The Painter’s Palette, Part 2

I gave a lecture at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme, CT, on May 13, 2022. This video segment is Part 2 of my presentation. My focus for the lecture was the Color Palettes of Robert Henri. This lecture contained some of the elements from my October 2021 lecture at the Robert Henri Museum in Cozad, Nebraska. But because I was delivering this lecture to faculty and students who are artists and painters, I focused primarily on the practical aspects of Henri’s palette designs. I also discussed some palettes I did not get to at the Henri Conference 2021.

This part of the lecture covers more on the Triangular Palette, The 50% Intensity Palette, The Permanent Palette, and The Late Palettes of 1926-28.

Below are images and excerpts that appear in my lecture but were accidentally cut out during the recording.

The Permanent Palette 1922-E

Commentary on the Permanent Palette, 1922-E: Henri begins on the top line, with colors that contain earth pigments keeping the overall value and intensity reduced. Descending from this top line, he then increases the pigment strength as he raises the value. The colors of the highest Intensity lie in the mid-tone range. Those color notes in the higher value register produce a series of colors neutralized by the addition of white. Note the vertical sequence of neutrals in the far right column.

Robert Henri, “Bernadita,” 1922 using the Permanent Palette 1922-E. See above.

The Last Palette, “A Sequence of 5 Played Against the Complement”

Commentary: Here, you can see Henri working out which colors would appear on the palette if he mixed the B with the near complements of RO and OY. Quote, “This palette will result in RO color, O color, OY color, GB Bi, B color, BP Bi, and B hue.

Robert Henri, Circle Designs for “A Sequence of 5 Played against the Complement,” Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Commentary on the color swatches: Here is the schematic design of the palette listing the pigments Henri will use to create these mixes. Note Henri’s personal shorthand on this page. Henri lays out the palette with 37 flesh tones pre-mixed and set with swatches on this page.

Robert Henri, B-O Schematic Design of the palette with color swatches, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

The video ends abruptly—my last idea centers around the participation of the viewer. Quote, “The artist just leads them to the well, and the viewer then drinks from the well themselves. This type of painting stimulates engagement and brings about the renewal of both artist and viewer- each finding his own path.” The lecture concludes by focusing on color as language.

Although this video has several interruptions, I hope you may find some ideas that activate your painting practice.

The Painter’s Palette

On May 13th, I gave a lecture at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme CT. The focus of the talk was the Color Palettes of Robert Henri. This lecture contained some elements from my October lecture at the Robert Henri Museum in Cozad, Nebraska. But because I was delivering this lecture to faculty and students who are artists and painters, I focused much more on the practical aspects of Henri’s palette designs. I also touched upon some of the palettes I did not get to at the Robert Henri Conference 2021. The lecture was recorded by a Lyme Academy student, Bess Kelpin. I am very grateful for her assistance. Here is a selection from the lecture highlighting Chords, images from my personal Chord Chart, my version of the Ross Palette #4 and the Rubens Palette #10, my Spectrum Palette of H.G. Maratta, my version of the Intensity Palette Chart of 1919, and Henri’s Triangular Palette with the practical layout. I will release more excerpts from this lecture soon.

Below are images that appeared in my lecture but were accidentally cut out during the recording. The painting of “Nora,” 1913, was painted in the chord of RO-G-BP, O hue, GBB Bi, PR Bi, plus a third line of neutrals derived from the combination of Bi colors and Hues. I took these color notes of “Nora” by Henri directly from his “Paint Notebooks.”

Robert Henri, “Nora,” 1913 in the Chord of RO-G-BP. See above.

Here is an example of the Intensity Palette of Dec. 19, 1915, in the Key of OY, where Henri creates a hierarchy of intensity as expressed through the pyramidal shape of the palette. At the apex is OY placed at the highest intensity. The adjacent colors to OY descend in intensity on each side toward the P. The intensity falls again from the P to the neutralized Hues of R, Y, and B hue, with RO at the bottom appearing at the lowest intensity. This diagram should be inserted before the last video clip: “At the bottom right is the schematic diagram of the same palette…”

Robert Henri, Intensity Palette of Dec. 19, 1915, in the Key of OY, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

In the next blog, I will release more lecture excerpts, including the Triangular Palette, the Permanent Palette design, and others. I hope you find Henri’s investigations as inspiring as I have- Enjoy!