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Purpose of this Blog is to become a tool and a place where artist that collect and paint flat figures can find interesting links and news about flats, painting techniques, history and various related articles.English speaking related sites are very few but hopefully this blog will provide the collector and the painter with interesting and valuable information about the Art of the Flat Figure and everything related to it.
During the next days I will post any related info I have collected for a long time about various aspects of Flats. Techniques, photos, links, historic articles, anything that is related. Wherever possible I will including the author of the original article. I apologise if sometimes the author's name is not included. It's not intentional but it is lost through time.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Color Theories

By Rob Howard

COLOR THEORIES____The Good, the Bad and the UselessAlthough the use of color is not without pitfalls, unlikedrawing or pictorial composition, it is the most flexible andtolerant of individual taste of all the aspects of painting. Whilemany of us a seem to born with the ability to draw, few of us areborn colorists simply because good color can be achieved onlythrough an intelligent approach born of proper study.No other element of Art has more mystery surrounding it thanthe study of color. From that mystery have arisen countless colortheories. Some theories have strong foundations built on provenand observable fact. Other of these theories are, well---frankly,they are bizarre. In the beginning of this chapter we'll discuss abit of the history surrounding a few of the more bizarre and,unfortunately, influential theories which continue to bring newterrors to students of color. My opinions may fly in the face ofwhat you've learnt at university, but please give them a hearing.
In the chaos following the First World War, the ashes ofGermany became the breeding ground for a new social order.Socialism took firm root in the fertile ground of post-wardiscontent. Socialist thought crept into everything, even unlikelyareas like the arts, and it gave birth to the artisticmanifesto.With their many manifestos, the new men of the NewSociety shouted down figurative painting as merely "illustratingthe myths of the intellectual bourgeois." These new anti-intellectuals set about to create art forms which would becomeillustrations of their social and political manifestos.Out of that curious period came this call to arms of theNovembergruppe; "Painters, Architects, Sculptors, you whom thebourgeoisie pays with high rewards for your work---out of vanity,snobbery, and boredom---Hear! To this money clings the sweat andblood and nervous energy of thousands of poor hounded humanbeings---Hear! It is unclean profit . . . we must be truesocialists--- we must kindle the highest socialist virtue: thebrotherhood of man."Walter Gropius, apart from founding the Bauhaus, was alsochairman of the Novembergruppe's Arbeitsrat fur Kunst (WorkingCouncil for Art). He sought to join all of the arts together"under the wing of a great architecture." Appointing himself GreatArchitect and sounding much like the jackbooted men who would soonfollow, he wrote "the intellectual bourgeois has proved himselfunfit to be the bearer of a German culture." He predicted aBauhaus/Socialist New World Order arising from unsuspectedquarters when he wrote, "New, intellectually undeveloped levelsof our people are rising from the depths. They are our chiefhope." Unfortunately, he got his wish . . . and the world got Hitler.A common thread joined those art forms spawned by the newanti-intellectualism. Artistic movements like Futurism, Vorticism,Orphism, Purism and Surrealism, were distinguished not so much asaesthetic movements but as esoteric codes designed to baffle thehated bourgeoisie (never mind that later Socialists would rejectthese incomprehensibly coded aesthetic messages to seek comfort inthe most puerile and saccharine of bourgeois art, and never mindthat the artists themselves became the prototypes of thesuccessful capitalist). It was only natural that, in those giddyearly years, The Movement would produce its own peculiar theoriesconcerning politically correct ways of seeing. Rising out of thisyeasty mix of aesthetics and politics and armed with correct newcolor theories and a reformer's zeal, sprung Josef Albers andJohannes Itten.Albers and Itten's color theories had little to do with thepractical problems encountered by the figurative artist. To their way ofthinking, that was all to the better. But when World Socialism finallyrejected their ideas as counter- revolutionary, they, along with Gropius, beat ahasty retreat to those places still cordial