Saturday, July 12, 2008

Notes on Color

Color is not a permanent property of things. It is derived from light whether natural or artificial. Color is a series of wavelengths which strike our retina. Every ray of light coming from the sun is composed of different waves which vibrate at different speeds. Any object has a color quality called pigmentation, which enables it to absorb some of the colors and reflect only one.

Some objects do not have color. Some are black, white, or gray. They do not have any color quality. Instead they differ in the quantity of light they reflect. They are called neutrals since they do not reflect any one distinct color.

Physical Properties of Color
(1) Hue is the quality which gives a color its name. (red, orange, indigo, etc.)

(2) Adding neutrals, such as black or white, to any hue results in the change of the quantity of light it reflects. A color combined with black will reflect less light than the same color combined with white. When black is combined with a color, a shade is produced; when white is added, a tint results. Thus, the lightness or darkness of a color is called value.

(3) Intensity is the strength of the color’s hue. It refers to the quality of light in a color. Hues become less intense when pigments are mixed with them.

There are three colors which can’t be formed from mixtures because they are pure colors. These are called the primaries: red, blue, and yellow. The color formed out of the combination of two primaries is called a secondary color. Thus, we have orange, green, and violet. By mixing a primary and a secondary color creates the intermediate colors. You have chartreuse, aqua and blue-violet.

The colors opposite to each other in the color wheel are called complementary colors. They afford the greatest contrast and best harmonies of colors for as long as they are mixed with equal value and intensity. For example, in the color wheel, blue is the complement of orange.

Color relationships
All colors in the color chart may be distinguished by their relative warmth and coolness. Colors containing degrees of blue appear cooler, for instance, than those containing a higher proportion of yellow or red.

Use of Color
(1) Color may give spatial quality to the pictorial field.
(2) Color may create a mood and symbolize ideas and express emotions.
(3) Color has the ability to arouse sensations of pleasure because of well-ordered system of tonality.

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