically trained in art and design, while others were self taught. My own personal discovery of designer vinyl started with Toy2r's Qee bears, around 1997. The 2" bear shaped toy with Mickey Mouse ears quickly became a ubiquitous symbol of designer vinyl, not to mention a great inspiration for artists everywhere. By taking something as simple as a toy and projecting art onto it, a new creation was born -- a highly accessible art form to people of all ages and backgrounds.

vinyl and plush toys
img by Andy Woo

The look quickly caught on and spread to other forms of toy art. "Designer plush" was true to the same artistic ideals as designer vinyl, but made use of the medium to make its own unique statement. One of the most popular plush designers is Friends with You, a Miami based company that is heavily inspired by Miami's strong design aesthetic. These toys have also become highly collectible and much sought after, making it cool to have a shelf of "stuffed animals" in the house again.

img by revlimit

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Interview with Patrick Winfield: Polaroidologist

Interview with Patrick Winfield: Polaroidologist

Patrick Winfield, Graphic Designer and Photographer 

Patrick Winfield
Location: Yonkers, New York
Art Institute of Philadelphia and City College of New York


I love Polaroid, so when the opportunity came along to interview Patrick Winfield, a graphic designer and photographer who frequently uses Polaroid to create dynamic visual stories, I jumped at the chance to speak with him.

Patrick’s work has a healthy following. I’m excited he took time to share his work; his love of Polaroid and playing around.

CL: Please share with us a bit about your background:

Winfield: I studied computer and stop-motion animation initially then moved onto graphic design, painting and photography. I landed a job doing graphic design for a startup company in 2000 and have been working in the industry pushing pixels ever since.

I grew up in upstate New York and have always been most at home in nature, walking through a trail in the forest or exploring a riverbed.

Patrick Winfield’s Beaver Pond Polaroid Composite

beaver pond, 2007 - polaroid 600 film on board - h:20 w:21 inches

CL:Tell us about when Polaroid came into your life:

Winfield: A photographer friend of mine told me about her ideas and techniques she was experimenting with, it was only a matter of time before I picked one up and did my own thing.

CL: What Polaroid Cameras do you own?

Winfield: I own a few. The original SX-70 is my go-to camera. I use a basic one-step for all my photogram work, just to eject the film from the cartridge.

CL: What camera do you wish to own?

Winfield: I am pretty excited about the release of the Zink cell phone printer. There is something similar out now, but this looks cool with prints that go to the edge of the sticker stuff! O yeah, and the 20x24 camera is always there...the possibilities! But really any camera will do.

Patrick Winfield’s Origin Polaroid Composite

origin, 2007 - polaroid 600 film on stretched canvas - h:38 w:38 inches

CL: Why did you choose Polaroid film?

Winfield: It is all about the flow of working with images as soon as I create them. The process is like playing in a way. When a photo comes out of the camera I can see if I want to adjust it or take another shot right away. Polaroid film isn't the only way I can do this and I have experimented with disposable cameras, Xerox machines and flatbed scanners, but the immediacy and characteristics of the Polaroid film is unique and seductive.

CL: Polaroid film does not seem readily available. How does this affect your work?

Winfield: It is actually very available and I enjoy working with it knowing it is available to everyone. It is not as depleted as one may think, but it surely is not the cheapest medium and most formats are being discontinued so I do keep a cache in my fridges crisper drawer. This makes me more conscious at times when using film, as well as preparing food. I am not hesitant if I want to take a shot or start a big composite, rather I will think about it more.

Patrick Winfield’s Saranghe Polaroid Composite

piecemeal, 2007 - polaroid 600 film on board - h:20 w:21 inches

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