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tridentseven
04-14-2007, 10:12 AM
hi im new here at WC and i just need to ask about the color wheels thats floating around online. one wheel suggest purple is complimentary to green and other suggest green is complimentary to red. i don't know which one to believe.

Doug Nykoe
04-14-2007, 05:57 PM
Ask Einion, I am sure he won't delete his own responses.:D

Richard Saylor
04-14-2007, 06:41 PM
hi im new here at WC and i just need to ask about the color wheels thats floating around online. one wheel suggest purple is complimentary to green and other suggest green is complimentary to red. i don't know which one to believe.

In a nutshell, purple (or rather magenta, which is a purplish red) is the visual complement of green, and red is usually said to be the mixing complement of green. See Hilary Page's article for an explanation of visual complements - http://www.hilarypage.com/VisualComplements.html
Then, if you are curious (some might say brave) enough, read the section of Handprint on Color Vision - http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/wcolor.html

Richard

mad mike
04-15-2007, 03:29 AM
Richard,

This may seem a little odd, but I think you just went a long way towards helping me better understand a lot of what I've been reading about in this section of the forums.

I followed that link to HP's article and it really helped me to reconcile some of the problems I was having in understanding how one group could call one color the compliment to another, and the other group of people come up with a different compliment to that same color.

When the terms "mixing compliment" and "visual compliment" came into play, things began making a lot more sense to me.

Thank you for that! :D (Unless of course, I'm getting it all wrong. :eek: )
But I don't think I am.

Mike S.

Einion
04-15-2007, 02:52 PM
Hi, welcome to WC! and the Colour Theory forum. Your confusion is understandable as there are many colour wheels out there, some of which look superficially like others.

hi im new here at WC and i just need to ask about the color wheels thats floating around online. one wheel suggest purple is complimentary to green and other suggest green is complimentary to red. i don't know which one to believe.
In a complete colour wheel (generally one that includes both cyan and magenta will be complete) all colours directly opposite are complementary pairs. These are visual complements. The basic form of the wheel in post #15 of this recent thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=403948) is the type I'm talking about.

The common thinking is that this is how it works with paint too and sometimes this is the case but often not. That's why mixing complements are a subject in their own right.

There are many past threads you might like to hunt up concerning visual complements and mixing complements. Feel free to ask about them here too.


This may seem a little odd, but I think you just went a long way towards helping me better understand a lot of what I've been reading about in this section of the forums.

I followed that link to HP's article and it really helped me to reconcile some of the problems I was having in understanding how one group could call one color the compliment to another, and the other group of people come up with a different compliment to that same color.
That's good to hear Mike. It's an important fact for painters that a mixing complement and a visual complement aren't necessarily the same hue - mixing complements for a single paint often number more than five or six, so needless to say they are rarely all the same hue and sometimes can vary quite a surprising amount in basic colour. There are many good examples of this but the simplest is something that many painters already know from reading and/or experience - that red earths often work to neutralise more than one blue. Or to look at it from the other side: the same red earth can be neutralised by multiple blues.

This is covered excellently on the Handprint site, probably in greater depth and more accurately than any other resource.

Einion

Einion
04-15-2007, 02:59 PM
Ask Einion, I am sure he won't delete his own responses.:D
What about my co-mod Larry? Or an admin? Intended as humour or not Doug this kind of comment is not appropriate in response to a first poster's query and wouldn't be in any other thread either.

Einion

LarrySeiler
04-15-2007, 05:32 PM
Ask Einion, I am sure he won't delete his own responses.:D

*sigh... :rolleyes:

seriously...

nothing better to do? Like paint? Life just not short enough for some apparently...

Please...please...let's demonstrate something of the noble nature humans are capable of!!! Goodness.... *shaking head

To be honest...Einion has already responded, or I on the other hand would have edited or deleted your post...so please do not single out Einion here!!! A post such as this is simply out of line...unnecessary, highjacking someone else's thread...off topic, and subject to warnings and possible strikes. Ssheesh...I teach and work with teens in a public school art classroom EVERY day, and this....well, just won't say it...but, I certainly expect greater things.

Since you deemed it appropriate in your mind to post something this crass in public...so as a caution and warning to all, I will respond in public-

READ READ READ the WC community User Agreement. You know...the one you are to read and sign at the time of joining? There is no reasonable point to be made violating the decorum and rules we all agree with at the time of joining this online community, unless an other agenda is at the heart of it...

