Presentation of a Master

Art 2600 / Greg Clayton

In-class Presention of a Color Master

You will select, research and present a colorist to the class.

— 6-8 minute presentation.
--- Format: online video or audio-included Google Sheets or PowerPoint presentation. (confirm each semester's requirements)
— Introduce us to an artist/designer/firm who uses color well. Emphasize how they use color. (this is the main content of your presentation — so explore, demonstrate and explain the color tactics of the artist/designer.)
— Give us a brief background on the artist/designer. Show us examples of their work. Help us to see what their color strategies are. Chart 3+ artworks/designs; Provide swatches/palettes for (most) examples. Point our at least 3 traits of color use.

— Presentation Schedule             Who is presenting what topic? ...and on what date are you presenting?

— How to select your subject — the colorist that you will talk about

— A General Outline of the content to present — what a typical presentation will include.

— Some tactics and steps to preparing your presentation

— A PowerPoint file with Color Wheels and Color Charts that you can use.


Selecting Your Colorist

Pick an Artist, Designer, Firm or Period: The subject of your presentation may be a designer, an artist, an historical period, a design firm or another creative effort that uses color in a distinctive, deliberate and evocative way. Select your particular subject according to your professional emphasis. Think outside the box on this one — propose your idea to the professor for feedback and a decision.

Pick what impresses you: Look for professional designs by a particular designer, artist, or from a particular style/period that...
a) makes powerful use of color and
b) impresses you personally.|
c) then try to figure out the color habits, or strategies frequently used by the artist/designer. What were his/her color preferences, typical color schemes, typical traits of boldness and contrast. 

Narrow topic down: To keep your presentation well-focused, you might focus on one specific portion or stage of an artist’s work  (e.g. just Van Gogh’s self portraits, Monet’s water lilies)

Propose Topics of Interest: You will propose three possible topics by email and will get feedback on your topic from the instructor. After you've selected and focused your subject, the instructor will approve the topic.

Possible Topics

An Artist or a Designer

Fine Arts – Find a painter whose work impresses you with his/her use of color.  Select an artist who is genuinely a colorist (as opposed to a tonalist) — someone who intentionally and expressively exploits color's power to influence viewers. Take time to explore your favorites from Art History, your favorite contemporary artists and designers. Explore online sites and journals in the library to find designs and art that captivates your attention. Pick several examples (at least 6) of his/her work and discuss them.  You might study colorists in general – Albers, Monet, Seurat, etc... or expressionist color such as Van Gogh, Gauguin, Bonnard, Mattisse, etc. …or those few outstanding painters of flesh tones, such as Titian, Renoir, and Rubens.  You might consider the restored colors of Michelangelo’s Sistene Ceiling.  Read through the chapter on Color in Fine Art for ideas.
Your first job is to find someone that you respond to — then try to figure out what it is that you actually respond to.
Links to Explore:
Historical Artists
:   ArtCyclopedia(historical and modern fine artists) | ABCGallery(historical fine artists) |
Contemporary Artists:  Contemporary Painters(gallery) | WikiP(listing/links) | PBS(interviews/videos/articles) | Saatchi(gallery***) |
ArtRenewal (Contemp & historical realists) | |

Graphic Design/Interactive Media – First, find a designer, a design firm, or an historical style/period to study. 
Where do I find them? Explore designer's online portfolios, check Communications Arts or How magazines, etc. Look through your history of Graphic Design textbook.
Links to Explore:
Award Winners: American Design Awards (lists/links of monthly & annual winners) | HOWdesign | AIGA | DesignFirms | Dexigner (by specialty) |
Communication Arts (Interactive | Annuals (subscr. req'd))

Interior Design/Architecture – Find a designer, a design firm, or an historical style/period to study.  You might also present seasonal color preferences.  Find color photos of at least three projects representing the work of your designer/firm/style.  Review interior design periodicals and books for images of professional work.  (You may want to talk with Mrs. Cox/Dr. Wilhoit about good sources.) Web sites of design firms might be of help – search for links depicting finished projects. (I’ve not had a lot of luck finding design firm sites with portfolios – if you find some good sites, or a site with helpful links, let me know the address. ) Read through the chapter on Color in Applied Design for ideas.
Links to Explore: (2010 2009) Articles/Images BOY | iDesignAwards | GreatIndoors (2009 2007) |
Color Awards (2013) | Lighting Color | Delux Color Award |

Art Education/Art Therapy – You may use one of the options above, or you may….
Develop an instructional presentation or a therapeutic activity that emphasizes the use of color.  Select a particular audience/age for your presentation and a topic.  Discuss your ideas with the instructor.
You might present a therapeutic activity that involves the use of color. 

