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The Art of Color

Color harmony | Developing a visual relationship and structure between colors that are capable of serving as a basis for composition and revealing content.


Color Impression Colored light reflected from colored objects modifies the colors of other objects.

William Eggleston

Joel Sternfeld

Full Light

Paul Graham

Medium Light

Shadow


Paintings by Mark Rothko

Color Altered or Varied in 5 Modes

Hue

name and properties/mixture of a color that enables it to be perceived.

Brilliance

how light or dark a color is.

Saturation

the level and mixture of white, black, grey or complimentary included in color.

Extension

proportions of color

Simultaneous

shifting of colors to their complementary


Color Agent and Color Effect

Color Agent is the physically or definable colorant. Color Effect is the psychophysiological color reality.

On a white background, the yellow square looks darker and warmer.

On a black background, the yellow square acquires extreme brilliance and is cooler.

On white, the red square looks darker .

On black, the red square radiates warmth.

On a white background, the blue square looks darker and suggests depth.

On a black background, the blue square acquires extreme brilliance with deep luminescence of hue.


Color Expression

Color is not only experienced and understood visually, but also psychologically and emotionally

Gregory Crewdson

Philip Lorca diCorcia


12 Hue Color Circle Yellow Yellow Green

Yellow Orange

Green

Orange

Blue Green

Red Orange

Blue

Red Blue Violet

Red Violet

Violet


Yellow •

Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy.

Shades of yellow (when gray is added) are visually unappealing because they lose cheerfulness and become dingy.

Dull (dingy) yellow represents caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy.

Light yellow is associated with intellect, freshness, and joy.

Philip Lorca diCorcia

Nan Goldin

William Eggleston


Red •

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, and love.

Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine qualities and passiveness.

Dark red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.

Brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities.

Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall.

Stephen Shore

Philip Lorca diCorcia William Eggleston

William Eggleston


Blue •

Passive from the point of view of material space. Always cool and shadowy. Atmospheric.

Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

When dimmed, blue suggests fear, grief, and perdition.

Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.

Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.

Richard Misrach

Alec Soth

Stephen Shore


Green •

Intermediate between yellow and blue. Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety.

If the green inclines towards yellow, an energetic sense of nature is felt. Activated by orange, it assumes vulgar cast. If it inclines towards blue, cold and vigorous aggressiveness.

Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, jealousy and is also commonly associated with money.

Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.

Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.

Olive green is the traditional color of peace.

Stephen Shore

Cindy Sherman William Eggleston


Orange •

Mixture of yellow and red. Maximum radiant activity and solar luminosity. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. Orange is the color of fall and harvest. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.

Suggests a range from festive to when whitened, a loss of character. When diluted with black, declines into dull and withered brown. By lightening the brown, beige tones achieved suggesting warmth and quiet atmospheric quality.

Dark orange can mean deceit and distrust.

Red-orange corresponds to desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, aggression, and thirst for action.

Gold evokes the feeling of prestige. The meaning of gold is illumination, wisdom, and wealth. Gold often symbolizes high quality.

Edward Burtynsky Joel Sternfeld


Violet •

Violet combines the stability of blue and the energy of red and is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance.

Violet is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic as well as chaos, death and exaltation.

Solitude and dedication in blue-violet. Divine love and spirituality in red-violet.

Light violet evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings.

Dark violet evokes gloom and sad feelings. It can cause frustration.

Christian Patterson

Mitch Epstein

Tim Davis


Seven Color Contrasts

William Eggleston

Henry Wessel

1.

Contrast of Hue

2.

Light - Dark Contrast

3.

Cold - Warm Contrast

4.

Complementary Contrast

5.

Simultaneous Contrast

6.

Contrast of Saturation

7.

Contrast of Extension


Contrast of Hue •

At least three (3) clearly differentiated hues are necessary.

•

Some obvious combinations include:

red

yellow

blue

green

red

violet

red

blue

green

blue

green

orange

blue

yellow

orange

yellow

red

violet

William Eggleston


Light - Dark Contrast •

Strongest expressions of light and dark are the colors white and black.

The effects of of black and white are in all respects opposite, with the realm of of grays and chromatic colors between them.

Difference between level of brilliance and illumination. Obscured v. Revealed.

Yellow and Violet have the strongest light - dark contrast.

Alec Soth


Cold - Warm Contrast •

Contrast that is both physical and psychological.

Red - orange represents is at the warmest range of colors, while blue - green is at the coolest.

Cold - Warm properties can be described as: shadow / sun ; transparent / opaque ; sedative / stimulant ; airy / earthy ; far / near ; wet / dry.

Cold Colors

Warm Colors Yellow

Yellow Green

Yellow Orange

Green

Orange

Martin Parr

Blue Green

Red Orange

Blue

Red

Blue Violet

Red Violet Violet

Gregory Crewdson


Complementary Contrast •

Two colors are called “complementary” when mixed together they produce a neutral gray. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the Color Wheel.

Analogous colors are any three colors which are side by side on a 12 Hue Color Wheel.

Some examples of complementary colors include:

Yellow | Violet

Christian Patterson

Orange | Blue

William Eggleston

Red | Green

William Christenberry


Simultaneous Contrast •

Results from the fact that for any given color, the eye simultaneously requires the complementary color, and generates it spontaneously if it is not already present.

The simultaneously generated complementary color occurs as a sensation in the eye of the beholder, and is not objectively present.

It cannot be photographed.


Contrast of Saturation •

Relates to the degree of purity of a color.

Contrast between pure, intense colors and dull, diluted colors.

Pure colors may be diluted in four different ways:

1. Color diluted with white

2. Color diluted with black

3. Color diluted with gray

4. Color diluted by a mixture of corresponding complementary colors

Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore


Contrast of Extension

•

Involves the relative size of two or more areas of color. It is the contrast between large and small areas.

•

Colors may be assembled in areas of any size, but the proportion between two or more colors may be said to be in balance or harmony so that no one of the colors is used more prominently than the other.

Christian Patterson

Martin Parr

William Christenberry

Art of Color  

Art of Color

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