11. Transparency


Through this assignment you’ll focus on examining the important aspect of using transparency within your hue projects.


Although our previous assignments emphasized opacity in hue to create unified color fields to create specific optical effects, this week we’ll be exploring the value of transparency. Please note though, that although we are using transparency here we still want unified color fields. What I mean by that is that the color is evenly handled throughout the form. Unlike Beginning Painting (ART 213), it is a disadvantage in our class to have color that varies in washes throughout the form as that allows the white of the paper to come through the wash in a sporadic manner creating an illusion of value changes that we don’t want in this particular case.



Using a single cell design to create 9   unit forms, incorporate “transparency” by applying 2 out of the 3 forms of mixtures. (Additive, subtractive and middle value mixtures. There will be more about this below.)

First let’s look at a design possibility:

Unit form design, 4 x 4 inches (rotate or flip each single cell)

Repeated the unit form (3 across, and 3 down) overall measurement is 12 x 12 inches


Helpful color mixture website: https://www.goldenpaints.com/mixer

Imagine an overlay of one semi-transparent color (dark, de-saturated, blue) over another (light, intense, Yellow).
What is the color mixture of the two?
– Answer: Middle tone, middle intensity, green
How did I arrive at that answer?
– Imagine the middle mixture of value, intensity, and hue.

When attempting to select the color mixture:

-Use your color wheel to help find the middle hue.
-Use a value chart to find the middle value between the two hues.
-Use a Munsell chart to find the middle intensity between the two hues.

When selecting an Additive Mixture:

Follow the above methods with the exception that the value is darker than both parents.

When selecting a Subtractive Mixture:

Follow the above methods with the exception that the value is lighter than both parents.

  1. Your design should only incorporate element(s) of design, (line, shape, volume, value, color, etc.) Do not use representational forms in your design. Please use simple geometric shapes: cube, pyramid, rectangle, octagon, etc. Consider overlapping a similar shape (consider size and scale of each shape).
  2. Research artists and begin to sketch out ideas. Ideas come from working. Use a compass, the top of a bottle cap, templates, anything nearby that can assist you in your design approach. An artist must learn to be resourceful. The more resourceful you are the more successful your work/idea will be.
  3. Notice below the two designs. The design on top is the first draft; whereas, the design on the bottom is the same as the one above, but after a few adjustments and tweaking the angles to create a diagonal flow of positive and negative space. Once you feel you’re onto an idea, continue to tweak the design toward perfection. Spend time designing. Once your design in complete transfer it onto your large 18″ x 24″ mixed media paper.

3.The design directly above is shown to give you another creative option for this assignment rather than just using rectangles. However, the rectangle – or another geometric shape approach (circles, triangles, etc.) – is just fine. This project is really about making sure you can control transparency enough to make additional colors.

4. Please post a photo your results in the comments section of the correlating post.


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