Visual Dictionary of Colour


f 11

Josef Albers – Variant (Orange Front) 1948 – 1958

Lecturer: David Briggs

Venue: Building 26.3 @ NAS

This is your opportunity to creatively explore fundamental concepts of traditional and modern colour theory using drawn, painted and digital illustrations, photographs, videos, interactive demonstrations, and three-dimensional models and installations.

A series of theory sessions with practical exercises early in the week will introduce you to the most important concepts of colour theory for artists. Then it’s over to you to play with these concepts in the formats of your choice as you develop your own interests (suggestions will be available to get you started if you are stuck!).

Each student should bring a pen and notebook for the theory sessions and suitable materials  in one or more of the following categories:

  • drawing materials such as pencils/ pastels/ coloured inks etc.,
  • gouache/ watercolour/ acrylic paints and brushes, supports etc.,
  • digital camera plus laptop with Photoshop or similar program,
  • materials and tools for making 3D models or installations.

For an introduction to some of the concepts we will be covering you might like to dip into a few pages from David’s website, The Dimensions of Colour, for example this one:


James Turrell Double Vision (2013)Photo: Ekebergparken / © Florian Holzherr

Dr David Briggs:

Dr David Briggs is a painter and author of The Dimensions of Colour website and publications including a chapter for the Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Colour (in press). At NAS he has taught the AHT elective Theories of Colour and Public Programs courses in colour, painting and life drawing.


The Dimensions of Colour



PAINTED ILLUSTRATION (gouache): Hermann Grid, student work, NAS Art History and Theory elective Theories of Colour (2010).


PAINTED ILLUSTRATION (oil): Shading series, student work, Colour Light and Vision workshop (2014)


DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION: Simultaneous contrast, David Briggs, Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Colour (in press)


PHOTOGRAPH + PHOTOSHOP: Zones of light, David Briggs, Colour elective (UNSW, 2016)


INTERACTIVE DEMONSTRATION (digital version of a demonstration using coloured papers by Josef Albers): Simultaneous contrast,


3D MODEL: Munsell colour space, student project, Vitruvian Fine Art Studio, Chicago.

Click here to see original Munsell project



Yam leaves, Jeannie Petyarre


Olafur Eliasson, Colour Experiment no 78


Olafur Eliasson