Mixing colours – from the notebook – 9

By | February 3, 2014
The art of mixing colours, colour theory, visual impressions, colour harmony, colour symbolism, paint, colours of the rainbow and the emotion of colour.

The art of mixing colours, colour theory, visual impressions, colour harmony, colour symbolism, paint, colours of the rainbow and the emotion of colour.

The visual impression of colour.

A normal non colour-blind person can understand approximately 10 000 shades of colour. People who work professionally with colour such as designers or artists can see double the amount of colour or even triple the amount.

Colour study can be divided into different areas: physical, physiological and psychological.

The physical area describes the light and optical affects, the physiological area describes the nervous system and impulses and the psychological area shows how colour is perceived and affects us.

There is a more theoretical colour science which is based on research and then a more practical theory which is based on how we perceive colour. The practical theory is all about mastering and combining colours.

Light or the colour of an object

The light always plays a big part when studying colour. The colours you see when white light hits water and creates a rainbow, or when it is forced through glass and divided is usually referred to as a prism. The rainbow consists of spectral colours which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Colours of objects can also contain black and white.

Colour can be several different things

Colour = Pigment, paint, colouring matter, dyestuff

Colour =spectrum, light radiation

Colour = an impression, experience

Colour sense = the ability to understand and differentiate colour

Colour symbolism = colours representing different qualities e.g. seasons, conditions

Colouring Matter = pigment, dye

Monochrome = single coloured

Colours of objects

When light hits an object some of the light is reflected and some of it is absorbed by the object. A blue object absorbs all the colours apart from blue which is reflected. A black object absorbs all the colours and a white object reflects everything.

Colour harmony

When using the phrase colour harmony you refer to the cooperation of two or more colours which are harmonious to a person. This is very subjective to each person.

 

colour_pointilism_seurat
Georges Seurat, 1888 (neo-impressionist)

Mixing colours

When mixing colours it can be done in using small dots. Depending on the effect, colour and optical illusion needed the small coloured dots are closely or widely spaced, or even overlapping. This technique is commonly used in printing and within art it was widely used amongst the neo-impressionists.

Subtractive colour mixing

Subtractive mixing of colours to create a full range of shades is caused by subtracting / absorbing some wavelengths of light and reflecting all others. The colour that a surface displays depends on which colours of the electromagnetic spectrum are reflected by it. When you mix paints you use this method.