Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for September 20th, 2014

The colorist’s challenge

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John Ruskin

You may, in the time which other vocations leave at your disposal, produce finished, beautiful, and masterly drawings in light and shade. But to color well, requires your life. It cannot be done cheaper. The difficulty of doing right is increased—not twofold nor threefold, but a thousandfold, and more—by the addition of color to your work. For the chances are more than a thousand to one against your being right both in form and color with a given touch: it is difficult enough to be right in form, if you attend to that only; but when you have to attend, at the same moment, to a much more subtle thing than the form, the difficulty is strangely increased,—and multiplied almost to infinity by this great fact, that, while form is absolute, so that you can say at the moment you draw any line that it is either right or wrong, color is wholly relative. Every hue throughout your work is altered by every touch that you add in other places; so that what was warm a minute ago, becomes cold when you have put a hotter color in another place, and what was in harmony when you left it, becomes discordant as you set other colors beside it; so that every touch must be laid, not with a view to its effect at the time, but with a view to its effect in futurity, the result upon it of all that is afterwards to be done being previously considered. You may easily understand that, this being so, nothing but the devotion of life, and great genius besides, can make a colorist.

John Ruskin

Written by nevalalee

September 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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