LarrySeiler
04-15-2007, 05:39 PM
Now...I will respond to the thread's topic at hand... ;)

Speaking for myself, I guess I can appreciate Richard bringing up this distinction which may help clarify for members....the visual and the mixing aspects of the color wheel....complementaries and so forth.

For myself...the color wheel is simply a concept. A model in my mind...but years of experience has learned the unique traits of various blues, reds and yellows that intuitively I am able to work with the basic RYB model without any difficulty. For years, I used this simple RYB model to think thru its split primary form of warm and cool temperature versions of each primary.

It works in concept...works on paper...in idea...but together with working experience ...intuition translates this to work experientially or practically as well.

Richard Saylor
04-15-2007, 06:42 PM
I was hoping that there would be no controversy about complements. Visual complements just happen. They do not depend on a theory. If a typical person stares at a green circle for a minute or so, then looks at a blank wall, they will see a magenta circle. If they do the same with a red or yellow circle, they will see a cyan or blue circle, respectively. Visual complements have to do with the way the cones (color sensors) in the eye work.

The additive theory of light can make it easy to determine visual complements, but they exist regardless of theoretical considerations.

Richard

FriendCarol
04-15-2007, 06:53 PM
Hmmmm. Just for Richard (or rather, not for anyone just beginning to think about this!): Some years ago drollere insisted that the 'saturate cones with a color and you see its complement' statement (which I had just made in some thread) was not strictly accurate. After lots of mulling that over, and reading the information about color vision, I think I understand why there can be slight differences between the colorwheel's visual complement and the mind's visual complement. I say "mind's" complement because, if the processing of cones is a form of neural network, each individual could develop a different way of perceiving color despite identical initial wiring. The quality of the final perceptions presumably would be highly dependent on exposure to initial data plus other factors, including study (as artists do). :)

Richard Saylor
04-15-2007, 07:11 PM
...After lots of mulling that over, and reading the information about color vision, I think I understand why there can be slight differences between the colorwheel's visual complement and the mind's visual complement.I don't doubt that at all. However, I think that Stephen Quiller's assertion that mixing complements are the only kind of complements is close-minded and extreme. I know that for me, yellow and blue are visual complements, not yellow and purple. (Off topic: I really don't care for Quiller's use of color anyhow, which may or may not be relevant to the discussion. Larry is a vastly superior colorist, although he shares Quillers view of complements.)

FriendCarol
04-15-2007, 07:27 PM
mixing complements are the only kind of complements is close-minded and extremeAh, yes, now that I understand where you're coming from, I have to agree with you. There are complements for mixing, and complements for designing (the visual complements). If they coincide, it's... coincidental. :lol:

Otoh, I also find what we might call the 'design effect' of the visual complements varies with the pair. Furthermore, sensitivity to their effect also varies with individuals (as Einion pointed out not that many months ago). Some complements (red/green) shriek while others (violet/yellow) seem more pleasant; it usually does help to reduce chroma on at least one of the pair. :D

Richard Saylor
04-15-2007, 09:07 PM
Some complements (red/green) shriek while others (violet/yellow) seem more pleasant; it usually does help to reduce chroma on at least one of the pair. :DUmmm... Your examples are mixing complements not visual complements.

Doug Nykoe
04-16-2007, 12:30 AM
hi im new here at WC and i just need to ask about the color wheels thats floating around online. one wheel suggest purple is complimentary to green and other suggest green is complimentary to red. i don't know which one to believe.

See if your library has Quiller or buy the book, lots of good info in there.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Apr-2007/2442-quiller.jpg

Patrick1
04-16-2007, 10:55 AM
Note that the Quiller Wheel places Yellow Ochre opposite Ultramarine Blue. It also has Raw Sienna and Raw Umber at a very close hue angle. If it's a mixing color wheel (rather than a visual color wheel), this is a faux-pas; you'll get a greenish color, not neutral.

LarrySeiler
04-16-2007, 12:01 PM
Larry is a vastly superior colorist, although he shares Quillers view of complements.)

funny though...(and I appreciate the compliment...) but many folks might consider me more a tonalist using my neutral midgray mud block-ins to mix color into wet on wet...or various undertones...such as this one I painted on location last night. First time I was called a colorist, (maybe six years ago or so) it actually came as something of a surprise. Especially since I use a very limited palette...whereas I believe most colorists want no limitation really of pigments to put out and use.

