Monday, 19 November 2001
The Spanish king has long since gone back home, but his gift is still here in the Netherlands: the Picasso to Tápies exhibition (gemeentemuseum.nl/...tapies.htm) at the city Museum of the Hague (gemeentemuseum.nl/...).

A large number of masterpieces are on display in the natural light that streams in through the glass ceiling. It is a nifty mechanism. When the sun shines, the diaphragm closes somewhat. When it is overcast, it opens up completely. The lighting is so good the copy of the Guernica (pbs.org/.../guernica...) seems to give off a glow.

Another wing of the building is dedicated to Mondriaan. Somewhere in the back of my head I knew that they have an extensive collection of his work here, yet I unexpectedly enjoy his playful colours. His work has rhythm, style, feeling, mathematical precision, all rolled into one. The apparent chaos hides amazing order.

The Victory Boogie Woogie is an exceptional piece. Big squares and little squares, red, blue and yellow, all mixed up, yet rhythmically arranged. It is less rigid than his other works, as if the painter was still playing, looking for the perfect composition. What a boring piece it would have been if matching colours were grouped together, big squares in the middle, and small ones on the edges.

I'm still puzzling about the Victory Boogie Woogie on my way home.

  • Could an ordered version serve as a colour selection tool?
  • How do I squeeze a colour cube with three axes (red, green & blue) onto a flat surface?
  • How do I show many different nuances, yet retain the ability to quickly step through the colour spectrum?
  • How do I keep it visual? Recognition is easier than recall. Only a typical techie would type in a hexadecimal colour code. Normal people choose a colour first and worry about the hexadecimal colour code later.
colour matrix with 3 axes A day of playing with logarithmic scales, hexadecimal PHP functions and a bit of nifty CSS, and the Nutty Buggie Wuggie comes into view. It is a pretty colour range, exactly what I had in mind. The centre consists of big squares with shades, colours close to the chosen one. The edges show small squares with more distant colours.

The result is fascinating, a lot less boring than I anticipated. Victory! It invites one to play around with it, clicking from colour to colour. It is less rigid than other web pages, as if the web designer can play with it, looking for the perfect colour composition.

A click puts the chosen colour in the centre. A web designer can find the perfect colour with just 2 or 3 clicks, a very efficient way to choose from 16 million odd possibilities.

To my own surprise I see a kind of tilted square emerging in the centre. Hmm, I've underestimated the influence of Mondriaan.

Till next week,