Henri van Bentum

Circle Magique

Ottawa 1978
acrylic on canvas

Discover the Magical World of Colour


What was named first the flower violet or the colour violet? The fruit orange or the colour orange?

Colour can whisper or shout, be near or far, relaxing or activating, joyful or sad, warm or cool, light or heavy, soft or hard, passive or active. Colour is part of everything we see, from bright spring blossoms, autumn foliage and blue skies, to turquoise lagoons or violet shadows in the snow.

We witness colour in abundance in sports, expose ourselves to it daily in our homes or offices, and literally surround ourselves in colour by the clothes we wear.

If I say "she was wearing a green dress" -- which green? "He was wearing a red sweater." Which red? colour cannot be imagined; it has to be seen. It is an eyes-on phenomena, and if you wish to work with it, then colour is a hand, heart and eyes involvement. Colour is a very personal thing.

We communicate knowingly or, more often than not, unknowingly, by our choice of colour. Colour is a radiant energy which affects us all, and is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied phenomena of our daily lives. What is a Tint, a Shade, a Tone, a Hue.

During these workshops, as in any other field of study or exploration, we begin with the basic laws and fundamental properties of our subject.

The workshops are held in Victoria. Each participant if they so desire is given a professional colour test. Although theory is important, the focus is on practice. In order to learn anything about colour we have to work with it, explore and do experiments.

In beginning our practice, it is important to be aware of using a minimum of materials. If you start off with a box of twelve or more ready-packaged colours, you will never learn the far greater challenge and experience the joy of discovering your own variations of colour by working with the three primaries: Red, Yellow and Blue, both cool and warm.

Out of respect for our planet, these workshops also place emphasis on conserving resources in order to achieve maximum results with the minimum use of materials.

It erroneous that only interior designers, chemists, artists and textile designers need to know about colour. Colour is very personal and can have an impact on our lives. Colour is there for all to see, study, explore, apply, feel and enjoy.