to arcane and unprovabletheories...the universities. The sheltered hot house atmosphere of theuniversity provided a congenial rallying place where countless studentsjourneyed forth to kneel at the feet of their idols. The trouble was, thosestudents never got up off their knees--- they went on to teach thoseunworkable coded theories to the next generation of easily gulled students.Itten's book, The Art of Color, attempted to validate histheories through a clever technique well known in advertisingagencies. By juxtaposing his color charts next to the work ofgreat painters he hoped to add credence to his theories.Strangely, Itten chose painters who died well before the advent ofthe modern pigments and colors shown in his charts. Those greatmaster's pictures have as little bearing on his color theories asare the trim young models in beer commercials a result of drinkingthe advertiser's product.To appear original, Itten abandoned the ten-colorwheel of the Munsell System in order to create his idiosyncraticTwelve Color Star and a seven value Color Sphere. The dilemma was;how was the artist to apply rigidly circumscribed charts, blocks,stars and spheres of color to painting the delicate passagesinherent in figurative painting? Those uncompromising Bauhausprecepts have proved to be coarse, clumsy tools ill suited toproducing that grace and finesse we associate with figurativepainting. Thus far, the only application of Alber's and Itten'stheories have been in short-lived art fads like Color Fieldpainting and Op Art.I don't want to leave you with the impression that all formal colortheories are useless to the illustrator and painter. Quite the contrary.Unlike Albers and Itten (both of whose theories are never mentioned inserious writings on color), a few well grounded color theorists like FaberBirren, concentrated on practical color effects of use to the artist andcraftsman. Birren's book, Creative Color should be required reading for anyillustrator or painter. The color effects shown in Creative Color are asextraordinary as they are useful. Birren was not the only one to developpractical color theories with the artist in mind. Far ahead of its time wasthe fundamental work from which much practical color theory grows--- M.E.Chevreul's 1839 book, The Principles of Harmony and Contrast ofColor. It was from within this book that the color theories of theImpressionists took root. Although approaching color from a more scientificstandpoint Ogden Rood, Albert Munsell, Wilhelm Ostwald and Denman Ross allproduced work of lasting value to the artist.The Munsell Color System:A decade before the Novembergruppe issued its first artisticmanifesto in the city of Weimar, Albert H. Munsell had developedan elegant system of color notation in the city of Boston. Thatsystem has become the universal standard by which colors arejudged. It should be the standard by which color theories arejudged. Professor Munsell sought to bring color description awayfrom whimsical and confusing names like 'Firecracker Red' and'Chinese Red' into a standardized language by which color could beaccurately specified. He succeeded in doing much more than that.
Munsell separated color into three fundamental components.The first dimension was HUE, "The quality by which we distinguishone color from another, as a red from a yellow, a green, a blue ora purple." He divided the hues into ten equal steps on a band. Theband was bent around to form a hoop---the Color Wheel. In namingthe Hues, he did not use names like Orange. What is commonlycalled orange, for example, he called yellow-red because it is amixture of those two primary hues.The second dimension of color is the easiest one tounderstand. VALUE is "The quality by which we distinguish a lightcolor from a dark one." The scale used to depict value is avertical pole divided into nine increments of neutral grey. A pureblack was added at the bottom and pure white added to the top.CHROMA describes the brilliancy or strength of a specific Hueat any given Value. By extending a scale horizontally from theneutral pole of the Value scale, an easily understood graphicrepresentation of Chroma Strength can be made. Red is at its mostbrilliant (has its highest Chroma Strength) at Value 5 on theneutral pole, it extends on the horizontal scale to its maximumChroma Strength of 10. As the horizontal scale approaches thepole, the colors become more and more grey until, at a ChromaStrength of 1, at become almost a pure grey. Shorthand notationsare used which first list an abbreviation of the Hue followed bythe Value and the Chroma Strength separated by a slash and statednumerically.The scientific principles upon which this system is basedare beyond question. Since the inception of the Munsell Color System,hundreds of new colors