The Great Wave Color Palette
After years of admiring the The Great Wave Off Kanagawa print by the legendary Japanese artist, Hokusai, I realize the colors are just as dramatic as the composition. So I decided to extract a few hues and create a color palette based on the main elements of the design.
I chose colors from the boats, the sky and, of course, the waves.
- #c1a06e – dark tan
- #d9d1ba – light tan
- #82b0b2 – light blue
- #346b84 – medium blue
- #1a3657 – dark blue
As with all my color palettes you can find this one on ColorLovers.com.
I’ve also made some Great Wave products on Etsy that you can buy.
Haunted by a legend
The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Hokusai is probably my favorite piece of fine art. I caught glimpses of it growing up in American culture, but didn’t know anything about the work until I studied it in art school.
Turns out the iconic scene is actually a woodblock print and not a painting, and it’s part of a series based on that little mountain you can see in the background. For some reason I fell in love with the piece in college when I found a huge poster print version for sale on a table piled with other pop art and cultural icons. From then on, the famous painting followed my through life:
- I proudly displayed it in my room during college.
- Then I hung it over my desk when I got an office job.
- At one point, the image was my desktop background.
- A coworker and good friend bought me a sketchbook with the painting printed on the front.
- After getting married I brought it home and managed to hang it over our bed… briefly. Something about the imminent death of those sailors didn’t sit well with the wife as a pre-bedtime meditation.
- For a long time the historic image sulked in my closet. Nevertheless, it lived on as my desktop background.
- Eventually, I sold my old poster at a garage sale while raising funds to start a business. As the buyer walked away i thought, “Someday we’ll meet again Hokusai.”
- Years later, after that business was sold, my kids bought me a Great Wave tapestry with the famous painting printed on it. Reunited at last!