Arts & Activities  

      Color expert Dan Bartges is author of the book, "Color is Everything"
( Visit his website at
      Assignment 2 In A Series Of 10      

There’s always something worth painting, from a nearby public park to, say, Europe—which happens to be where we’re headed this month. We’ll see how well-managed colors can turn an ordinary scene into something captivating.

As you know, 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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Gustave Caillebotte (French; 1848–1894). A Man Docking His Skiff, 1878. Oil on canvas, 29" x 36". Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. ©Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

This eye-pleasing painting is by the French artist Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894), a famous Impressionist painter in the company of Monet, Degas, Renoir and Pissarro. A man of many interests and accomplishments, Caillebotte was educated as both a lawyer and artist and was trained in engineering. He excelled in painting, horticulture, stamp collecting, boat designing and sailboat racing. While tending his flower garden one day, he died at just 45 years old. Caillebotte had amassed a huge collection of Impressionist paintings, many of which he bequeathed to the French government. In recent decades, Caillebotte’s reputation as an artist has risen significantly. In 2000, one of his paintings sold for $14.3 million.



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      Dan Bartges. Tiber Island, Rome. Oil.

When painting in Rome a couple of years ago, I came across this impressive cluster of ancient buildings, all crowded together on a small island in the Tiber River as it flows through the city. What made the scene worth painting? Well, I liked the way the bridge deck and pylons framed the sunlit water and reflections, and I thought the colors were rich and eye-catching. Perhaps most importantly, the scene included a stark contrast in values (lights and darks), and that’s something you’ll almost always see in successful paintings or photographs.
      QUIZ ME!
Click here to download October's Quiz Me! document

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