Instructor: Richard Frumess
October 9 - 12
Tuesday - Friday
9am - 12pm, open studio 12 - 4pm
4 Sessions

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The purpose of this workshop is to give an approach to color theory that differs from how it is usually presented in art schools. Instead of focusing on color relationships based on calibrated color sets, such as Color-Aid, we set those color relationships in the context of the actual materials of paint – the specific characteristics of pigments and mediums.

 Working mainly with oil sticks, we will examine how the characteristics of pigments – their opacity, temperature, saturation, and value – play crucial roles in color mixing and color composition.  We also look at how different mediums, the absorbing properties of grounds, and the diffusing nature of texture can either radically or subtly affect how a color interacts with light. The conversation will bring us to the “mechanics” of color – the physical and chemical activities that underlie those characteristics of pigments and mediums and grounds. As if taking a peek backstage, we will see:

  • What makes a pigment translucent or opaque, brighter or deeper, muted or vivid

  •  What makes light influence a pigment’s color

  • Why we see color the way we see it

By concentrating on the physical nature of color, color theory becomes less abstract and more grounded in the materials of paint and surface.

Richard Frumess has been manufacturing artist paint commercially since 1982 when he began making encaustic paint for Torch Arts Supplies in New York City. In 1988 he founded R&F Handmade Paints and two years later developed Pigment Sticks, R&F’s brand of oil sticks. In the intervening years, he conducted a series of comprehensive tests on the properties of encaustic as well as doing research into its history and contemporary use.

Withdrawing from the running of the company in 2014, allowed him the freedom to investigate the underlying principles of the color line that had been developed intuitively over the years by him and R&F’s staff. The workshops that have evolved from this exploration are an attempt to ground color theory in the materials of color itself.