*  JOSEF ALBERS’ “INTERACTION OF COLOR”  ("IOC")

COLOR THEORY COURSE

 

NOTE:  The Interaction of Color course offered in the web site is the complete course.  Because of time constraints, the most outstanding and important studies have been selected for IHA's Studio Art Course.  Consult the  IOC CHECKLIST lLink for IHA-offered studies and their due dates. 

 

 PREFACE:  COLOR THEORY BACKGROUND REVIEW

 

THE KINDS OF COLORS

1.  PRIMARY - These 3 colors are pure.  No colors can be used to make them.  In pigments the three primary colors are blue, red, and yellow.  In photography and printmaking, the three primary colors are yellow, magenta, and cyan.  In physics the three primary colors of light are red, blue, and green.

2.  SECONDARY - These are mixed from combining two primary colors.  Green is made form blue and yellow.  Violet is made from blue and red.  Orange is made from red and yellow.  There are three secondary colors in pigmentation. The colors of blue, green, and red are secondary colors in terms of photography and printmaking.  See below for more technical information.

3.  TERTIARY or INTERMEDIATE COLORS - Hues created by mixing any primary with an adjacent secondary color.  The primary color is always named first.  For example, blue is the primary.  An adjacent secondary color is violet.  The color created by combining the two is blue-violet.  The 6 tertiary colors of pigment are blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, and blue-green.

4.  TINT - A color to which white is added.  Also called a pastel color (as opposed to pastel chalks).

          5.  TONE - A color to which gray is added or a color grayed.

6.  SHADE - A color to which black is added.  A term incorrectly used by people for tints, tones and shades.

7.  NEUTRAL -A gray hue made by combining complementary colors.  Technically, neutrals will be gray.  Because of the impurity of pigments in paint, neutrals usually tend toward being a muddy green or brown color.

8.  COOL and WARM - Colors ranging on the color wheel from violet to yellow-green are cool.  Those from red-violet to yellow are warm.  In interior decorating, “cool colours recede and increase the apparent size of a room. Warm colours advance to decrease the size.”    (http://www.guthriebowron.co.nz/paint/ideas/wheel.htm)

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF COLOR

1.  HUE names the color and is a synonym for color.  Pink, green, aqua, pink and all the other possible names of colors are called hues.

2.  VALUE describes the lightness or darkness of a color.  Yellow is a light color while        violet is dark.  Orange is a middle value hue.  How do we see value in color?  SQUINT or remove glasses if nearsighted.

3.  INTENSITY talks about the brightness of dullness of a color.  Colors straight from the tube or jar are usually brighter than colors mixed with others.  Brightness is also called saturation.

 


THE  MUNSELL COLOR THEORY

THE COLOR WHEEL
 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                         

                                                                           

COLOR PIGMENT HARMONIES

These are pleasing combinations of colors and are easily graphically identified and located on the color wheel.  All hues, tints, tones, and shades of each hue in any pigmented harmony make color combinations limitless in variety.  Color Harmonies can be used when the artist needs to find colors that work well together and are used in acrylic, oil or any other paint mixing.  Many of them are found in advertising, textile, wallpaper, interior decoration, photography, fine art painting, and design.  There are also millions of other pleasing color combinations outside of these. 

 

COMPLEMENTS.  In pigment, these are colors located opposite one another on the Color Wheel.  To comprehend the basics of many color theories, a working knowledge of the 6 pairs is needed. 

 

SPLIT COMPLEMENT.  To find a split complementary color harmony, locate a specific color on the wheel such as red.  What is its complement?  Then locate the two colors on either side of the complement and combine them with the original color red in the harmony.  

 

DOUBLE COMPLEMENT.

4-color harmony using any two pairs of complementary colors. 

 

 ANALOGOUS.  These are usually from 3 - 5 colors located next to one another on the color wheel.  They are also called neighbors or related colors.   “Designers often build color schemes around two or three related colors.” (http://www.sherwin williams.com/DIY/interior/colorselect/confidence/dwc4.asp)

 

TRIAD.  Any three colors located equal distance apart from one another around the outside of the color wheel. 

  

MONOCHROMATIC.   Any number of colors which use tints, tones, and shades of a single color.  When creating a work of art, this harmony can be made more interesting and impressive if somewhere in the composition, a little of its complement is placed.  “To say a color, use some of its complement.” (John Day).  This means that use of a little of the complement makes the dominant colors richer and brings out the highest qualities of the original color. 

 

In the images below, what are the basic color harmonies of each?

        

SOURCES:  RESENE PAINTS, DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND

 

COLOR IN LIGHT

This is far different from color in pigment.  Sunlight is white light because it contains all colors.  The 17the century scientist, Sir Issac Newton, demonstrated that color is the function of the interaction between light and the subject(s) it illuminates.  Newton passed white sunlight through a prism to produce the color spectrum.  He proved his point by passing the spectrum through another prism to get the white light with which he began.  “An object has a certain color because it reflects those elements of white light that produce the color and absorb the others.” (“Photography: A Handbook of History, Materials and Processes”, by Charles Swedlund: Hold, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., New York, 1974.)

 

Red, blue and green are the primary colors of additive light which is used in computer monitors, television screens and found in nature.  (http://lonestar.texas.net/~kkeys/science/color/franklin.) When red and green are combined, yellow is created.   When green and blue are combined, cyan or turquoise is made.  When blue and red are combined, magenta or red-violet are produced.  White light results when the light primary colors of red, green, and blue are combined.  The complementary color of blue is yellow.  Green and red are complements as are magenta and cyan, respectively. 

 

The complements of yellow, cyan, and magenta are called the subtractive primaries which are used in the printing process, particularly in offset printing as well as color photography.  In white light these complementaries subtract for all colors except the one that is visible.  “Overlapped, two subtractive ‘primaries’ create a third color.  Only when the three subtractive primaries have been superimposed do they subtract all wavelengths from white light and cancel each other into blackness.  See additive colors in the diagram below, left, and subtractive colors in the chart on the right.  (“Photography: A Handbook of History, Materials and Processes”, by Charles Swedlund: Hold, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., New York, 1974.) 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMPARISON OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL LIGHT & HOW THEY AFFECT COLOR

“The table below shows the effect of the most common forms of household lighting on primary colours. 

Daylight         Normal Incandescent        Halogen (Low Voltage) Light         Fluorescent Light

Red                 Red orange                        Bright red                                  Green yellow

Green             Blue green                         Yellow green                                 Blue green

Blue               Blue                                   Blue green                                    Bright blue

White             White                                Off White                                       White”

 

(http://www.guthriebowron.co.nz/paint/ideas/wheel.htm)

 

  

IOC GO TO:    INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

                        "COLOR IS RELATIVE TO THAT WHICH SURROUNDS IT" STUDIES

                        ACRYLIC PAINT AND COLOR MIXING STUDIES

                        MIDDLE COLOR & SIMPLE TRANSPARENCY STUDIES

                        INTENSITY, VALUE, & OPTICAL MIXTURE STUDIES

                        ADVANCED MIDDLE COLOR & TRANSPARENCY STUDIES

                        ADVANCED MIDDLE COLOR STUDY

                        THE MASTERS STUDY  

                        IHA STUDIES INDEX & CHECKLIST

                        COMPLETE COLOR STUDIES CHECKLIST

 

* SOURCE OF ALBERS LOGO THROUGHOUT WEBSITE IS:  http://www.laurentianum.waf-online.de/ldalbe03.gif

 

 

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