Monday, May 9, 2011

How Do You See the Color Copper?

At some point, I dearly want to go back to painting.  I have a bunch of stuff to do as I am also on a major organizing kick.  You know, using the old prefrontal cortex.  Executive Function.  Organizing.   After I organize myself, I want to live life.  You know the feeling.  Onto real life.

“There is no blue without yellow and without o...Image by katerha via FlickrAlso, what's the point of all this vision therapy if you don't actually use your new eyes.  I am getting very interested in color  and being able to manipulate color.  Color is easy for me to do as I can paint without fine motor skills.  Color is a very analytical skill.  Kind of the right-brained side of painting as opposed to the left brain side.

I saw one girl in my art class paint a very interesting composition with copper, bronze and gold squares and brush strokes.  So it got me pondering on how I could mix color better and,  in the process,
I found a very interesting blog post on seeing the color copper:

"While I was away a good question came through the comments section….”How do you mix the color of copper with three primary colors?”  Variations of the question also come up in my still life painting classes.  How do you mix silver or gold?  I love such questions because they provide an opportunity to engage the student on “developing their powers of observation”.  It’s not a matter of having a recipe; it’s a matter of observing well and applying the thought process described in previous posts.

The simple answer is: We don’t mix a color called copper.   Instead we observe the subject carefully in terms of the colors on the color wheel.  Remove the word copper from your lexicon.  The lit side of a copper object can be thought of as some version of orange (hue).  Your job is to determine by observation it’s value relative to gray-scale, it’s chroma (pure or neutral), and it’s relative temperature (does it lean towards yellow or red).  The shadow side of copper object also has color which relates to the color wheel.  It is not a darker version of the lit side.  Here awareness of the light source’s temperature can help.  Seen in cool natural light as from a north facing window the axiom cool light – warm shadows will apply.  The shadow will probably appear warm, that is well into the red side of blue.  It’ s hue will be in the purple range.  As you did for the lit side,  determine by observation, the shadow’s value relative to gray-scale, chroma and temperature.  The axiom gives a clue but we  rely on our powers of observation.   For the same object seen in a warm artificial light, the axiom is reversed.  It’s warm light – cool shadows.  In this case you would likely see more blue in the shadow.  Determine by observation: value, hue, chroma and temperature....

A color wheel with 5° hue intervals.Image via WikipediaThere is such a thing as proper technique for looking at color.  Good technique includes: keeping your eyes moving to avoid staring into the passage, using peripheral vision and turning your head upside down thereby shifting focus from what objects are to how they look in terms of color.  The usual mistake is staring intently at the passage.  This is quite a natural thing to do but we must train ourselves to avoid it.  When we stare into the passage our cones and rods are bombarded with information to the point our brains are not able to decipher it."

However, it dawned on me  that what the author of this post, Robert Simone, is talking about is really perceptual principles that can be applied to other senses and arts:  such as hearing music, smelling scents, and tasting food.  I haven't worked out what this can mean for proprioception and tactile senses but somehow I am sure that it is there.