9"x 12" oil...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Apr-2007/532-millpondapril07_72.jpg

to me...it is a compliment to be considered a colorist if one's work is not lacking in appropriate convincing use of values...and I believe in my work...it is the mood projected often from use of values that allows color to sing...

As what might make me different from most artists called "colorists" is that I painted tonally for 17 years in-studio before taking it outdoors, and I imagine that's what makes the difference. The emphasis on getting color natural to what I actually witness and observe from life outdoors came really much later for me as a painter.

Unfortunately...I think the term "colorist" carries a lot of negative connotation today from painters that see such an artist's work as being expressive but not accurately concerned with right values. Looking "pretty" at best...but nothing like seeing nature as it is. I relish aesthetics, expression of mood...but it has to suggest truth for it to work for me.

I still maintain that (given the composition is sound) 90% of the time a painting isn't working, it is likely related to issues with values...

Mario
04-16-2007, 01:11 PM
wow, Larry you really nailed that scene. There's so many great relationships shown in it. You gotta have been happy with this! The foreground, mid and background is mind boggling to think that it was done in one sitting.
nailed

LarrySeiler
04-16-2007, 01:40 PM
thanks Mario.. :)

yeah...I was pretty happy with the way this one came thru for me. I think the wet into wet neutral mud block in has proven its potential under extreme limited last hour light/time situations for me, and it will take its place in mind as one of a number of strategies to consider when I set up in the future...

take care...

Einion
04-16-2007, 03:34 PM
However, I think that Stephen Quiller's assertion that mixing complements are the only kind of complements is close-minded and extreme.
That claim is silly really.

Off topic: I really don't care for Quiller's use of color anyhow, which may or may not be relevant to the discussion....
FWIW I like some of Quiller's work, others not so much.


See if your library has Quiller or buy the book, lots of good info in there.

Much better, thank you.


Note that the Quiller Wheel places Yellow Ochre opposite Ultramarine Blue. It also has Raw Sienna and Raw Umber at a very close hue angle. If it's a mixing color wheel (rather than a visual color wheel), this is a faux-pas; you'll get a greenish color, not neutral.
Yep, there are a few other areas that are a little off too. As you might know his placements are partly based on judgement.

It's quite clear from the complements listed on the rear of the new Quiller acrylics that some of his ideas of mixing complements could do with a bit of revision.


wow, Larry you really nailed that scene.
I agree.

Einion

mad mike
04-16-2007, 04:40 PM
So, now I see that we have both "visual" compliments and "mixing" compliments.

Great.

I can see the importance of visual compliments, how they affect a painted image, what a good design tool such knowledge really is, and where a color wheel based on this visual concept could be very helpful.

On the other hand, I paint with pigments, and not with light, so the idea of a "mixing compliment" color wheel makes perfectly good sense when attempting to come up with the right mixture of paints.

What I don't get is why there seems to be such a division amongst those who paint, and such a level of animosity at times.

Most of the time, it sounds like two factions, each with their own favorite tool, with both sides telling the other that their tool is near-useless and can't be expected to work well, when the tools in question were designed for two different purposes.

I don't care if there's a middle ground or not. I'm taking it! :D

This leads to my questions.

1. For the purpose of better understanding the colors that I see, what would be the best color wheel to use?

2. For the purpose of selecting paints to mix in order to produce the colors I need, what would be the best color wheel to use?

If on the other hand you're convinced that only one will credibly do both jobs, I guess this would be answer number 3. (For the unasked question.)

Could be, I suppose, that if it' s a #3 type of solution, then I am wrong in thinking that I am beginning to understand this "color concept debate" and that wouldn't come as very much of a surprise to me.

Guess I'll "duck and cover," and hope for some good educational answers. After all, I am here to learn.

Mike S.

FriendCarol
04-16-2007, 07:38 PM
Mike, I don't think there is a great colorwheel for mixing. The author of Handprint switched to a chart (instead of image) to show mixing complements. The way he approached it was to work from the cool side, since there are fewer cool pigments, and list their mixing complements. Of course, that's for w/c, but it probably works (mostly) for other media, too. It's not all that much to memorize, given that you won't (probably!) have all the colors on your palette anyway. Just slowly, as you work with a pigment, learn what its mixing complements (that you have) are. It's good to have mixing complements on the palette for any given painting, anyway. ;)

mad mike
04-16-2007, 08:09 PM
Have to say that I kind of suspected that working up my own "mixing charts" based on some trial and error, would be the answer in the long run.

