No, this isn’t a post about 1970’s progressive rock (Although, that would be a great post).
Progs, or progressives, is a term that refers to a series of proofs showing the density of color on the different plates used in four-color printing. Those four colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – CMYK (Why is a K used for black? The K stands for key. The three color plates are keyed, or aligned, with the black plate. A full description is here).
When I paint, I paint with the full range of colors available. It is then up to the separator to break the painting down into four colors. This is done with either cameras and filters or laser scanners.
Below is a (partial) page from my book, Free Fall. This first image has all four colors. You can tell how many colors have been used by looking at the lower right hand corner of the proof. There are small squares along the edge, each in a different color, with the corresponding letters Y, M, C, K:
Next is a proof with just Y, M, C. It doesn’t look much different:
The next proof has just M and C:
Here are the individual four colors:
Hard to believe that those intense images will come together to create this: