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COLOR PART I Color Perception.  .contents- On the Palette: context and perception – In The Tube: characteristics of pigment- On Opposite Sides: Theory  …ON THE PALETTE: CONTEXT AND PERCEPTIONA color on the palette often looks different once it is put into a painting. Context can change everything. .The color of the palette itself affects our perception of the colors on it, just as the environment of the painting influences our understanding of each color in it. Regular testing of colors during the process of building a picture is therefore frequently required. A simple method is to stroke a small daub of mixed color onto the picture for evaluation. If the hue is unsatisfactory, the mixture is modified and tested again. (Watercolor painters test on a scrap of watercolor paper.)   ABOUT THE COLORSColors in the illustrations are approximations and may differ from the colors of actual artists’ paints.. .IN THE TUBE: CHARACTERISTICS OF PIGMENTSOne of the keys to skillful color mixing is intimate knowledge of ones’ pigments and how one color acts upon others in mixtures. For instance, a touch of Alizarin Crimson added to an orange makes the orange a little redder as well as slightly cooler. Specific pigments and their qualities are detailed in the Artists’ Pigments section. For now, we will look at characteristics that are inherent in all artists’ colors..hueAll colors have a hue, such as blue, green, or red-orange. When added to another color, a hue makes that other color more like the hue. Red, for example, when combined with yellow paint, makes the yellow appear redder..A color is either warmer or cooler than other colors, as suggested by the color wheel below. In general, yellow, orange, and red are considered to be warm. Green, blue, and violet are thought of as cool colors. Violet or blue-violet is said to be the coldest of colors, and the nearer to violet a color is located on the color wheel, the cooler it is. With yellow as the warmest color, hues closer to yellow on the color wheel are warmer than those at a distance from yellow. It is also possible to have warmer and cooler versions of a color. Fire-engine Cadmium Red seems warm next to Alizarin Crimson (a violet-red), or cool when adjacent to the somewhat orange tone of Cadmium Scarlet. Whether we think of a particular color as being warm or cool depends on what other colors are nearby…Black and white are special cases. Black is the coldest of all colors, and most white paints are cool (slightly bluish)…. .  value Value refers to how dark or pale a color is. (See below for value ratings of some common artists’ colors.) Every color has a value and, like temperature, value is relative. A color is dark or pale as compared to some other color. Adding a darker color to a mixture darkens the mixture, and a pale color lightens it, as illustrated. (In watercolor, paleness is usually achieved by adding more water to the paint or putting it down in a thinner layer. Heaping up yellow paint on the paper in hopes of making it appear brighter or more like light, for instance, only ends up making it appear dense and dark; a thin wash is always more effective.)   NOTE: Relative Values of Selected Artists’ Colors Colors are rated from 1 (palest) to 10 (darkest) and exclude black and white pigments2 – Cadmium yellow light or pale 3 – Cadmium yellow medium, cadmium yellow deep 5 – Cadmium orange, Raw sienna 6 – Cadmium red light or pale, Cadmium red medium 7 – Cerulean blue, Cobalt blue 8 – Cadmium red deep, Alizarin crimson, French ultramarine blue, Cobalt green, Burnt sienna 9 – Quinacridone violet, Sap green, Raw umber 10 – Prussian blue, Phthalocyanine (Thalo) blue, Viridian, Burnt umber  chroma Colors possess chroma. A high-chroma color is one that is brilliant and pure, such as Cadmium Yellow. Low chroma colors are dull and neutral. Yellow Ochre, for instance, is lower in chroma, or duller than Cadmium Yellow. Colors of very low chroma are grayish, such as the example on the right in the diagram, and can be made by mixing together two complementary colors (colors opposite one another on the color wheel). Whenever two or more colors are combined, the result is always duller than any of the original colors alone. Mixing colors together can never make them brighter, only duller or lower in chroma.    . opacity/transparency Oil paints are either opaque, fully transparent, or somewhere between. Acrylic paints are all translucent to some degree, although some are less so than others. When applied in typically thin washes, watercolors are always transparent. .The more opaque a color is, the better it is at hiding what lies beneath it. Titanium White and cadmium colors are highly opaque and have excellent covering power, as can be seen in the illustration. Transparent colors, like Transparent Red Oxide, simply tint an underlying drawing or painting without diminishing its structure or detail. The effect is a bit like laying a sheet of colored celophane over the picture. When an opaque color is mixed into a transparent one, neither color retains its original qualities fully. Instead, a color that is semi-opaque is produced.   .How a color is used also makes a difference. When applied in a thin layer, even a highly opaque color like Cadmium Red cannot completely hide what is beneath it. Many transparent colors, if laid on heavily enough, can act like a semi-opaque or even fully opaque color. Notice that the thick coating of Red Oxide in the picture below obscures the painting under it to some degree, as compared to the thin glaze shown in the illustration above.     .IN THE BOOKSA partner to effective color mixing is familiarity with color theory. To mix the right color, we need to know what the right color is and the effect it will have upon the picture. In order to do that, we need to know how one color will look in the company of others. .Color theory is an involved topic, and is discussed only briefly here. For an in-depth treatment, refer to a good text such as one of these: .The Enjoyment and Use of Color, Walter Sargent, Dover PublicationsInteraction of Color, Josef Albers, Yale University PressColor Choices: making sense out of color theory, Stephen Quiller, Watson-GuptillColor Theory, Jose M. Parramon, Watson-Guptill.  .ON OPPOSITE SIDES: THEORYNearly all of color theory can be reduced to the simple idea of contrasts between extremes, or opposites. Dark versus pale, brilliant as opposed to dull, warm instead of cool. I call this approach to color the “Theory of Opposites.” The overview that follows provides all the basic information any student of painting needs in order to use color competently. chroma The most brilliant colors are those that come directly from the tube, but even a tube color can be made to look more brilliant through a change in context. A dull color placed next to a bright one makes the bright color look more brilliant yet. The reverse is also true: vibrant hues near dull colors make the dull ones seem still duller. Surrounded by Raw Umber on the left in the diagram, Burnt Sienna looks fiery and intense. Enased by brilliant Cadmium Red on the right, it appears restrained and dull. To increase the clarity of brilliant hues like Cadmium Red, place duller colors such as Burnt Sienna or a grayish mixture nearby. …  .complementsComplementary colors, those opposite one another on the color wheel, increase one another’s intensity when placed side by side. For instance, in the illustration red appears strongest when next to green, while the red square inside the box of Burnt Sienna merely looks like a darker Sienna. Violet is a distinctly different color from red, so the red square remains clearly visible. However, since violet contains red (it is a mix of red and blue), the red box surrounded by violet is not nearly so profound as the red-plus-green combination.  . When mixed together, colors that are complements, like the red and green pair shown here, produce dull hues and, at an extreme, grays or blacks.    complementary pairs Following is a list of commonly used complementary colors. Colors named to the left of the caret (>) are complementary to those at the right of >. .Phthalocyanine Turquoise > Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Medium Cerulean Blue > Cadmium Red LightAlizarin Crimson > Viridian, Terre Verte (Earth Green) Ultramarine Violet > Cadmium Yellow Light or Pale, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Yellow Deep French Ultramarine Blue > Cadmium Orange, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna Phthalocyanine Blue > Cadmium Scarlet (Cadmium Vermilion), Pyrrole Orange, Burnt Umber Prussian Blue > Cadmium Scarlet (Cadmium Vermilion), Burnt Umber Cobalt Blue > Napthol Orange Dioxazine Violet > Sap Green Cobalt Green > Quinacridone Violet Mars Violet > Yellow Ochre, Mars Yellow   .valueA color looks darker when it is next to a pale color, and looks paler when next to a dark color. In other words, increasing contrast accentuates the difference. In the illustration, the small square of yellow ochre looks rather dark when surrounded by Cadmium Yellow Pale on the left, but pale when encased in deep Burnt Umber on the right. …   Even black seems darker when nearby colors are made paler, and white appears paler when adjacent hues are made darker. For example, consider how brilliant the small white square inside the larger black box appears (at right in the illustration) as compared to the white square inside the gray box (center). The picture at left in the illustration suggests how a white object can be made to look dark or grayish when enveloped by much more brilliant natural light.     temperature Warm colors seem warmer still when colors nearby get colder. Conversely, the chill of cool hues increases when surrounding colors grow warmer. As the illustration demonstrates, Cobalt Blue seems warm and almost greenish in the presence of purplish French Ultramarine, but cool and somewhat violet next to Manganese Blue.     ..  .theory of nightBlack has its own peculiar effects upon other colors, and is affected by them in unique ways. All colors look more brilliant, more intense, and more saturate in the company of black. Interactions between black and specific hues are illustrated in the diagram. The arrows at top indicate the effect black has upon the different colors, and the arrows at bottom show how black is influenced by other hues.   Most colors look warmer when in the company of black. Specifically: red appears more violet, orange and green seem yellower, blue becomes greenish, and violet grows more reddish. Most colors, on the other hand, cause black to resemble the complement of the affecting color. For instance, red makes black look greenish, orange produces a blue tint, and yellow yields violet.    theory of fogGrayaffects other colors in much the same way that black does. Because it is the most neutral of colors, gray also increases the apparent brilliance of nearby colors. They, in turn, turn gray into dull versions of their complements. The chart above provides a pretty good idea of what happens both with black and gray. .  .theory of not quite oppositeA split-complementary is right next door to the complement of a color. Violet is opposite yellow on the color wheel, for instance, and is yellow’s complement. Next to violet are red-violet and blue-violet, the split-complements of yellow. Split complements act in ways similar to that of complements. With yellow as our “base color,” the split-complements red-violet and blue-violet make yellow appear more intense, more brilliantly yellow. The effect, however, is not as profound as with yellow’s true complement, violet. Likewise, when a color is mixed with one of its split-complements a gray is produced, although this will not be a true gray. In the case of yellow, either a bluish gray (in mixtures with blue-violet) or reddish-gray (with red-violet) emerges. . .  .

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) are complementary to those at the right of >. .Phthalocyanine Turquoise > Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Medium Cerulean Blue > Cadmium Red LightAlizarin Crimson > Viridian, Terre Verte…

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