More Here Than Color Theory

I acknowledge that there is a lot about the color wheel and mixing colors that I don't know. But one thing I do know is that there's more to art than color schemes and memorizing a color mixing chart.

Andrew by Fred Hatt, drawing with aquarelle crayons, 35 x 25.
Andrew by Fred Hatt,
drawing with aquarelle crayons, 35 x 25.

For example, artist Fred Hatt works with colored line almost as if it is the narrative in and of itself in his figure drawings. He layers and contrasts colors to electrify a scene or the figure he is rendering. Working predominately in line, Hatt uses small strokes and vigorous gestural marks of various colors in much the same way Seurat did with his pointillist dots–the light reflected from the colors blends in the eye to make colors that are usually brighter than their source colors. This vibrancy is enhanced by the dark ground the artist uses, usually a black or dark gray paper.

For Hatt, color accuracy is something he can detect when he looks at his subjects, but it is not his intent. Instead, he wants his works to project energy–with line and with color. And he wants his colors to read more emotionally than conceptually. That means he responds to his figures movements or externalizes his own feelings through color.

Alley by Fred Hatt, drawing with aquarelle crayons.
Alley by Fred Hatt,
drawing with aquarelle crayons.

Hatt's has an imaginative approach to color. He doesn't play by the rules when it comes to the color chart, nor does it hold sway over the decisions he makes in his drawings, and that is the kind of attitude all artists need to really find out what they are all about as artists.

I discovered Hatt's work while flipping through my issues of Drawing. I was looking for inspiration and found it–which I never fail to do when I reach for the magazine. A subscription to Drawing can do the same for you–inspire and instruct, and open avenues of expression that are artistically essential if you want to keep growing creatively. Considering that, Drawing is the evergreen artist's resource. New subscribers will receive the Spring 2012 issue, which has two articles written by yours truly. Enjoy!

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

One thought on “More Here Than Color Theory

  1. Emotion and movement is so well expressed in his drawings and the colors tangling and twisting and turning adds visual excitement that triggers an emotional response, wow! I am going to practice this sensitive and exciting technique!