and pigments have been introduced. Without exception,all of them conform to the system's principles. That is; no color can behigher in Value than white or below the Value of black. Every new color has aHue name which can be precisely located on the Color Wheel. The variablescale of Chroma Strength can be logically extended to accommodate morebrilliant pigments as they become available. As an example, when ProfessorMunsell designed his system, the Red Hue at Value 5 attained its highestChroma Strength of 10 (the Munsell notation is R 5/10). How can the Munsellsystem accommodate the fluorescent pigments which were undreamt of in thebeginning of the century? Quite easily. The complete collection of HolbeinDesigner Gouache has a fluorescent color called 'Opera." Its Hue is describedas a 7RP, meaning a Red with a cool overtone. The Value is described as 5.5.Because of Opera's fluorescent pigment, its Chroma Strength is a whopping18.5, almost twice that of the original Value 5 Red. Opera's Munsell notationis the rather longish 7RP 5.5/18.5.Earlier, I stated that Professor Munsell achieved a greatdeal more than creating a neat system for cataloguing colors.Residing within his system is a well conceived plan for achievingcolor balance. In comparing the Chroma Strength of Value 5 Redwith the Chroma Strength of its visual complement, Value 5 BlueGreen, we can see that although the Chroma paths touch at theneutral pole, the Chroma Strength of Red extends to twice that ofBlue Green. If we mixed equal parts of Red with Blue Green wewon't get a perfectly neutral grey, but one in which the Redpredominates very decidedly. It would be like a tug-of-war withten men on one side, each representing a step of Chroma, and onlyfive on the other side.
Visualize a bar representing the five stepsof Chroma for Blue Green and the ten steps of Chroma for Red. If thebar rests upon a fulcrum at the neutral point it obviously willnot balance. But if we cut off steps 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 from theRed side of the bar, it will balance upon the fulcrum, or neutral grey. It isthis simplicity which is characteristic of the Munsell Systemthroughout.Of course, as artists, we don't want to be limited to usinghalf-strength reds in order to balance its complement. We musthave other means at our disposal for attaining balance. If ourpurpose was merely to make a neutral grey, we would use a greateramount of the weaker color. If we wish to produce a balanced andharmonious color design, we can employ a larger area of the weakercolor. If we do this in the correct proportions, relative to theChroma Strength of each color, we will attain balance. It's asthough we used ten blocks of the weaker Blue Green (BG 5/5) tobalance five blocks of Red (R 5/10).For the artist, all of these color theories have a majorshortcoming---they do not deal with artist's paints, especiallyopaque paints. Chevreul's admirable work was created primarily asan aid to the weavers at the Gobelin tapestry works. By layingsmall dots of color next to each other, like stitches of coloredthread, the Pointillists were able to make full use of histheories. On the other hand, mixing pigments on a palette does notproduce the same results. Thus, not all of Chevreul's theorieswere applicable to the pictorial painter.While it lies at the foundation of modern color theory,Munsell's color system does not easily accomodate itself to makingaccurate mixtures with artist's colors. Early in the 20th century,attempts were made to locate the complements of various artist'spigments. The Dudeen Color Triangle was one of those earlyattempts. The Dudeen Color Triangle was not widely acceptedbecause it was, to be frank...poorly designed. The Modular ColorSystem was another system designed to be used by artists. It wasan elegant and useful system designed by Nathaniel Jacobson andintroduced in 1975 by Liquitex. It consisted of a set of acrylicsformulated to have the highest Chroma Strength according to theirparticular Value. A set of Reds would range through the Valuescale from pale pink down to deep maroon. Aside from Red, theModular System included various values of Neutral Grey, Yellow,Green, Purple and Blue, all arranged according to their positionon the Value scale. It was very easy to use. Sadly, it was notgreeted with the success it deserved. Perhaps we artists needpoetic sounding color names, like Cadmium Red Light and LightPortrait Pink rather than R5 and R8.Color mixing was made much more understandable in 1989 withthe publication of Stephen Quiller's Color Choices. Quiller is anaccomplished landscape painter whose work is distinguished by hisexcellent use of color. He mixes color with his brains---and acolor wheel of his own invention. The Quiller Wheel is createdfrom actual