I first read about “transparency” in Rudolf Arnheim’s Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye (updated version, 1974) [pp.253 – 258]. I must have absorbed the basic idea, because I applied it without realising when I painted an octopus smoking a cigarette a few weeks ago.
Now I’ve encountered transparency again in Josef Alber’s Interaction of Colour (1963) [plates x-1 and xi-1 to xi-3]. Here’s one of the example images he provides.
Below is my loose experiment in the basic idea of transparency. At the bottom you can see a couple of fairly tidy experiments. The rest became a bit of a mess.
Albers mentions Paul Klee in his text, and I was sometimes reminded of Klee while I was working on the transparency experiments.The transparency effect using outlines filled with colour also reminds me of Rufino Tamayo’s Children Playing with Fire (below). For me, the flames in Tamayo’s painting almost appear to be lit from behind, like stained glass.