01 December, 2007

Colour Lens

In the last month, I have been posting some general information about color theory. The take home message that I tried to bring was that the Internet is prejudiced, or at least heavily weighted, towards the colors that computers are limited to. The color theory ("additive") that the CRT, and much of print media, is slaved to is RedGreenBlue.

Take this post, in particular. In it, I attempt to indict the bias of illuminated screens. Possibly my best support is provided by Jusko's link where he supports my argument
for the artist to keep the RedYellowBlue color theory in mind before you buy the RGB/CMYK theories first.

There is nothing "subtractive" about adding one hued pigment to another to create a third hue. Perhaps there is subtraction if you begin with the dominant idea of light-based "mixing" created in your computer or camera.

Theories based on light rather than human perception are what I call "light-dominant" theories. I prefer to think of the experiential side of human interaction with light. Stone age man did not crack a laptop computer, he rubbed colors on stone. BTW, he mixed the pigments in hollowed out "mortars" of stone.

Regarding light versus perception, see the following quote from the Wiki on color:

These physical or physiological quantifications of color, however, do not fully explain the psychophysical perception of color appearance.

Clearly the digital and information era is the dominant paradigm of our day, and art created in the context of this era is every bit as new and legitimate and creative as the "Old School" methods of painting ever were in past eras of history.

But tearing down or redacting the old does no good for advancement. That dialectic is tired and disproven. Painting is the foundation of visual art and must remain intact in it's theories, not re-written or ignored by the newest thing.

The Wikipedia entry on the Munsell Theory has a fine example of the computer's inherent inability to reproduce artist's colors here:

Note that the Munsell Book of Color contains more color samples than this chart for both 5PB and 5Y (particularly bright yellows, up to 5Y 9/20; that is twice as much chroma the 5Y 8/10 square to the left), however they are not reproducible in the sRGB color space, which has a limited color gamut designed to match that of televisions and computer displays.

Now, with all of that in mind, I have found after my series on color theory has been written a new, wonderful resource for all things color theory. See Colour - Resources for Artists, a new Squidoo Lens by Katherine Tyrrell.

Her blurb on the lens is here:

This lens is assembling links to information and advice about colour and how to understand and analyse it as an artist. Also listed are various books concerned with colour.

And for goodness sake, crack a book about color and don't rely on the Internet only! Katherine has listed many books throughout her wonderful lens, and also I would prefer the links that are from artist's paint manufacturers, such as Gamblin. Put another way: just take all Internet sights about color theory with a grain of salt.

Admin Note:

My Technorati Authority did dip to 20 on the wear-out of 90 day old links, but I picked up 2 more links and am now at 21. Probably I had another 1 wear out, for a net gain of 1.

On the positive side of things, I have been listed in the Top 101 Artist's Blogs, apparently on the authority of Technorati. The list is compiled at Laketrees.blogspot. And, I have no idea how she conducts her research to rank these Technorati-listed art site, but as they say, "there you have it".

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Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism