Arts & Activities  

      Color expert Dan Bartges is author of the book, "Color is Everything"
( Visit his website at
      Assignment 5 In A Series Of 10      

How can you get your paintings to grab people's attention and hold their interest? While subject matter and style are important, color is the key. So each month, we're exploring how painters like you can attain color harmony in any painting, regardless of medium or subject matter. All you'll need is a standard color wheel, available at any art-supply store.

HOW IT WORKS Each month, study the two featured paintings on this Web page and, with your color wheel, figure out their color schemes. Next, download and print the "Quiz Me!" document, write in your answers to the questions, then hand it in to your art teacher. The correct answers will be made available on next month's Student Page.

      For a quick review of color-scheme basics, click here for an informative article: The Magic Moment.      
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Dan Bartges. Summer Flowers. Oil.

After receiving this floral arrangement as a gift, I placed it outside on the deck and started painting. What interested me were the rich colors—especially of the sunflower and red zinnia—the unusual vase, and the informal, spirited personality of the mix.

Why do floral paintings remain so popular? Art buyers like them for their eye-pleasing colors, and artists appreciate that flowers make for inexpensive (or free) "models." Keep in mind that if you plant a flower garden in early spring, then you'll have colorful models to paint for free all summer long!



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      John Singer Sargent (American; 1856–1925). The Sketchers, 1914. Oil on canvas; 22" x 28". Virgina Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. The Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund. ©Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

As a boy, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) showed strong artistic talent and, encouraged by his parents, spent years perfecting it. His near-perfect command of color and his signature style—bold, breezy and confident, sometimes called a "bravura" style—earned him fame and fortune as an artist, mainly because of the many expensive portraits he created for wealthy Europeans and Americans.

For this landscape, Sargent employed a lively color scheme that conveys a joyous, carefree day for two artists painting in the Italian countryside. Sargent cleverly limits the viewer's attention to the two artists by using the foliage and umbrella to obscure our view of the countryside the artists are painting. Notice the most developed aspect of the painting is the woman's head, accentuated against two dark tree trunks.
      QUIZ ME!
Click here to download January Quiz Me! document

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