Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Experiment with Color - Roden and Hundertwasser

Last year I discovered Pasadena artist, Steve Roden, when he had a show at a local museum.  I think his series, "the silent world" (taken from the the title of Jaques Cousteau's first book) makes for a great comparison with Hundertwasser. Click here for Roden's work. While you are at his site, check out the images section for other paintings. I used him as inspiration for a project last year, too. See lesson here.   Click here for Hundertwasser's spiral. ( I am never sure whether I would be infringing on copyright to post artists actual work or I would place their examples here -- so you'll have to click above to see their work, sorry!)

I am considering having a class experiment with circles, using a color system for their spirals. Roden explains on his site that he painted his silent world series using a system where he visually translated the phrase, "the silent world" having each letter of the alphabet equal a certain measurement of line (ie. a = 1 inch, b = 2 inch, etc). I am not exactly sure how he did it, but I think that using a self-imposed system sounds intriguing.

I am thinking of having kids start with center of pie shapes and then draw circles around that. Children will determine their own system using the color wheel. This one started with warm colors in the center. Then I used complementary colors for the first circle (blue-green first, encircled with the complement, red-orange).
Each circle followed that same pattern as the piece grew.
Here I was experimenting with complementary colors on two of the diagonals, and warm/cool colors on the other two diagonals. All of these are done with plain crayon and a watercolor wash. I actually like the look of the warm/cool circles best, although I thought kids could also experiment with primary/secondary, analogous, tints/shades, etc.


  1. Beautiful artwork.

    Thank you for introducing me to Roden's work. I will examine his work in more detail.

  2. Lovely work with the concentric circle theme. This look reminds me of Kandinsky's paintings as well.

  3. I totally see your thinking on the Hundterwasser connection! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  4. ooh, fun! i love how this is something that kids (who think they have) "no skill" can be successful!

  5. Joanna - I like the "no fail" aspect, too. Although the first time I tried it I used a 9X12 sheet paper and even I got weary of pressing hard. I just wanted my circle to be done. The second trial was on 6X6" squares and was much more manageable. That way kids who want to can try multiple circles and we'll matt them together as one piece.

  6. the design of Hundertwasser I find it interesting and there is a school in Wittenberg after Hundertwasser architecture.