Notebook, 1993-

ELEMENTS - Color - Why are things Colored?

An Introduction - [Harlan, Calvin. Vision & Invention, An Introduction to Art Fundamentals. Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1986.]

Principles of Color - [Wong, Wucius. Principles of Color Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. 1987]

Light & Color - [Rainwater, Clarence, Prof. of Physics, San Francisco State College, Original Project Editor Herbert S. Zim, Golden Press, NY, Western Publishing Company, Inc., 1971.]

Color Circle - Color Comparison - Color Properties - Color Stability - Color Wheel - Diffraction Color - Chroma - Color Chart - Color Effect - Color Notation - Color Scheme - Iridescence - Munsell System - Opacity / Transparency - Opalescence - Ostwald System - Saturation - Tristimulus Values - [Mayer, Ralph. The HarperCollins Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques. Second Edition. Revised and edited by Steven Sheehan, Director of the Ralph Mayer Center, Yale University School of Art. New York: HarperCollins. 1969. 1991.]

Links - Bibiliography



Hues . . . . Pigments . . . . Saturation, Appearance . . . . Complexion, Tint, Blush . . . Lightness, Brightness . . . . The Phenomena of Light in relationship to Substance . . . . Tonal Quality, Property . . . . Phenomenom and Differentiation of Visual Perception . . . . Aspect, Nuance . . . . Characteristic . . . . Character, Nature, Vitality . . . . Interest, Anecdote . . . . To Characterize, Describe, Distinquish, Show . . . . Influence, Change, Gloss, Conceal, Embellish, Warm, Clarify . . . . Paints, Crayons, Chalks, Dye, etc. . . . .

In a sense color is an aspect of the complexity of substance, light, atmosphere, and vantage point. For - fundamental to considerations of a visual perception would be these considerations of substances and the nuances within circumstance.

Appearances are both obvious [the ball is green] and they are understood through occurrence, circumstance, changes over time--at dawn or through dusk [Consider how the French Impressionists observed the mix and changes in their work--consider Monet's 'Cathedrals' in changes of circumstance].

And visual appearances are affected by weather or a clarity or the haze in the atmosphere--such as the mellowness or harshness of noon or evening light. Consider a painting in the room observed in the natural reflected light of the early morning, and then again by the glow of a lamp late in the afternoon. The weight, translucency, opacity, texture, qualities of substances do effect contrast, definition, glow, blend, sparkle.

Is this something absorbent? Hard? Translucent? Do we observe this in the shade, where the tone of daylight is evenly distributed--where the objects are not subject to a glow or harsh contrast? Does the color dissolve or sparkle?

Atmosphere: Do clouds in the sky cool or clarify the view while passing? Do the interior lights in a room have a rosey, bluish or yellow effect on the general appearance of things? Does this change the appearance of everything? Does this at the same time brighten or dull those substances which may be more or less of one hue or another?

Is the light shining in your eyes--does a blur dissolve the edge of what we can see? Does the interior light flatten the appearance of things? What do we notice when we move from the all-encompassing light of the open meadow to the path in the shade of the trees in the forest?

Much depends upon the changing vantage point--sometimes this requires the slant necessary [often] to observe the detail or eliminate the sheen of something --it is sometimes necessary to squint or move to see this or that.

Adjustments. We may need to follow the blend, the shade, the diffusion, a concreteness, or search for clarity in vision--perhaps these things simultaneously without realizing the effort.

