“Even the pastries were intensely colorful,” says Prof. Jada Schumacher, “so were the window displays, stain glass lettering, cobblestones, oysters next to lemons and limes, the fabric and grosgrain ribbons, clothing in the Marais district, the flowers and leaf colors.”
They are just a few vibrant details from A Color Voyage study abroad class in Paris and the South of France, where students become immersed in color, its creative legacy, historical and contemporary applications.
“Students cross-pollinate and share ideas about color and light from different fields of study,” says Communication Design Pathways professor Jada Schumacher who designed the course, which is open to students college-wide.
A visit to Monet’s water lily gardens at Giverny made for stunning vistas.
“Students love that they’ve seen these paintings so many times but hadn’t understood the cropping and scales. You see that it’s the only way possible to frame a painting in this space because it’s so full and lush and overgrown.”
Monet’s predilections make more sense. “He had the garden staff wipe off the leaves so that they reflected light well when he painted,” says Prof. Schumacher.
Students toured the Gobelins Factory, the still-functioning French national tapestry factory from 17th century.
“Michel Eugène Chevreul, a color theorist and chemist from the early 1800s worked at the Factory. He coined the term “simultaneous contrast,” a basic term in color theory. “It refers to how colors are perceived differently when they are next to each other, which create challenges for artists and designers, and merchandisers,” says Prof. Schumacher.
Students were “dazzled” inside the former limestone quarries, which are now light projection spaces at Carrières de Lumières (quarries of light).
“Motifs from 1960s pop and classical paintings provide a wrap-around experience to the space. Along with the power of music it provides an immersive experience,” says Prof. Schumacher.
The Museum at FIT has incorporated Prof. Schumacher’s students’ work into the current Museum’s current exhibition “Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color.”
“In France students used images and online resources in researching topics related to the exhibition. Then they explored the cities, going on pink photography expeditions to hunt and capture images that reveal interesting, intentional, and notable uses of the color pink,” says Prof. Schumacher.
“It was an incredible color adventure!” she says.
For more information about upcoming study abroad programs, please go to Study Abroad FIT
To see more of Prof. Jada Schumacher’s work visit her website: DesignOrange and Instagram account @design_orange.
Photos: Jada Schumacher