Narrowing it Down to a portion of an artist's body of work, or a period in an artist's life.
If the artist/designer you're interested in has explored color extensively or went through several distinct stages in his/her career, you should focus on one period or one type of work rather than trying to superficially cover their entire body of work.
Van Gogh and Monet are typical examples — they explored and exploited color in far too many ways to describe in an 8 minute presentation. So narrow it down.
You might explore Van Gogh's late Still Life paintings, or his self portraits, or his portraits, or his landscapes, or his early painting.
You might explore Monet's Rouen Cathedral series, or his Haystack series, or his House of Parliaments series. You can explore different time periods in his life. Explore his enormous water lily canvases. Explore Monet's gardens themselves — he composed color within the landscape of his home, gardens and ponds.

An historical period, movement or style
Be careful not to select too broad a topic. Every movement has its characteristic traits and issues. Some periods or styles use color in very distinctive and consistent ways.

Other color-related Topics:
This option is intentionally open-ended — feel free to brainstorm ideas, then propose topics to the professor. (propose...not declare)
What's been done?
An Interior Design student interested in Art Therapy presented color and design issues involved in creating spaces for children with autism.
Another student explored Synesthesia beyond the content covered in class.
Explore current trends in your field — what are today's color trends in Web design, or print design, industrial design, fashion design, residential Interiors, commercial Interiors, painting or sculpture?

Content to Present

Below is a brief outline of content to present in your presentation. Make sure you address each issue. However, make sure that you emphasize the artist-designer's color use — that is the real point of your presentation.


1) Brief background, biography or context of the artist/designer. (1-2 minutes)
Your presentation is *not* to be primarily a biography — so don't go into too much detail. Introduce us to the artist. Give us some idea when and where he/she worked. Tell us about any formative influences -- what motivated him/her to do the work that he/she creates? What interests captivate his/her attention?

2) Examples of Work
Show us enough examples that we can have a sense of what this artist is known for — what is typical of their mature work? You might want to show a lot of images quickly — that gives us many impressions. However, be sure to slow down and discuss at least 3 works in more detail. Give us time to look closely at these projects. Where possible and appropriate, show us several views of the works -- this is especially important for Interior projects or other 3D works.

3) Description/Analysis of Color Use
This is the real subject of your presentation.
Take time beforehand to explore enough works by the artist/designer that you can arrive at some conclusion regarding the typical or frequent strategies of color use. Discuss the characteristics of color used by this designer. 
Discuss the impact of color on the finished designs.

Are there particular colors that this artist returns to again and again?
Are there particular schemes that this artist uses often?
Are there kinds of contrast, chroma or other traits that distinguish this designer's form and color use? Are there clear dominating traits?
Just what characterizes this artist's style, signature or mark?
— What makes their work look like theirs, and theirs alone? Include at least three distinct traits of your artist's color use.
— provide color charts for at least 3 works (blank charts are provided in the sample PowerPoint file)
— provide color swatches/palettes for most works.

4) Brief Summary
Quickly review your main points, especially the color-use characteristics.

5) Take Questions
Ask if anyone has questions or comments about your artist/designer.


Method, Steps & Format

Find presentation-quality images of the art/designs:
Get scans or digital photos with good detail/focus and accurate color representing the work you discuss.  The more images the better!  We want to see what you’re talking about.

JPG images are generally best. Max size for Powerpoint — ~1000(v) x 1200(h) pixels will fill the full screen. Larger size images are basically wasted — the resolution of the monitor/projector is too low to project more detail. In general, if you've created a JPG file larger than 250kb, it probably bigger in size, and finer in detail, than is necessary.

Prepare a Powerpoint presentation with images of the artist/designer's work, textual introduction to the artist/designer and color samples and charts that analyze the color designs.

If you have no experience with PowerPoint speak with the instructor. The basics of PowerPoint are truly basic. As long as you have basic computer skills, you can learn the PowerPoint essentials in a short time. (Let's face it — Powerpoint is even easy enough for your teachers to use.)


Before you present...

File Formats

Confirm whether you will be presenting in class, or presenting online -- semester-specific requirements vary.


If Presenting In the Classroom directly (in person):
Be sure that you save your presentation in a file format that will run correctly on the computer that is in the classroom.

