I have been reading ‘Bauhaus Weimar: Designs for the Future’ edited by Michael Siebenbrodt (Hatje Cantz Publishers, 2000), learning more about the teaching techniques and ethos of the Bauhaus school of art. Amongst others, Klee, Kandinsky and Itten taught the basics of mark making, colour theory and design, followed by workshops in architecture, weaving, bookbinding, ceramics, sculpture, theatre production and dance. I have been looking particularly at Klee’s colour theory and Itten’s textural studies in mark making, rhythms in line and principles of design. The main thing that I have taken from it for this project is that areas of interest in a composition usually involve high contrast, and that contrast need not just be tonal, but also in colour, shapes and quality of line. In Klee’s students work contrast is created by juxtaposing the three primary colours, with more muted hues used in other areas. Effective use of contrast in composition is well illustrated by this colour study ‘Ancient Harmony, 1925 (no 236)’ by Klee.

Reproduced courtesy of Bridgeman Education

I thought I would look at tonal contrast by redrawing one of my watercolour and ink sketches in graphite on A3 paper.

I have used repeated shapes and similar rhythms in the lines throughout the composition to hold it together. Using a combination of building and blending layers of graphite and erasing lines I have created varying levels of contrast throughout. I think the result is very satisfying and it would be interesting to develop it further by creating a colour version.


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