Monday, December 13, 2010

New flyer, class schedule and more..

Here's the new flyer for the color class and please note the change from January to February!

As always, feel free to ask us any questions you may have!

In addition for those who are interested in signing up, there is a deposit of $100 will be needed to hold you a spot in the class, the remainder being due upon the first day. If for some reason you need to cancel, the deposit will be refunded up until one week prior to the beginning of the class. Should the class itself, for some reason, need to be cancelled, all monies shall be refunded.

Again, contact us for payment at!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why take a color class?

We've been asked this question lately, a lot. There is a lot of confusion about what the color class is really about and if it's really necessary and so we wanted to clear that up!

First off, there are a lot of color classes available to artists/art students. Some are taught by really good(and sometimes famous) artists. But without doubt, most of these classes are actually color DESIGN classes which talk about light source, color schemes and mood through color.The problem with these classes is that they presume you already have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of color and we meet a lot of people that come away from such classes/workshops without a better grasp of color. You see color design is not actually a foundational understanding of color.
So how do you know if you have a fundamental grasp of color and if a color design class is worth your money/time?
Well, if you know the following facts and can answer the following questions easily you might actually get something from one of those typical color classes. If not, then that's why we have our color anatomy class...

- Light source color is not always important. Why?

- There are no primary colors. This is very important to know why not and how that affects color design too.

- When do you use black? Is it good or bad?

- Why are there different color wheels? What is the purpose of a color wheel?

- How do we see color?

- What is chroma-value and why is it so important?

- How do I choose a palette of colors? When do I use earthtones?

- What are flesh-tones? Why is the Zorn palette so good for flesh-tones?

- If computers use additive color why use a subtractive color wheel when you paint digitally? It's illogical.

-Can I substitute this expensive color with this cheaper one?

- How do I mix colors effectively?

- Ultramarine blue is not a middle blue.

- What colors are shadows?

- And so on...

So how did you do? Well, there are so many questions that people have that go unanswered when they attend those other color classes and they keep taking them in the hopes that somehow if they just figure out what color scheme to use then they'll be a great artist. What they really needed is a class that empowers them with factual, non-bias information. And that's what we supply :)

Feel free to ask us questions to see if you'd benefit from our classes

Quentin and Tony

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's all about value..(well, actually..)

If you've spent any amount of time listening to art teachers, you've probably heard the saying
"It's all about value." And I cringe every time I hear it because it's often used without context. Is value important? Of course, but the issue is much more complex. If a painting is based on value as the prime directive then color is subject to the value choices. However, if a painting has color as the primary directive then values are selected for the color. Take, for example, the above Monet painting (pardon the poor imagery). The color version is the original. If by simply removing the color from that painting we are left with the image at top left. There are obviously different values but the overall effect is lacking as a B/W picture compared to the original . To remedy this we have to adjust the values to make for better contrast and effect . The result is the bottom left picture. Now, look back at the color version and you will probably notice that it feels as if it is actually more like the bottom black/white picture in terms of contrast (especially with the original). Why? Because Monet made color the prime directive in this picture and the values are incidental to the color choices.
This is just to show that while value is clearly important (especially in drawing) it's not always the one pulling the reins...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

High Key Color Weaving

I didn't take this to its final conclusion as I didn't have enough time..However, regardless of that this is a 4 color(all strong high chroma) plus white study where colors are mixed on the canvas only. It is a weaving of colors popular in some schools of painting. As far as color goes, there are limitations of certain ranges of low-key colors. This could be altered with the addition of other paints. This method allows for great control while maintaining high level of color movement.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Thanks to to all those who made it to the lecture this past Friday at Richard Morris' studio ( who graciously let us have it there- big thanks to him). We hope we gave you a glimpse of what color anatomy is all about and how it fits into the big picture. We'll keep you posted on when we have the next class up and running. Thanks again!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Block color study

Block studies are a great way to study color effects. This is a wet-on-wet pointillist color study in warm light.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Class in San Diego

Hey folks,

Just wanted to let you know I'm scheduled to teach at the Rushing Academy of Art (, so for all those who don't want to travel to LA... Check their website for the upcoming details. It's also likely that I'll be hosting a short workshop for those who can't commit to a class just yet or are merely curious as to what it's all about.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The reasons for this blog...the big picture of color theory.

We've been asked to clarify some facts about the color theory class and our reasons for teaching it.
When we took color theory class from other teachers we were left with many unanswered questions which unfortunately weren't really addressed despite our repeated attempts. This and the sheer number of students who had taken the class for the fourth or fifth time, made us question the sanity of that teaching method.
A lot of the problem with color theory as it is currently taught is that it revolves around old, outdated theories. Sometimes teachers will tell you their color theory is correct because they paint well. Unfortunately, just because they paint well does not mean they can answer your questions satisfactorily. Many design decisions have been made in a good painting (which requires the knowledge of color upon which decisions are made on a case by case basis) and this is color design. Color design is, however, only one part of color theory but for some reason the most talked about. This has to change. Artists have to be empowered, not with a system of design but with a knowledge base of concepts upon which they use to design. Basic color theory is more important than design because color design is BASED on basic color theory.

The questions we had a few years ago are the same kinds of questions students are having today and it's disappointing to see this unnecessary struggle continue:
- do I really need all those expensive colors on my palette?
-can I substitute that color with this one? do I really need that specific paint?
- what's the deal with phthalo colors?
- if digital painting works on the additive system of light, why am I using an RYB color wheel based on subtractive mixing of paint when I paint in Photoshop? (it's illogical)
- Why do some painters use so many paints and others so relatively few?
-Why is a Zorn palette so good for fleshtones?
-What is Munsell? What is the best way to understand color?
-On what basis do I select paints?
-Where does the color wheel come from? Do I need it? How come some are different?

and so much more...

It is our goal to communicate the big concepts about color in such a way that you will be empowered not dependent. You will understand the bigger picture and be able to apply these concepts to all types of art. It's not a technique, it's not outdated information, it's solid (scientific, if you will) information about how we see color, how we use it etc.. and it provides a perfect foundation for further learning regardless of the type of art you wish to do or other teachers you have. And you won't have to attend a class 4 times either...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Class schedule!

Hey folks,

We'll be teaching the color theory stuff in a class format up in LA, April 13 - June 8 (Tuesday 7- 10pm - price $325). Our friend, phenomenal draftsman and teacher to boot, Rick Morris ( has graciously provided us with a teaching location for this class at his studio :

15414 Cabrito Road,
VanNuys, CA 91406

Contact Tony Hsu at 949 331 5318 or email

The class is structured around visual color theory or better yet "color anatomy" and is aimed at clarifying and cleaning up a lot of the confusion that is too often taught as color theory in most places.

Contact us with any questions. Hope to see you there!