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Ad Reinhardt and the mystery of color

Is blue the most spiritual color? Kandinsky said he thought it was, and I tend to agree, although I can't say why.

Color theory is something every artist needs to thoroughly understand. I know the basics - primary and secondary colors, RGB versus CMYK, complementary colors, and so on - but I want to delve into the deeper meaning of color, the messages that different colors convey to our subconscious and how they affect our moods.

I'll be taking Kamla Kakaria's color workshop at Northwest Encaustic next month, so that will help a lot. I'm not sure how much she goes into the psychology of color perception, but she does tell how to layer color to produce depth and intensity, which will be very useful.

Right now I'm really focused on midnight blue. I've always liked it, but ever since I first learned of the work of Abstract Expressionist painter Ad Reinhardt a few months ago, I've become obsessed with recreating that deep, rich, multilayered midnight blue seen in his painting entitled Black Moods, seen above. To me this painting just seems to hum with a deep, hypnotic power that I can't even begin to describe, let alone recreate in any medium. And that's only the JPEG - I'm sure the real-life painting is even more powerful.

This photo may be a digitally altered version of one of Reinhardt's famous "all-black" (but not really all black) paintings; I’m not sure. If you know, please feel free to leave a comment about it below.