MORE ABOUT COLOR
“Colors appear what they are not, according to
the ground that surrounds them.” –Leonardo
When you look at an object, what you see is a combination
of physical perception and your “memory” of
how things are supposed to look. If you look at a familiar
object that is partially illuminated and partially shaded
your perception will tell you that the object is all
one color. An example might be a white house in an afternoon
setting. The sun has moved far to the west, so the southern
face is illuminated while the eastern wall is in shadow.
As you view both walls, your experience tells you that
the house is white even though the shaded wall has a
considerably different color value than the wall in sunlight.
an artist painting representational types of work, you
paint the physical
reality as your eye perceives it to be. That is where the ability to properly
interpret what the eye sees becomes critical. Painting the entire house one shade
of white fails to create value differences. Value differences give your painting
Of course, it is impossible to separate your experience
from your paintings. This is where individuality enters
into your work. It’s called an artist’s “style.” An
artist may use three, four or even more values to build dimension and depth into
an object. Taken individually, these values may appear totally out of place,
but when properly combined, they compliment one another, creating dimension and
shape. Used properly, they are perceived as correct by the mind’s eye.
design color trends undergo constant transformation. People look for new ways
to express their individuality. Knowing which colors will compliment
those shifting trends is not only valuable in the artistic sense, but if you
are trying to make your living as an artist, knowing how to use those designer
colors is critical.
The use of color to express emotion is an age-old art.
In a still life, the artist is hoping to intrigue the
with a captivating composition. There is no
movement on the canvas. The scene is static. The only tool is color. By subtle
use of color in developing shading and highlights, the composition comes to life.
We have been influenced by color all our lives. Before
you started painting, you many not have understood the
impact color has, but it has been noted that
artists see color in a different way. Once you started painting, you began to
understand the power color has on daily life. You know that color communicates
powerfully to you as you paint. You’ve felt the tug of emotion with each
brush stroke. You’ve seen the reactions people have to your work. Let the
knowledge you’ve gained and the emotions you experience work for you.
Art Perspectives from Shirley Reade ©