I'm actually working on Richard Schmid's color chart exercise, but it really isn't aimed at finding mixing compliments. But, I hope I'll recognize them when they do show up in that exercise. Since it involves pretty much my entire palette, they kind of have to. . .

Thanks,

Mike S.

LarrySeiler
04-16-2007, 11:14 PM
It might be best to take panels gessoed (if oils) or illustration board (if acrylics) and make several colorwheels of your own paint. Discover your cool and warm variants of each primary if you wish a split three primary RYB colorwheel model...

It will make sense as you are mixing to do this...for you will see that a warm blue responds one way to a warm yellow...another to a cool yellow; a cool blue to a warm yellow....another to a cool yellow, and so forth.

You can make the regular one color represents each primary thing...and its fine if you have 3 or 4 of these colorwheels sitting around. As long as you properly label them Mike...they will represent YOUR pigments and you'll see what is happening.

Again...I maintain it is a working concept and works quite well..but it works I think best after you get to know your particular pigments. By doing this, you'll discover which brands, what color temp pigments of the different brands and so forth that you like.

Get a compass....draw a circle...draw your separate color circles and give 'er a go...

Einion
04-17-2007, 02:30 PM
What I don't get is why there seems to be such a division amongst those who paint, and such a level of animosity at times.
Good question. I don't understand why someone would try to make the case that there's no difference between visual and mixing complements when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary (as has been mentioned before, most people's own palettes would provide enough proof). And yet we've seen here a couple of times that having the simple facts of the matter repeated has led more than once to the kind of reaction you describe. I have to say I'm exasperated when this occurs.

Most of the time, it sounds like two factions, each with their own favorite tool, with both sides telling the other that their tool is near-useless and can't be expected to work well, when the tools in question were designed for two different purposes.
There's an element of that yes, but visual complements are all our tools (use them or not it doesn't change what they are) and mixing complements are part of each painter's 'toolbox'. So while there is some variation in the latter from artist to artist that's rarely directly at issue.

1. For the purpose of better understanding the colors that I see, what would be the best color wheel to use?
See the link in post #5.

2. For the purpose of selecting paints to mix in order to produce the colors I need, what would be the best color wheel to use?
You can't really show these relationships accurately on a wheel, simple as that. Once we get past wanting to shoehorn paints into this framework it's all gravy :)

A colour wheel can be made with the correct positions for a given paint, or an average for a pigment across a number of brands, but this only shows us the hue and maybe one other attribute (usually chroma). Since we know that paints don't reliably act like visual complements it's easy to see how a wheel such as this, accurate though it is, doesn't show us anything about mixing behaviour and hence is of no use in predicting mixing complements.

As mentioned above this subject is covered best on the Handprint site.

Einion

Richard Saylor
04-17-2007, 04:45 PM
funny though...(and I appreciate the compliment...) but many folks might consider me more a tonalist using my neutral midgray mud block-ins to mix color into wet on wet...or various undertones...such as this one I painted on location last night. First time I was called a colorist, (maybe six years ago or so) it actually came as something of a surprise. Especially since I use a very limited palette...whereas I believe most colorists want no limitation really of pigments to put out and use...I just meant 'colorist' in the non-technical sense, 'one that colors or deals with color.'

Richard

mad mike
04-17-2007, 11:57 PM
Earlier, I said that a "visual" color wheel made sense to me in order to better plan a painting. By that, I meant to determine what colors could be used for their effect on adjacent or near-by colors.

Then, since I wasn't "painting with light," but with pigments, a pigment-based color wheel would be needed to to help with color mixing problems, especially finding compliments to be used in mixtures for their effects on the mixture.

But now, I have to wonder about my logic. It may contain a fatal flaw.

I may be mixing pigments instead of "light," but those pigments are chosen for what they look like, what color they appear to be.

It seems to me that if my chosen color wheel won't accurately predict what color will effectively act as a compliment to another in a mixture, then it could only be because it is wrong, or the paint I'm using is not represented on it. Or not accurately, anyway. Maybe that accuracy thing is the root of the problem.

Either way, it's starting to look to me like most color wheels are useful only in generalities. One might get me close, but in the end, I'm going to have to depend upon the Mark I, Mod I eyeball. Ball-park it, adjust as needed, put it down and move on.

