Light, Color & Code: An Homage to Mary Buckley

During my foundation year at Pratt Institute, Mrs. Mary Buckley (Mary Buckley Parriot) taught me how to look at light, color and the relationships between the two. Our first assignment was to share previous work. She told me that my paintings reminded her of Edward Hopper and Romare Bearden. Hopper used light to create atmosphere: mysterious, strange and ghostly. His use of color was both gentle and bold (a lot of blues, greens, and reds). You can see his influence in many of my algorithmic images.

Bearden made music with his art; arranging form and color, taking cues from musical concepts such as rhythm, repetition, and improvisation. In jazz, solo musicians improvise by repeating a series of chords or notes with their own variations. This is sometimes referred to as “riffing” on a theme. Artists must practice for years and develop great skills to improvise successfully. Mrs. Buckley introduced me to color theory through Josef Albers. Like Albers, Bearden used colored paper to create collages.

I think of Mrs. Buckley often and continue to remember her as I notice the golden light scattered around my images, or juxtaposed with complimentary hues such as blue and orange. I continue to remind myself to pay attention and truly look at light and color, especially when creating custom image styles for use in my work. Improvisation is embedded in the process as well: working with the machine to riff on themes (ex. the “gilded” series).

Studying with Buckley taught me to see every color in relationship other colors. Two or more colors combined have a profound effect on one another. I can predict how a color will be influenced by its surroundings. The machine does the rest.

Also, it’s fun!



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Nettrice Gaskins

Nettrice Gaskins

Nettrice is a digital artist, academic, cultural critic and advocate of STEAM education.