R  E  F  E  R  E  N  C  E  S 
Encl: Effect produced on the eye and its associated nerves by light waves of different wavelength or frequency. Light transmitted from an object to the eye stimulates the different color cones of the retina, thus making possible perception of various colors in the object. When white light passes through a glass PRISM, it is separated into a band of colors called a SPECTRUM. Since the colors that compose sunlight or white light have different wavelengths, the speed at which they travel through the glass differs. The colors of the visible spectrum, called the elementary colors, are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; red light, having the longest wavelength, travels more rapidly through the glass than blue light, which has a shorter wavelength. Color is therefore a property of light that depends on wavelength. When light falls on an object, some of it is absorbed and some is reflected. The apparent color of an object depends on the wavelength of the light that it reflects; e.g., a red object observed in daylight appears red because it reflects only the waves producing red light. The color of a transparent object is determined by the wavelength of the light transmitted by it. An opague object that reflects all wavelengths appears white; one that absorbs all wavelengths appears black. Black and white are not generally considered true colors; black is said to result from the absence of color, and white from the presence of all colors mixed together. Colors whose beams of light in various combinations can produce any of the color sensations are called primary, or spectral, colors. The process of combining these colors is said to be "additive", i.e., the sensations produced by different wavelengths of light are added together. The additive primaries are red, green, and blue-violet. White can be produced by combining all three primary colors. Any two colors whose light together produces white are called complementary colors, e.g., yellow and blue-violet, or red and blue-green. When pigments are mixed, however, the resulting sensations differ from those of the transmitted primary colors, the process in this case being a "subtractive" one, since the pigments subtract or absorb some of the wavelengths of light. Magenta (red-violet), yellow, and cyan (blue-green) are called subtractive primaries, or primary pigments. A mixture of blue and yellow pigments yields green, the only color not absorbed by one pigment or the other. A mixture of the three primary pigments produces black. The scientific description of color, or colorimetry, involves the specification of all relevant properties of a color either subjectively or objectively. The subjective description give the hue, saturation, and lightness or brightness of a color. Hue refers to what is commonly called color, i.e., red, green, blue-green, orange, etc. Saturation refers to the richness of hue as compared to a gray of the same brightness; in some color notation systems, saturation is also known as chroma. The brightness of a light source or the lightness of an opaque object is measured on a scale ranging from dim to bright for a source or from black to white for an opaque object (or from black to colorless for a transparent object). In some systems, brightness is called value. A subjective color notation system provides comparison samples of colors rated according to these three properties. In an objective system for color description, the corresponding properties are dominant wavelength, purity, and luminance. Much of the research in objective color description has been carried out in cooperation with the Commission Internationale de L'Éclairage (CIE), which has set standards for such measurements. In addition to the description of color according to these physical and psychological standards, a number of color-related physiological and psychological phenomena have been studied. These include color constancy under varying viewing conditions, color contrast, afterimages, and advancing and retreating colors. Color has long been used to represent affiliations and loyalties and as a symbol of various moods and qualities. A well-known use of the symbolism of color is in the liturgical colors of the Western Church, according to which the color of the vestments varies through the ecclesiastical calendar; e.g., purple (i.e., violet) is the color of Advent and Lent; white, of Easter; and red, of the feasts of the martyrs. See also LIGHT; PAINTING; PROTECTIVE COLORATION; VISION. R. M. Evans, An Introduction to Color (1948); Faber Birren, Creative Color (1961); Günter Wyszecki and W. S. Stiles, Color Science (1967). [Harris, William H., and Judith S. Levey, eds. The New Columbia Encyclopedia. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1975.]

Principals of Two-Dimensional Design: A shape is distinguished from its surroundings because of color. Color here is used in its broad sense, comprising not only all the hues of the spectrum but also the neutrals [black, white, and all the intermediate grays], and also all their tonal and chromatic variations. [Principals of Two-Dimensional Design. Wong, Wucius. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1972.]

1 Color n. often attrib [ME colour, fr. OF, fr. L color; akin to L celare to conceal -more at Hell] [13c] 1a: a phenomenon of light [as red, brown, pink, or gray] or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects b: the aspect of objects and light sources that may be described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources c: a hue as contrasted with black, white, or gray 2a: an outward often deceptive show: Appearance [his story has the __ of truth] b: a legal claim to or appearance of a right, authority, or office c: a pretense offered as justification: Pretext [she could have drawn from the Versailles treaty the __ of legality for any action she chose -Yale Rev.] d: an appearance of authenticity: Plausibility [lending __ to this notion] 3: complexion tint: a: the tint characteristic of good health b: Blush 4a: vividness or variety of effects of language b: local color 5a: an identifying badge, pennant, or flag -usu. used in pl. [a ship sailing under Swedish __s] b: colored clothing distinguishing one as a member of a particular group or representative of a particular person or thing -usu. used in pl. [a jockey wearing the __s of the stable 6a pl: position as to a question or course of action: Stand [the USSR changed niether its __s nor its stripes during all of this -Normam Mailer] b: Character, Nature -usu. used in pl. [showed himself in his true __s] 7a: the use or combination of colors b: two or more hues employed in a medium of presentation [movies in __] [__ television] 8pl a: a naval or nautical salute to a flag being hoisted or lowered b: Armed Forces 9: Vitality, Interest [the play had a good deal of __ to it] 10: something used to give color: Pigment 11: tonal quality in music [the __ and richness of the celo] 12: skin pigmentatin esp. other than white characteristic of race [a person of __] 13: a small particle of gold in a gold miner�s pan after washing 14: analysis of game action or strategy, statistics and background information on participants, and often anecdotes provided by a sportscaster to give variety and interest to the broadcast of a game or contest. 15: a hypotheticl property of quarks that differentiates each type into three forms having a distinct role in binding quarks together

2 Color vt [14c] 1a: to give color b: to change the color of [as by dyeing, staining, or painting] 2: to change as if by dyeing or painting: as a: Misrepresent, Distort b: Gloss, Excuse [__ a lie] c: influence [the lives of most of us have been __ed by politics -Christine Weston] 3: Characterize Label [call it progress: __ it inevitable with shades of job security -C.E. Price] -vi: to take on color; specif: Blush

[Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition. Springfield, MA, USA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1995.]



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