The sketches themselves were the first ever done in oils directly from the subject in the open air. To convey the effects of light and movement, Constable used broken brushstrokes, often in small touches, which he scumbled over lighter passages, creating an impression of sparkling light enveloping the entire landscape. One of the most expressionistic and powerful of all his studies is Seascape Study with Rain Cloud, painted about 1824 at Brighton, which captures with slashing dark brushstrokes the immediacy of an exploding cumulus shower at sea.
Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as the painter of light and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism. Some of his works are cited as examples of abstract art prior to its recognition in the early twentieth century.
"I can paint the most beautiful flesh color with mud from the street provided I am allowed to adjust all the colors around it."
"Called by critics a 'color theorist,' 'communications expert,' and 'The Wizard of Op'" The Park Forest Star, May 11, 1969 Hal became the first artist to successfully paint with the concept of color as light energy. His hard-edge geometric artwork is aesthetically appealing and demonstrates and corrects many color principles. Hal hoped to provide a road-map from which future artists can master the visual language.
History of Color
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries artists understood the importance of colored light, but they had yet to apply this knowledge to observation of visual phenomena within their painting. As many artists do today, they based their color harmonies on the single color of the main illumination. Local colors were suggested through diverse variations of the main color. Brilliant local color was suggested through relationship with less brilliant color and through juxtaposition of subdued compliments. Color theories were based on the behavior of the mixture of pigments and dyes.
The outdoor colors of white in shade and shadow were a warm gray-brown, not the subdued cool blue-blue-green of the north sky that occurs as a result of cross-polarization. Color theories during this time were based on the behavior of pigments, not human optics. The emotionally expressive power of color was ignored, and the true nature of color and human optics was not fully understood. To achieve dramatic expression artists relied upon striking contrasts of dark and light colors, bright and dull colors, and chiaroscuro effects.

In the early nineteenth century artists began developing a better understanding of how we see color and colored light so they could apply that knowledge to fine art painting and aesthetics. Three prominent artists broke with the long established studio tradition of starting with a toned ground or a brown or grisaille under-painting as they began to look more closely and directly at nature.
da Vinci and Newton ... Turner, Constable and Delacroix ... Impressionists and Post-Impressionists ... Op, Albers and Onward

1950 - 2014 all rights reserved Jonathan Rogoff
"The artist never hid his fascination for destruction and violence and brought them to life through virtuous colors. He is still admired for his bold, technical innovations."

William Turner (1775-1851) desired to more accurately paint the effects of light and atmosphere. He used vibrant color effects in portraying sunsets, mist in landscape, and marine scenes. Turner attempted to use paint quality and light to evoke intense emotional response to his subject rather than just illustrate its story. Paint quality refers to the aesthetically expressive characteristics of how the paint is applied. Appropriate paint quality is essential in fine art painting. The lack of appropriate paint quality in fine art is more distressing than listening to someone trying to speak a language without knowledge of its grammar or vocabulary.

John Constable, (1776-1837), a contemporary of Turner, was also interested in the effects of light and color. He too studied nature directly and introduced broken color effects. He created broken color by using a palette knife to place a select variety of small bits of color together in such a way that the viewer's eye mixes the different colors together to see the illusion of more brilliant, livelier color.
Eugene Delacroix, (1798-1863), admired and emulated Constable's use of broken color. He also painted vibrant color effects using small strokes of contrasting colors. This technique, as well as Turner's way of painting and defusing light, later strongly influenced the Impressionists when they searched for a better way to apply their colors to portray the effects of light. Delacroix explained the manner in which colors are modified by their juxtaposition to one another. {From: Page 63 of Rogoff's masters thesis.} He was so good at color manipulation that he wrote in his journal, "I can paint the most beautiful flesh color with mud from the street provided I am allowed to adjust all the colors around it." He had to really understand color to do this. This level of skill is remarkable for his time, but it is not difficult to do when you understand the dynamics of how we see color. It is exciting to imagine what he might have painted had he not been bound by the representational painting paradigm of that day.
Liberty leading the People
Eugene Delacroix