It could be that I've read one too many threads like this one. I've seen people point out problem areas with most all of the color models. Rather than being persuaded that one is better than the other, I'm thinking they are all wrong (for me.)

Right now, I'm kind of burned out on the subject. But I do know that I am going to have to get some sort of a grip on it, and I'd say the sooner, the better. I don't want to get "brain-locked" on this. I'm already bouncing from one side to the other. It's giving me a headache.

I'm going to stick with what I just wrote as my own personal approach to color: Use whatever simple color wheel I have and "depend upon the Mark I, Mod I eyeball. Ball-park it, adjust as needed, put it down and move on."

At least, until something more rational comes along.

Mike S.

Richard Saylor
04-18-2007, 02:08 AM
No matter who says what, the results of paint mixing cannot be reduced to color wheel manipulations alone. Paints are not the same as simple colors on a color wheel. Just about every color of paint contains every other color in varying degrees of intensity. When you mix blue and yellow paint, you are really mixing violet,blue,green,yellow,orange,red (in various proportions) with violet,blue,green,yellow,orange,red (in various other proportions). A lot more colors are involved than just the dominant colors you see, and these non-dominant colors do indeed affect the outcome.

A color mixing wheel can provide at best an approximation to the results of paint mixing. To expect more from such a simplistic diagram is unrealistic.

Richard

APCenter
04-18-2007, 02:36 AM
Originally posted by Einion
You can't really show these relationships accurately on a wheel, simple as that.

This is where the scientific community fails us! :wink2:

The problem lies in our limited perception of dimension and how we apply that to any philosophical or metaphysical model. I would venture to say that most of us (myself certainly included!) can, at best, think of color in three dimensions. This, of course, leads one to realize that the typical color wheel (being in two dimensions) doesn't tell the entire story.

If we can, at least, think of chroma and value (or saturation and/or lightness, depending on which definitions and connotations you prefer to live with) separately, we still can't accurately describe color in terms of a two-dimensional circle. If we consider that, on any conventionally reasonable two-dimensional color model, white and black are both at dead-center...well, you do the math.

There is always going to be another dimension in which to think. For most of us mere mortals, that is going to be a third dimension, which is why two-dimensional color wheels don't work particularly well. But, we all think in other dimensions of color vision and perception, even if it is subconsciously. For example, I know as a watercolorist, that a watered-down Ultramarine Blue that looks, for all intents and purposes, to be the same hue, chroma, and value as Cobalt Blue will never look the same as the genuine artifact, due to handling issues such as granulation, transparency, et al. Regardless of whether I would consciously apply it to my color theory model, I do think about these things and how they will affect my finished product.

But perhaps I think a bit too analytically, and perhaps I read Handprint a bit too much!

By the way, I took a nearly ten-year hiatus from any sort of visual art, and decided around a year-and-a-half ago to take up painting again...and somehow I wound up in watercolor...even despite the fact that my earlier teachers (who were all oil painters, for the most part) urged me to avoid watercolor because it "is soooo hard." No, it's not. For those of you who have little watercolor background, it could be the best thing that ever happened to you. If you restrict your palette to exclude white paint and the darkest darks, you'll likely find some intriguing and beneficial techniques for other media, as well.

At any rate, regardless of chosen medium, I can't praise this site enough!!! When I decided to take up painting again, I somehow stumbled upon this site. And I also found Handprint inadvertently, in much the same way. I have learned more from these two sites than I ever could have anywhere else, I believe. My first attempt was to get into acrylic painting...and I still have as much contempt for the medium as I ever did. From there, I explored watercolor, which led me to trust Handprint as the word of some "higher power."

But since then, I have gotten back into oils (my first "serious" artistic love), and I have found Handprint to be a continually valuable resource! For all of you out there who are like me (a color theorist wannabe), study the daylights out of Handprint, and learn the "what to do/use" as well as the "why."

Besides, if you've taken the time to read this post in any detail and actually care about it, you're probably an information hog (like I am!) and are ready for Handprint!

Einion
04-18-2007, 09:09 AM
But now, I have to wonder about my logic. It may contain a fatal flaw.
No it's fine. The two issues - visual complements and mixing complements - are separate and distinct from each other.

Colour planning, if you want to do it with a wheel, or if we want to look at what someone has done and try to analyse the structure in some way - is the dominant use of colour in a scene/image a triadic scheme, a split-complement scheme etc? - is independent of the way in which the work was created. Photography, an oil painting, digital images of various kinds, all can be looked at or planned from a schematic point of view.

