Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old & New Technology: Color Charts on the iPhone

Posted by Maggie

As followers of this blog may recall, while I'm primarily a pastel artist, I have been working in oils again, off and on, for a couple of years. I'm quite enjoying them, and feel I'm making progress in becoming reacquainted with the medium after years away from it.

I'm going to be working with a limited palette while away on a plein air painting trip in the near future. To refresh my memory, and clarify my understanding of how these selected colors interact, I spent some time making color charts. It's a tedious, but pleasurable, task, and I always enjoy seeing the surprises when two colors combine to make a new color that's not quite what I expected.

Once this task was done, I began thinking about how to use them. I'd like them close at hand when I'm painting outdoors, but at the same time, I want to keep my set-up as small and lightweight as possible. And I had a momentary vision of trying to flip through the color chart with one hand while mixing colors with the other, no doubt in a high wind.

I needed some way to make the charts smaller and easier to access. (Click! Light bulb overhead!)  I decided to see if they'd work on my iPhone.

Yesterday, I tested the idea. I photographed one chart, resized the image in Photoshop, and then loaded it onto the phone. Amazingly, it worked quite well. The colors are pretty accurate (okay, not 100%, but certainly in the 90s), and when I enlarged the images on the screen of the iPhone, I could even see the grain of the canvas.

Today, I set up better lighting and photographed all the charts. It took about half an hour to photograph them, download to the computer, resize them, and then load them onto the iPhone. They look great! I can flip through them easily, find the color I am looking for, and enlarge to see the handwritten notes as to the colors used.

I still might put the originals in my bag, but I bet I won't use them.