by Debra Disman
Color for artists
This article is a round-up of some of our favorite Color Muze tips and tidbits from fall of 2010 on Artistically Speaking Talk Show. Helmed by Rebecca E. Parsons, creative entrepreneur extraordinaire, and master decorative artist, Lyna Farkas. Artistically Speaking has undergone some transformations in the New Year, and we are excited about what 2011 has in store for its listeners, and the readers of Cre8tive Compass Magazine.
In the future, we look forward to enhancing our Color Muze offerings with a variety of color-full articles to enrich your know-how, experience and practice of color. We look forward to continued “Muzing” with you about the fascinating, and ever-unfolding world of Color!
In September, we continued our discussion of The Color Wheel with a focus on complementary colors, and their relationship to each other. The complements are sets of colors opposite each other on the color wheel, and comprised of one primary color (red, blue, yellow), and one secondary color (secondary colors result from the mixing of two primaries: purple, green and orange). Note: we are talking about pigment-based color mixing in this article.
The primary hues of red, yellow and blue set each other off when juxtaposed, as in the layered look created by these three rooms. The red room opens to the blue, which opens to the yellow (gold), creating an intense, saturated effect.
Likewise, when sets of complements, (opposite each other on the color wheel), are placed next to each other, or overlaid without transparency, they will enhance each other. Try using sets of complements in a room, on a canvass, or in a garden planting, and watch each color take on new life!
Even when sets of complements are grayed down, they will set each other off when placed next to each other.
In fact, one way to subdue, “neutralize”, or gray down a color is to add some of its complement to it, thus lowering its level of intensity and saturation.
On the ceiling at right, a semi-transparent rusty-orange-is layered over complement cerulean blue, subduing the intensity of the blue in areas. The coppery-orange of the stencil design is more opaque (paint, as opposed the more sheer glaze medium), thus mixes less with the blue below it, and stands out in greater contrast to its blue background.
Color can have a tremendous effect on our psychology, and emotional lives. In October we talked about how painting a kitchen’s dark, light-absorbing wood a golden-ochre color changed the life of its inhabitant: A testament to the power of color, the homeowner declared, “The final outcome of the project was transformational. What had been a dark and brooding kitchen area became a light and inviting space that perfectly wove into the accent colors already in place. The end product created a welcoming environment.”
Illustrating the symbiotic relationship of light and color, we discussed how color on a ceiling can look very different then the same hue on a wall, depending on how the light hits and is absorbed by each surface. This concept is discussed beautifully in the book Color and Light: Luminous Atmospheres for Painted Rooms., by artists and colorists Donald Kauffman and Taffy Dahl.
Although in many places, November is a bit too cold to do exterior projects, during Thanksgiving month we shared about how to deal with choosing colors for exterior surfaces that are constantly shifting hue in the changing light outdoors. One way is to observe the surface you are trying to match, or work with, such as a patio’s expanse of multi-colored Mexican tile, determine which color stands out as the most dominant, and base your treatment on that hue. We shared, and laughed about, a helpful simple trick when doing this: if you wear glasses, take them off! You may find that you can see the fields or areas of colors you are trying to work with more clearly, without the distraction of “clear” vision! (And, make sure you aren’t wearing your sunglasses when observing, planning, and choosing colors for your project!)
We chatted a bit about the challenges of changing paint formulas, as Benjamin Moore and other vendors create a whole new set of more environmentally friendly color specs that don’t necessarily exactly match the old!
Anyone specifying color will be affected by this, and though we all appreciate our vendor’s attempts to “green” their products, we caution you to be prepared for some confusion in the interim, and apprise your Clients accordingly! I have been told that the old Benjamin Moore color specs will continue to be sold while supplies last…then it’s out with the old, and in with the new!
Remember, any change, even the most exciting and positive, can create a bit of stress, as our senses, hearts, minds and souls take their own time to make the necessary adjustments.
Finally, we completed our discussion with a toe dip into the intriguing concept of Synethesia, or “Unity of the Senses”. As states Frank L. Mahnke, President of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, “Colors may evoke associations with odor and taste, appear heavy or light, give tactile impressions, be associated with sound, have volume, and temperature associations.”
We look forward to delving deeper into this fascinating material in further Color Muze segments!
What a luscious, luminous world we have as finishers, decorative painters, muralists, artists, artisans and humans, to explore! Please join our Color Muze on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, and Cre8tive Compass Magazine, “where we honor your passion, and your vision, in this community we are co-creating”
Here’s to a colorful journey!
Debra Disman’s passion is to translate her Client’s inner vision into concrete visual form. She is principal of ArtiFactory Studio, a decorative painting company based in San Francisco, which provides custom decorative painting, murals, and color consultation to customers from all backgrounds and walks of life. She is a member of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, an “Expert Columnist” for the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Journal, and serves as the Color Muze for blog talk radio’s “Artistically Speaking Radio” and Cre8tive Compass Magazine. To learn more please visit ArtiFactoryStudio and “Artissima, the Blog of ArtiFactory Studio”, or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.