I may be mixing pigments instead of "light," but those pigments are chosen for what they look like, what color they appear to be.
When it comes to painting though the execution involves the use of paints and there only the way pigments actually interact with each other in mixtures are really important (unless you're not using any physical mixtures).

It seems to me that if my chosen color wheel won't accurately predict what color will effectively act as a compliment to another in a mixture, then it could only be because it is wrong, or the paint I'm using is not represented on it. Or not accurately, anyway.
No wheel can map a paint by colour accurately as regards hue and tell you its mixing behaviour; you simply can't do both at the same time. You can make a limited wheel, with paints carefully chosen that do work as their visual analogues do (or very close) but then you couldn't just insert any old pigment into such a structure and expect it to work as well as these cherry-picked paints*.

These examples might help make this clearer:
a common hue (single-pigment paint) of Cadmium Red versus the real thing;
a good mixed hue of Cerulean Blue versus the real thing.
In 1, straight from the tube the two do look quite similar. But use them in even the simplest ways and you immediately spot the differences between them - they don't mix the same with white, they don't mix the same with a given yellow, they don't work equally with a mixing complement (e.g. PB15:3) and they don't have the same undercolour. They also are not equally opaque, which could be an important consideration.

In 2, you could get a paint that's better than most of the commercial examples of Cerulean Blue Hue (which are often pretty poor). It could have the same opacity as the genuine paint (although even better is possible) and be a great match in terms of masstone. But it generally won't match any or all of the other characteristics.

Now these two pairs of paints are obviously placed at exactly the same place on a colour wheel. But they don't act the same way in mixtures. So it's a simple proof in principle that wheels can't accurately predict mixing behaviour.

Either way, it's starting to look to me like most color wheels are useful only in generalities.
Yep, for mixing they're a rough guide, nothing more. But they can be relied upon for the visual aspects of final colour if one wants to look at that.

One might get me close, but in the end, I'm going to have to depend upon the Mark I, Mod I eyeball. Ball-park it, adjust as needed, put it down and move on.
Pretty much. With a few very unusual exceptions all painters have to rely on their eyes to both see the original colour and then judge the mixed equivalent.

It could be that I've read one too many threads like this one. I've seen people point out problem areas with most all of the color models.
A great many are indeed flawed. We just need to bear in mind that a wheel can either be accurate as regards hue (and one other dimension of colour if you want to map that also) or show mixing complements, but can't do both. Unless you do as * above.


This is where the scientific community fails us! :wink2:
:lol: The failure is not in the ability to model it, it's in the expectation. It's perfectly natural for us to want things to be simpler because we want them to be easier to understand or remember.

BTW, when I said "You can't really show these relationships accurately on a wheel" I did actually mean on a colour model - three-dimensional ones included - I just didn't want to introduce an additional element that might have been confusing.

Einion

Richard Saylor
04-18-2007, 10:08 AM
...Right now, I'm kind of burned out on the subject. But I do know that I am going to have to get some sort of a grip on it, and I'd say the sooner, the better. I don't want to get "brain-locked" on this. I'm already bouncing from one side to the other. It's giving me a headache...That's understandable. Many sources of information about color are a mixture of fact and fiction, objective truth as well as personal opinion, a witches brew of science and fantasy. I would suggest sticking to a reliable source, namely Handprint, for a fairly exhaustive treatment of the topic, but I know that from your perspective, I'm just adding another opinion to the cesspool of color opinions. I don't know what else to say. Perhaps the thread got cluttered too quickly with technicalities. One has to learn arithmetic before algebra, and algebra before calculus.

Richard

LarrySeiler
04-18-2007, 01:45 PM
No wheel can map a paint by colour accurately as regards hue and tell you its mixing behaviour; you simply can't do both at the same time. You can make a limited wheel, with paints carefully chosen that do work as their visual analogues do...


And I'm glad really that science can't nail this down to an exact jot and tittle must be this or that...which allows for variation and aesthetic impulse and vision. The model working as a concept in the mind invites experimentation, leads to surprise, births potential, and works spontaneously with one's growth of other also important concepts in composition and working out their chosen medium and interests.

I personally believe that with experimentation, the model is internalized, makes perfect sense in concept and becomes a practical working tool for ongoing life long experimentation and growth.