— There are now some online alternatives to Powerpoint. While I still prefer you to turn in your presentation via a Powerpoint file, there are these options, briefly reviewed here.

Google Docs | SlideRocket (used successfully for this assignment) | Prezi | Zoho |

— You can also prepare presentations in OpenOffice Impress.
Open Office is a freeware project that competes directly with Microsoft Office products. Its available for both Mac and Windows (and probably Linux).
Impress info and download
Impress Export/SaveAs to Powerpoint (.ppt) format

— If you're bringing a file to class, save your file as a Powerpoint .ppt file (this is a somewhat older file format)
OR as a PowerPoint .pptx file (this is the newest MS Powerpoint file format. )

— DO NOT bring an Apple KeyNote or OpenOffice Impress presentation.
The software needed to display these files is not installed in our classroom.
As far as I know, you can "Save As" or "Export" from either of these programs to create a PowerPoint .ppt version of your presentation.
Convert your presentation while working on your computer, before your presentation day— we cannot convert file formats in our classroom. Grade penalties will be assessed if this is not taken care of prior to class period on presentation day.

— DO NOT simply bring a folder full of .jpeg files. Organize your entire presentation in Powerpoint.

—If you have any questions about whether your presentation will display on the classroom computer, bring a sample file to class at least one class before you are to present. Stay after class and test the system — see if it works before presentation day.


Bring/Transfer your file to class

Plan to get your Powerpoint file to class by the most reliable means possible — bring it yourself on a USB memory key or on a CD. Be in the classroom about 10 minutes before the bell so we can transfer your file before class begins.

(Not ideal...but if you must...) You can also email it to the instructor — as long as a) he knows its coming and b) has time to transfer your file before class, and c) the file is not so huge that it chokes our email server. (there are attached-file-size limits. currently 5 mb.)


Font Incompatibility

Be aware that Powerpoint can only display fonts that are installed on the presenting computer.
What does that mean?

It means that you can create an absolutely gorgeous layout in Powerpoint using your favorite, most expressive and stylish font. But when you show your presentation in class, the fonts might be ugly and won't even fit on the page.
Because the computer in our classroom, does not (likely) have your fancy font installed. Thus, Powerpoint (in our classroom) can't find and display your beautiful, stylish font.

How can I work around that problem...
The simplest option is to use what are usually called "web-safe fonts". These are fonts that are typically installed on most computers — whether Mac or Windows.

But I really like my favorite font... what can I do?

Explore and use Powerpoint's Embed Font option, or Package for CD feature. (more Embed instructions) (more)


Keep it Simple

Narrow your topic down: Avoid topics that cannot realistically be covered during a short presentation.
For instance, "Impressionism" is far too vast for an 8 minute presentation. Premier colorist painters such as Monet and Van Gogh are too broad because they have such wide variety of color explorations during their careers. If you want to present such colorists, you'll need to narrow your topic down. Try Van Gogh's late landscapes or his early still lifes or his portraits — just don't try to cover it all!

Color Swatch your designer's palettes

Use Color Swatches to visually present palettes of colors used in the designs by the artist/designer you are presenting.

The newest version of PowerPoint no longer has the always handy "eyedropper" tool.

Which is a real pain for our purposes. However, there is a replacement.

a) Select the color swatch (square or other shape) that you want to color.

b) Open the "Fill" submenu (see below) using the down-arrow next to the Fill bucket icon/label ...

c) on "More Colors..."

d) When the Hue-Brightness-Value color picker opens... see below... on the Magnifying Glass icon near the upper left....

e) use the Magnifying Glass to find the color sample you want in the image you're presenting. When you've centered on the exact color you want, just Click!

That should do it! The selected shape (color swatch) should now be filled with the color that you clicked on.


If you're running Windows, this freeware utility may help:

other Windows options noted here...

Template File with Instructions, Color Wheels and Charts

The Powerpoint file, below, offers a handy starting point for your presentation. There are suggestions for content and graphics, a rough outline of content that should be addressed, there are some graphics (color wheels) that might be useful when preparing your presentation. If you like, you can use the file for your presentation, after deleting all of the unneeded content.

Powerpoint template with instructions, Color Wheels and Charts

(Mac—Option-click, select 'Save Link As..." )

(Win—right click)

Download this file to your computer. You do NOT have to use this template for the look/layout of your presentation — but you may.


FLWright Presentation

Glossary | Color Theory Assignments |


Greg Clayton
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