Saturday, 9 October 2010

Colour charts

I've been collecting colour charts for a long time. I think my pleasure in little blocks of colour dates back to when I was a little girl and would sneak as many paint sample cards as I dared from the DIY shop. I was always very absorbed by colour and it seemed amazing that such subtle differences in shades could be achieved. I loved the names they gave the shades too. If only my Caran d'Ache felt tips (bought from the Grattan catalogue and paid for in instalments out of my pocket money) had such beautiful colours.
     Here are some of my charts on the wall:

And a couple more:

They're so pretty! Many artists are concerned with colour, it goes without saying. Some are more entranced by pure colour than others. One of the reasons I love Gerhard Richter is his (periodic) obsession with colour:

Gerhard Richter, Ten Large Color Panels, from
This series of paintings by Richter featured in Color Chart, an exhibition curated by MOMA in New York but which came to Tate Liverpool last year. It was fantastic. You can still look at the brilliant website.
     My other favourite work from this exhibition was this painting by Jim Dine:

Jim Dine's The Studio, 1963
There is something quintessentially Sixties about that beautiful, muted palette.
     Lately I've been buying car paint colour charts as they have the same period feel, and also there's a lovely gloss to the samples:

Buick 1954 colours
Oldsmobile 1968
American Motors 1974

Reliant Robin 1979
Renault, date unknown
As the years pass, it seems the colours become stronger and perhaps more agressive. It's funny how silver has become such a dominant car colour now, perhaps because it suggests 'metal' more than anything else.


menopausalmusing said...

There IS something very wantable about colour charts, isn't there? Something delicious. I am rather envious of that second one down of your photos. Such vibrant colours.

k said...

Excellent!!! Love color charts!

Kitsch and Curious said...

Interesting that colour charts can depict an era so well. As you say, some palettes are just very 1960s or 1970s. Why were yellow cars cool in the 1970s, and are now unacceptable? Or avocado baths, for that matter?

I have many paint cards in my drawer, waiting for a 'project'...