artist's paints, not printer's inks. Thus, CadmiumOrange lies opposite Ultramarine Violet rather than the Munsellnotations of a 4 Yellow Red across from a 9 Purple Blue. Althoughthere are variations between manufactures, the true complements ofartist's paints are located on the opposite side of the wheel---nomore color shifts resulting in 'mystery mud'. Quiller's colorwheel is the foundation for an easy-to-understand color course.Landscape painting offers great latitude for demonstratinga variety of spectacular color effects. Landscape offers far greater latitude thanthat is allowed by the subject matter of most illustrations---people and products. Still, Quiller's sensible approach to colormixing makes this book one of the most useful books the painter orillustrator can own.During Hans Holbein's day, color theory was a moot point. Youjust couldn't build much of a theory around a palette with onlyhalf-a-dozen colors. As more colors became available and the useof color became more than merely tinting monochrome pictures,color became the subject of serious study. But that study wasalways done by the practitioners---the artists. Rubens certainlydidn't need a theorist to tell him that blue was calming, red wasenervating and yellow could be cheerful.Over the centuries new colors were slowly added to thepalette. But with the discovery of aniline dyes in the 1850's arainbow of brilliant colors exploded onto the market---colorswhich found their first use in women's fashions. What followed wasa demand for portraits of women wearing those brightly hueddresses. That in turn, created a demand for paint manufacturers toproduce the brighter pigments needed to adequately depict thosenew fashions. It was this bright palette of colors that theImpressionists and the Pre-Raphaelites inherited.Fortunately, techniques for the practical employment of colorin pictorial (not abstract) paintings has been passed on to us bynumerous illustrators and painters. Howard Pyle, Harvey Dunn,Norman Rockwell, Andrew Loomis and Frank Reilly are a few of theworking artists who wrote extensively concerning the effective useof color in painting. Their approach to pictorial painting wasbased on the observations we all make when observing nature. Theybelieved that, if in looking out a window you saw an area of greensituated below a large expanse of blue, you'd be right in assumingthe green represented grass and the blue was that of the sky. Ifyou looked out the same window and saw blue on the bottom andgreen on top, you might suspect that someone had turned your houseupside-down. Despite newer theories, we still hold those truths to be self-evident.
The use of color in pictorial paintings derives from equallysimple observations of nature. The information resulting fromthose observations is known to everyone, not only artists. If youdrew a picture of a person with one too many fingers, the mistakewould be obvious to anyone. Like the odd products of Bauhaus colortheories, drawings of six-fingered people just won't convince mosthumans. Of course there will always be a self-proclaimed elite whocan persuade themselves into seeing The Emperor's New Clothes, butthe rest of us still remain unconvinced and, like Queen Victoria, not amused.I won't try to persuade you that learning to use color iseasy. It's not---but following these suggestions will help keepyour paint clean and bright.First: always keep your brushes clean. Use copious amounts ofwater or solvent to clean your brushes. Dirty brushes (and dirty water or solvent)will turn the brightest color mousy and dull.Second: do not allow the colors on your palette to run intoeach other. Be especially careful that you do not dip into acolor with a brush which contains another color.
Third: Keep your eye on the white paint on your palette. Ifyour brush is contaminated, it will show up here first.Fourth: use your grey card to compare the values of yourcolor mixtures. The grey card helps you to get it right thefirst time, thus avoiding an overworked picture. Properlychosen values are the key to convincing color.Fifth: get a color wheel. It will make order out of thechaos. Grumbacher's Color Computer is handy because it helpsyou to find direct, split and triadic complementaryharmonies. It also shows tints (colors mixed with white),tones (colors mixed with grey), and shades (colors mixed withblack). Far and away the artist's most useful color wheel isthe Quiller Wheel, of which we spoke earlier.Sixth: your palette is one of your most important tools. 90%of an artist's work is done on the palette; tones and colorsare tried out, as well as the thickness or thinness of thepaint. The palette must be kept clean and organized becauseit is where you do your thinking. Your painting can be nobetter than your palette.
