Abstract Canvas Prints No 66 : The Effect was Dazzling

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Abstract Canvas Prints No 66 : The Effect was Dazzling


Seurat had his own theory.

He had discovered that the contrasting colours (red and green, blue and yellow, and so on) could appear brighter still if they were slightly separated.

The thinking being that when we look at a red or green or blue dot we don’t just see the physical mark we also see its colour glow around it.

The optical illusion is heightened when the coloured dot is on a white background, which reflects rather than absorbs light.

As is often the case when it comes to painting, Leonardo da Vinci was there first.

When he was producing his masterpieces over 500 years ago he would start by applying a base layer of white paint, over which he would gradually add thin washes of colour to create his painting.

The result when looking at the finished work is to see a picture that appears to have an uncanny inner luminosity, and effect caused by the light bouncing off the white undercoat.

Seurat had settled on his dotty vision.

His small dabs of colour would not touch, nor would they be blended, that work could be undertaken by the viewers eyes.

He would add to the colour fest by priming his canvas with a bright white paint, which would serve to increase the luminosity of the separated dots of pure pigment and give his paintings a shimmering, vibrating surface.

And there was another bonus to the technique for the artist with a sense of order, its complexity demanded that Seurat simplified the shapes he was painting to an even greater degree.

The effect was dazzling.


Abstract Canvas Prints by  Ann Davis


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Much thanks to Will Gompertz’s book What Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.