Friday, May 12, 2006

Value Blind

For a while now, I have been having problems with my fabric art. So, I have been avoiding it. This morning in my weekly letter from Robert Genn ( he referenced a biological difference in artists. Some see value. Some see color.

"There are also those who see values
and those who see colours. This time I was paying special
attention to the value-colour conundrum. Neurobiologist
Margaret Livingstone in "Vision and Art: The Biology of
Seeing," makes some interesting assertions about the disparity.
Apparently the perception of colour and the perception of value
take place in vastly different parts of the brain. Just as in
left/right brain function, some folks have one faculty
developed and the other not. Great variations exist throughout
the animal kingdom--many animals do not see colour at all. It
starts with the rods and cones--the receptors within our eyes.
The cone-info (colour) goes to one part of the brain--the
rod-info (value) goes to another.

In my observation, value painters are likely to have patterns
happening early on in their paintings--often within a few
minutes or even seconds. Colourists, on the other hand, often
start out in a wishy-washy way. These color specialists often
end up with what I call "equal-intensity laybys"--handsome
effects, often in warm and cool. This (sometimes automatic)
"razzle-dazzle" was not really practiced until the beginning of
Impressionism. One sees that the picture-making process and
appreciation are undergoing evolution--in many different
directions. Also, different artist's brains are wired
differently. And some of us may be handicapped."

So my problem isn't being caused by the weather, inattention or sloppy work. Now that I am working more--it's showing up more often. (I still have successful work--just not as often). I am all about color. I chose the colors and then the subject. Value--the grayscale--has always been hit or miss. I will have to write a thank you note to Mr. Genn. And, get back to work!

1 comment:

Kris Shanks said...

I was inspired enough by the Painter's Keys spot to buy the book, and it's full of interesting insights in the relationship between visual processing and art. It's got me looking at my art in a new way as well.