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Inside Out: Coloured Objects


Goethe's Theory of Colours is the book that I'm toting around in the Profondo Yellow video. I got a little obsessed with it a few years ago. It's laid out by sections, and within each section are very brief and poetic numbered experiments that he did to achieve various light and color results. I made some small paintings based on his descriptions and performed a few of the experiments myself. The exercise I was most perplexed by was Experiment #52 in the chapter "Coloured Objects," which also inspired a short video.

Green Carpet, 2:35, 2011.

Experiment #65, Oil on board, 7"x5", 2010
Two sources of light: one natural, one candle light will give you a brilliant blue shadow.

Experiment #56, Oil on board, 7"x5", 2010
Pin up a yellow card on the wall, stare for several minutes, see a faint purple ghost emerge.

Experiment #384, Oil on board, 7"x5", 2010
Have you ever stared up at a full moon on a cloudy night? How marvelous!

Experiment #52, Oil on board, 7"x5", 2010

I had entered an inn towards evening, and, as a well-favoured girl, with a brilliantly fair complexion, black hair, and a scarlet bodice, came into the room, I looked attentively at her as she stood before me at some distance in half shadow. As she presently afterwards turned away, I saw on the white wall, which was now before me, a black face surrounded with a bright light, while the dress of the perfectly distinct figure appeared of a beautiful sea-green.

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,Theory of Colours

About Author

Susan Metrican is October's artist in residence on Big Red & Shiny's blog series, Inside Out.

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