Tuesday, August 14, 2012

LAAFA Color Theory Day 1

Today the class has two objectives, the first is to learn how to separate the color of the light from the color of the object, the second objective is to learn how to identify the color of anything regardless of how earthen or garish it may appear.

Goal 1.  All objects are lit, regardless of how much or bright the lights may be.  A stadium casts multiple shadows, feint but still visible.   Each of these shadow spaces will be filled with the indirect light, in many cases the night sky.  A direct light source such as a spot light produces 1 shadow, again, whatever fills the rest of the space, either fluorescent light, natural light or incandescent light. The brighter the light, the stronger the contrast between the light and dark, or, the stronger the battle of color contrast between warm and cool and the direct spot light will usually win; the weaker the contrast, the greater the chances of the indirect light filling the shadows with more color, the color of the light source, in many cases indoors it will be fluorescent light and outdoors it will be the sky. 

Can you see the color of the light influencing the surfaces of the subject?  What color is the light source?  How much of that color do you mix to each local color to produce the effect of what you see?  What part of the global scape are you standing in and how much does the direct and indirect light source affect what you see as a result?
Light falls off in color bands much like how light drops off in a sunset.  As the sun rounds the planet, the color band raises and drops according to its oblique or perpendicular alignment with your eyes and the subject.

Skin is translucent   another problem with solving the color of skin when painting.

This color wheel is about identifying a pure hue from whatever grayed state it might be displayed.  All colors, grayed or other come from some root color or color hue.   This color wheel loosely suggests this through a series of percentages of gray added to the original hue, the gray the same value to the hue respectively.  And, the hues are delivered in a dynamic way, value related to one another as a value scale of color. 

So remember that the root or our theory starts with the Munsell system which means we identify color by its:
 1.  Hue  -  pure color state
2.  Value  -  its state of contrast to other color/values
3.  Chroma  -  its purity or dullness of saturation of the original hue

When looking at this color wheel, the inner wheel is pure hue, mixed to create a value ratio between colors.  The reason for this will be explained later.  As we roll out from the core ring, we gray the colors with a 25% amount of gray to 75% amount of color for the middle ring.  The outer ring is 75% gray and 25% color.  But regardless of the percentage of gray added, the mixtures always match the same value as the root color.  This is to keep the wheel constant for the Impressionists who learned this way to control the newly saturated hues that were available first time exclusively to them before they became mass manufactured for everyone.

This formula is derived from how the imressionists worked and spurred on modern formulas invented by Johannes Itten, a brilliant German Artist and Instructor within the Bauhaus movement.  And this will be explained further in later lessons.

The wheel will help an artist identify root colors, color values, color temperatures, and color harmonizations, all from an impressionist theory.

This color wheel is mixed from a formula given in a previous blog entry, but for immediate information the palette is as follows:

Titanium White
Cadmium Yellow Pale
Cadmium Yellow Orange
Cadmium Red Light
Alizarin Crimson
Red Rose Deep
Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean Blue
Viridian Green
Ivory Black

And the original Munsell palette also consisted of Yellow Ochre, Chromium Oxide Green, and Dioxinine Purple.  The dioxinine purple would work against the red rose deep, the yellow ochre against the yellow pale and the oxide green against the viridian green to form a perfect palette of color opposites within each hue of the color wheel, both primaries and secondary’s, the tertiaries are mixed.  This palette goes back to the 1930’s and disappeared from the University System in America during the late 1960’s – the late 1970’s, where it almost all but disappeared from the art curriculum entirely.  There were a few schools, private ateliers and studio instructors who still held on to this palette, and fortunately it was printed in book form as well.  Otherwise, the scientific approach to color would be totally trampled by personal palettes and ancient color systems that worked well for a time but do not connect with how we currently see things.

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