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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Color Charts - a personal choice

Grayed Oranges to Bright Oranges
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I would be writing on the "new" way of looking at color via color charts. This post may not be for everyone, but it is an important topic for me. I have completed 16 out of the 50  exercises in the book but I am getting the gist of what is being brought to bear on how to see color so that you can mix what you want at anytime. I did my last set of color charts the "normally accepted" way 3 years ago, and except for those color mixes I often use I still must consult my charts! I feel so tied to them to make a color choice. I was wondering why it was so hard to "get it" and now I have a glimmer of understanding.

The theory behind this book is that we have all been taught to look at color incorrectly. The author believes there is no "color wheel" as such as there is no true red, true blue or pure yellow from which all other colors are made.  Basing his theory on light through a prism, a red is either a red-orange or a red-violet as it comes; Blue would be blue-green or blue-violet and yellow would be green-yellow or orange-yellow. 

The charts are also laid out differently than the color charts I have done previously. The chart above is using 2 of the 6 colors from the prism, pure color on each end, and mixing them together in various %'s. Adding white as you go down the column (so 10 squares across by 3 down). As you can tell, I was not careful about keeping the values the same, just so I had an idea.

Example above: Exercise 10 Grayed Oranges: I took green-yellow (for me that was Cad Yellow Lemon) and violet-red (Quinacridone Violet) Because there is no similar color in either of these colors, they gray each other out. Based on the prism/light theory, to get a bright orange (Exercise 13) you would use an Orange-Yellow mixed with and Orange-Red to get the brightest Orange (see where both colors have "orange" in their name). The author uses Cadmium Yellow Light for his Orange-Yellow and you can see I had a hard time getting 8 different colors mixing my very orange-yellow with the very orange-red.

Exercise 11 Mid-Orange- "Brassy:" Orange-yellow (cad yellow medium) mixed it with the violet-red (Quinacridone Violet)

Exercise 12 Mid-Orange-"Soft/Warm" Green-Yellow mixed with Orange-Red

The book I am reading will remain nameless as there is so much personal preference out there and bias on color and how
to mix it. I think it has been good for me and that is what counts.

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