PAINTING WITH COLOR: The Short CourseRather than approach color as though it was some sort ofspecial science, let's approach it with the knowledge we'vealready developed as artists.* We know that, to be successful, all pictorial paintingsmust be based upon the structural truths of tone, light andshadow.* Color is not only subject to the same pictorial approachgoverning tone, light and shadow; but also to the effects ofatmosphere and reflected light.Colors and their Characteristics:In order to use color in a pictorial painting we must be ableto carry any color from its lightest value down to completedarkness. Although nature contains far darker darks andlighter lights, Black and White represents the extreme valuerange of opaque paints. Although any color can be lightenedor darkened with white or black, that method seldom producesthe most brilliant (highest Chroma Strength) color for anygiven value.YELLOW:Although you can get a wonderful richness by using Black tolower the value of Purple, using the same Black to lower thevalue of Yellow will produce, not a darker yellow but anOlive Green. However, lowering Yellow's value is easy onceyou understand that many of the earth colors like YellowOchre, Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber are just duller, darkeryellows. Because it is located near the top of the Value scale,the value of Yellow can only be raised with White.PURPLE:The various shades of Purple, or Violet are very important increating the shadow areas of its complement---Yellow. Don'tforget, Alizarin Crimson is a violet, not a red. AlizarinCrimson mixed with Pthalocyanine Blue produces a dark purple.Alizarin Crimson can also be mixed with a small amount ofPthalocyanine Green to produce a cool violet. AlizarinCrimson mixed with a Neutral Grey produces a wide range ofvery useful violet tones.RED:Red can be very difficult to paint with because so many redpigments have cool overtones which aren't apparent until youtry to mix them with other colors. Cadmium Red Medium andCadmium Red Deep turn almost violet when mixed with White.Until you're really familiar with your colors, use CadmiumRed Light for your bright red. When raising the value ofCadmium Red Light, mix a tiny touch of Orange into your whiteto keep it from getting cool. You can also use a premixed "Flesh" insteadof White to lighten your reds. In order to maintain thecharacter of Cadmium Red Light while lowering its value, mixit with Alizarin Crimson tempered with a bit of Burnt Umber.ORANGE:Cadmium Orange is the most useful orange pigment. It can bedarkened with Burnt Sienna and lightened with Flesh or NaplesYellow mixed with White.GREEN:Straight from the tube, Permanent Green Light is the highestchroma green. It's also difficult to use in pictorialpainting. Pthalocyanine Green is very dark but staysbrilliant when brought up in value with White.BLUE:Pthalocyanine Blue has extraordinary tinting strength. It'svery dark as it comes from the tube, but if you needadditional depth to your blue shadows, add Burnt Umber.Pthalocyanine Blue (Winsor & Newton calls theirs Winsor Blue)can be lightened with White. Be careful when mixing it withother colors because a little bit of Pthalocyanine Blue goesa long way.WHITE:Before we go any further, let's discuss the different typesof white paint and their proper uses. Titanium, or PermanentWhite should not be mixed with colors unless you want pale,chalky pastels. Titanium White is useful for creating opaquewhite passages against dark backgrounds. To lighten a colorto a clear and bright tint, it must be mixed with Zinc White.The virtual unavailability of Zinc White in acrylics accountsfor much of the chalkiness seen in pictorial acrylicpaintings when compared to oil and gouache paintings.Although gouache dries to a matte finish, gouache colorstinted with Zinc White show far greater brilliancy and depththan similar tints made with acrylics mixed with Titaniumwhite.BLACK:Just as some white pigments are better mixers, the same canbe said for blacks. Ivory Black is the most transparent ofthe blacks. It darkens colors without overwhelming them.
* Pictures which are built on a few basic values---a light,one or two middle tones, and a dark---seldom go dead.* Large amounts of pure, bright colors won't producebrilliant pictures. A patchwork of colors and values placedagainst each other, compete for attention and the brilliancyof the whole picture becomes reduced.* One primary plus its neighbors, opposed by itscomplementary will never go dead. These colors, supported byneutral and semi-neutral colors, plus black and white, willalways be brilliant...always.* Mix your colors from as few colors as possible. Every coloradded to a mixture reduces its brilliancy.* Large areas of color should be toned down with a complementor grey, in order to give other colors a chance. Remember theaxiom, "The larger the area, the softer the color needs tobe."
Here's an interesting fact:
The size of a pictureeffects our perception of its color harmony. Bright colorscan be quite pleasant when used in a small color sketch, butwhen we use the same colors in the enlarged version, thecolors appear coarse. The reason lies in the limited numberof color cones in our retina. Because we have only so manycolor cones to register the different color vibrations, oureye tires quickly when scanning large areas of color. Theillustrator whose pictures are photographically reduced forreproduction should understand and exploit this phenomenon.A common cause of dead pictures is too much raw unrelatedcolor rather than not enough. Here are some ways to bring yourpicture back from the dead.* Trying greying all but two colors.* Tie your palette together by mixing a single color into allbut one or two of the other colors.* Create your pictures with simple tone plans consisting of alight tone, one or two middle tones, and a dark tone. Keep itsimple.* Reduce your palette to three or four basic colors fromwhich you'll mix all the rest. This is a lot easier and moreeffective than it sounds.* Don't put bright colors into your shadows.* Put your brightest colors into areas of light, especiallytransitional areas where light meets shadow.* Never use all three primaries in their pure state, in thesame picture. If they are there, that's your source oftrouble. Tone two of the primaries with the third one. Onlyone primary should dominate.* Introducing black, white or grey can help restore thebrilliancy of a picture which is too full of color. You haveto sacrifice color in one place to gain brilliancy elsewhere.* If the picture doesn't respond to any of the above, itmeans that the values are wrong. The overall relationship oflight to shadow has gone wrong. A color cannot be right untilits value is right.I know that much of this goes against what you think comprises goodcolor, but these aren't my rules...these are nature's rules. Stick yourhead out of the window. What do you see? If your studio is in the city,you'll likely see a lot of greys and dull browns. But if your studio isin the country, you'll still be looking at lots of greys and browns. Mostof the permanent things in the landscape; earth, tree trunks and rocksare greyed down colors. Except on golf greens, most grassy areas aregreyed or brownish greens. The bright colors are reserved for rare andfleeting effects; flowers, sunsets, fruits, feathers and the spectacularcolors of autumn. Those bright colors always appear to be at theirmaximum brilliance because they are surrounded and buffered byneutralized tonalities of themselves. Perhaps there's an important lessonawaiting on your next walk through the fields.
