Series - 2014: Colour Relationship
I have executed this series of works entitled ‘Kleurverhouding', or
‘Colour Relationship', by hand for the first time in over fifty years.
Each work consists of two 60 x 60 cm canvases painted with acrylic paint which
in some cases is applied in up to ten layers to create an entirely uniform
surface. On one canvas, the six colours are divided over a grid of 36 squares.
This division derives from following clear rules that aim to distribute the
colours equally, and preclude the formation of shapes that arises when two
same-colour squares are positioned side by side. Each colour occurs with equal
frequency and adjoins each of the other five colours with equal frequency.
On the other canvas, the same six colours are distributed over a grid of 25
squares, this time in unequal numbers, and positioned at random. Squares of
the same colour may be placed edge to edge to allow the creation of different
shapes such as angled forms and elongated rectangles. Figuration accentuates
individual colours, yet that appears to have no effect on the visual impression
of the reciprocal relationships: both paintings provide the same colour
impression. Clearly, the composition as a whole depends more on the
relationships between colours than the individual colours, despite their
differing quantities and figurative effects.
Colours and relationships
The six hues that are used – yellow, yellow green, blue green, blue,
violet and red – are spaced at equal distances on a colour wheel. As a
result, the difference between yellow and yellow green is visually akin to the
difference between blue and violet or between red and yellow. An equal division
of the colour wheel yields the greatest possible difference in hue.
Cohesion between the colours is created by a careful balance of their three
qualities: the aforementioned hue, the aspect that hence determines the naming
of a colour, the lightness and the saturation. Lightness relates to the
lightness or darkness of colours; saturation to the strength or weakness of
colours. This creates a characteristic colour palette that can be combined in
an unlimited number of variations.
The fine tuning of light/dark and of strong/weak has a greater impact on the
result than the choice of hues. To demonstrate this, the hues in each work in
the series are the same; in each pair of paintings, only the lightness and
I chose simple relationships for those differences, based upon which the
colours were mixed by eye.
The placement of the colours
The six colours on the canvases with a grid of 36 squares were organized
according to a computer programme written by the engineer D. Dekkers. 36 is
the lowest number that allows all six colours to occur individually and in
equal number, and appear beside each other with equal frequency. specifically
wanted to distribute the colours equally over the squares, so that each
appears with the same regularity, is placed next to the other five colours
with the same regularity, and squares of the same hue are never side by side
nor touching a corner of the same colour. This produced a vast number of
different alternatives, but also generated figurations resulting from
repetitions, symmetries, rotations and ‘knight's moves' that disrupted
a visually uniform distribution. Filtering out these figurations resulted in
only one usable option. And this was consistently applied in the first canvas
of each duo in the series.
The number of 25 squares for the other canvas ensures a highly diverse colour
placement. In each canvas, the colours that are distributed over 1, 2, 3, 5,
6, 8 (= 25) squares, and their position on the grid, is determined at random.
Shapes are created when squares of the same hue are placed side by side. There
are billions of possible results, and all are appropriate. Figuration has the
effect of lending colours a decorative aspect, of intensifying their effect yet
has little fundamental impact on their relationships which is what defines the
visual impression of the whole.
The two canvases need not be hung next to each other; they can also be
installed in separate spaces. This heightens the experience of the difference,
and simultaneously the recognition of the identical colour relationships all