Arts & Activities  

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

I've thoroughly enjoyed working with you here since September, so I'm sorry to see the school year end and to conclude our 10-part series on color harmony. I hope you've made great progress in your understanding and use of color, and I hope you're now more confident and enthusiastic than ever about your artistic abilities.

HOW IT WORKS For this concluding assignment, simply 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.

The correct answers will be posted online next month.

Have a great summer vacation, and keep painting!

      For a quick review of color-scheme basics, click here for an informative article: The Magic Moment.      
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Stanislas Lépine (French, 1836–1892). The Dock at La Villette, Paris, ca. 1876–80. Oil on canvas; 20.125" x 36". Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo: Katherine Wetzel. ©Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

I saved this wonderful painting for last because it incorporates so many aspects of painting and color that we've touched upon throughout our yearlong series. Can you identify some of them?

It's by the French artist Stanislas Lépine (1835–1892) and, like so many of his paintings, depicts a canal scene in Paris. What gives the painting such depth? One critically important element is in the foreground—the rowboat with two men in it. If you cover it with your finger, you'll see that the painting instantly loses much of its strength. Was the rowboat really there when Lepine painted the scene? Probably not, but Lepine could visualize the benefit of adding it to his composition.

When analyzing this painting for its color scheme, it is probably wise not to trust your first impression. Keep in mind that Lepine was not only brilliant at depicting light—especially reflected off water—but was also a master of subtle effects, especially color.



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Dan Bartges. Trout Pond, Early Morning. Oil.

This secluded trout pond is one of my favorite spots in Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. In the early mornings, I enjoy paddling a canoe across its quiet surface while Riley, our yellow lab, swims beside the boat.

One summer morning I witnessed this scene, but its soft, magical beauty seemed so intimidating to paint that a year passed before I even tried. What finally gave me the confidence? I figured out a suitable color scheme, which always enables a painter to better manage a painting.

      QUIZ ME!
Click here to download June Quiz Me! document
Available June 10, 2011

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