Light and Shadow:Outdoor light comes from the sun, not the sky. That's whysunlit highlights are warm, especially as we approach sunset. Theblue of the sky reflects into the shadows causing shadows toappear cooler than the lights.In a studio with a north facing window, the opposite is true.Because there is never any direct warm light from the sun, theblue of the sky reflects its cool light through the window.Because of optical contrast, the shadows appear warm. Your pictures will become livelyand lifelike if you remember to create a warm/cool interplaybetween, and within, your shadows and your lights.Shadows are affected by more than just the warm or coolreflections of the light source, thus we have the axiom, color isrelative to all surrounding influences. What this means is, theareas of a warm yellow cube illuminated by a warm light sourcewill get warmer and more intense, while the color on the coolshadow side will become neutralized. If we place the cube on ablue ground, that color will be reflected up into the shadow. Someof the blue would mix with the yellow causing the shadow to lookgreener than the above example. We call the actual color of anobject its "local" color. Yellow is the local color of the cubesused in our example. This brings us to yet another axiom, localcolor should never completely lose its identity in the shadow.All colors are modified by the conditions surrounding them.Warm light shining on a warm color will give it greater brilliancy. Thesame warm light shining on a cool color will subtract brilliancy.* When struck by light, all colors become a source ofreflected light and will reflect themselves into adjacentshadow areas.* All colors in shadow take on the reflected colors of theadjacent light struck area.* Any two colors become harmonious when one (or both) aremixed with some of the other.* No color can be more intense in shadow than it is in light.* Colors at their greatest intensity should be relegated tothe lights and halftones. In shadow, these colors should begreyed or neutralized---or changed by the influence of theadjacent colors.* The most brilliant colors are usually found in thehalftones.Although the painter's axiom of, greys make the picture hasmuch to recommend it, too many neutral greys can deaden a picture.Overly neutralized greys can be fixed by "spiking" them with thecolor they lean toward. Although this technique is particularlyeffective in the halftones, shadow colors can also be intensifiedto good effect. However, to avoid a gaudy and unconvincingpicture, greater delicacy and taste must be used when spikingshadows.Pre-mixed greys can be very useful to tone down colors without alteringtheir value. If we hold a color, let's say Flame Red, next to ourgrey card we see that it's between a Value 3 and a Value 4---mytube of Flame Red is a Value 3.5. By mixing increasing amounts ofgrey with the color, we can lower its intensity without changingits value. If you paint a square with the toned down mixture andplace a square of the pure color in the middle, the color willappear to be much more brilliant than if just painted on white.Experiment with varying proportions of grey and red. See how easyit is to create the effect of a glowing red area. If you squintyour eyes the differences between the pure color and grey willdisappear. Remember, if you photograph this with black and whitefilm, it will look like the entire square has been painted in aValue 3.5 grey.Colors which are direct complements, meaning they appeardirectly opposite each other on the color wheel, will usuallyneutralize each other if mixed together. The neutral and semi-neutral tones made by mixing direct complements are called visualgreys. One of the best known combinations is Alizarin Crimson andViridian. The chart shows three values of a neutral mix at thetop. The three values in the middle are semi-neutrals favoringAlizarin Crimson. The three values at the bottom are semi-neutralsfavoring Viridian. The same system applies to the other examples.Learning to mix and use visual greys is one of the mostuseful skills a colorist can develop. I spent more than a yearpainting with nothing other than mixtures of Ultramarine and RawSienna. I never exhausted the possibilities offered by those twocolors. Painting with such a limited palette gave me a greaterappreciation of color. Again, this is something which must beexperienced firsthand. Pick two complementary colors and execute apainting. Although you may use a full range of values, you'llprobably not use the full range of color. This execise is a realeye-opener. I recommend it.Like many of the techniques in this chapter, the followingtechnique was first shown to me by Andrew Loomis in his classicbook Creative Illustration. Although the illustrations in Loomis'book may appear dated, his solid advice is timeless. In order togive you the flavor of Loomis' approach, I'll quote him directly."Here is one of the best ways in the world to obtainbrilliancy of color: Keep your color most intense on the edges ofthe lighted areas, where it merges into shadow. This seems to castan aura of additional color over the whole area. Just taking alocal color of the light and rubbing it into a darker color of theshadow (which most of us do, most of the time) produces nobrilliancy. It is apt to be just color in the light, then mud,then reduced color in the shadow. This is one of the least knownand least practiced truths." It also is one of the best and mostuseful pieces of advice I've ever received.That wraps up the our abbreviated introduction to colortheory and basic color principles. I hope that the information inthe beginning of this chapter saves you from wasting time withdead-end color theories that just don't work. Don't expect toabsorb everything after reading it just one time. Let it sink infor a while. Experiment by applying these principles to littlecolor sketches. If you run into any trouble, come back to consultthe "bullet points" in this chapter or Stephen Quiller's ColorChoices and Andrew Loomis' Creative Illustration. If I werelimited to owning just two books about color, these would be the two.

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