Its a bit undaunting for the new artist, even frustrating...but sometimes life is enriched for what unfolds and is understood little by little. I suppose, something like a marriage.

I'll compare it to difficulties where two learn to work thru things and a deeper relationship comes because of that...whereas if everyone understood just how hard it was going to be in advance they wouldn't bother. You engage it...because it is worthwhile, has value. Unfortunately, we are more a immediate sensate gratification we-want-it-now and if it doesn't come right away (like skill...) then its not meant to be society.

I have a lot of teen students that describes. If something requires much from them, or they figure its too hard...then it ain't suppose to be.

I like to point out if Michael Jordan had believe the report when cut from his sophomore high school year of basketball that he was not good enough, he would not have earned $48 million his last year with the Chicago Bulls nor another $50 million in Nike endorsements.

We sure like to get around and out of any difficulty if possible, to the point of hoping a few negative agreements or commentary is all that is needed to justify such disregard. Its not easy...but its worth living and working it out.


:lol: The failure is not in the ability to model it, it's in the expectation. It's perfectly natural for us to want things to be simpler because we want them to be easier to understand or remember.

Einion

well...sort of what I've just been saying...yep.

Richard Saylor
04-18-2007, 05:09 PM
I don't understand the big deal about mixing complements. Just use the simplistic little VBGYOR (based on the RYB 'primaries' and OGV 'secondaries') wheel most of us learned a million years ago. Opposite colors will dull one another. For in between colors, just interpolate the colors on the wheel.

You can almost always hit a good neutral with at most three colors, like so. Suppose you start with blue. Mix in the opposite, orange. If you get something, say greenish, which isn't neutral enough, add a little red, which is opposite green on the wheel. This will get it nine times out of ten.

You want a true black? Get a tube of black. Black mixed with white (and corrected if necessary using the wheel) will give enough neutral grays to satisfy Caspar Milquetoast.

Too simplistic? Not elegant enough? Tough! Get used to it. :D

Richard

timms
04-18-2007, 06:43 PM
Interesting discussion. Many years ago, when I was a confused beginner, I got a piece of advice that helped me to overcome some of these color mixing challenges somewhat. My problem at that time was a lack of knowledge of the paints I owned. This mentor suggested that I select one tube color from each primary group (yellow/blue/red) and work with that triad of colours for a week. Then, he suggested I replace one tube only with a like primary (eg. yellow ochre for cadmium lemon) and paint for a week. And so on. As I had bought every tube of paint I read about (you all can identify), it took me months to finish this challenge. At the end of it all, I threw out many tubes to land up with about 9 or 10 only. I really got to know what I had in my artbox and mixing complements became fairly obvious for the most part. I have found color wheels are still confusing and fairly useless. Don't know if this helps. Hope So.

Richard Saylor
04-18-2007, 06:59 PM
Good for you, timms! There's no substitute for thoroughly learning the properties of your colors by actually using them in a systematic way. Compared to that, a mixing color wheel is not worth the paper it's printed on.

Richard

FriendCarol
04-18-2007, 07:54 PM
Mike, in case you missed it, I want to repeat one point about colorwheels (visual complements, that is): Some artists use color schemes when they design their paintings.

When these artists work, they choose a palette to give them certain end-result colors.

They pick these (end-result) colors from their colorwheel. Some schemes they might use are:
complementary: a painting that features visual complements (mixed any way you can get 'em)
split triad: one 'key' color (mixed any way you can) with the colors on either side of its visual complement (again, mix 'em any way you can)
analogous: colors adjacent to one another on the (visual) colorwheel -- normally all cool, or all warm.

So when artists use a colorwheel to design their painting, this is the sort of thing we mean. One recent book I read (w/c) went into great detail on how to choose a color, the 'darks' for that color, its complements, the lights, etc. People do really work this way, some of them.

I never have used a 'color scheme' consciously, but I have discovered that quite often, my palette and dominant colors in any one painting fall into (roughly) one of these color schemes.

APCenter, good post! :thumbsup: As another w/c painter, I agree that a larger, n-dimensional color space is quite a useful mental model for mixing. Specifically, sedimentary/granular/flocculating pigments are like stackable screens, afaic. When you have different gauges of wire screen and stack them, they end up far more opaque than you expect.

It seems to me that at least this characteristic (pigment size? clumping? an interaction of these?) might someday be usefully measured on some scale, so this might become another dimension in a model to help us with our own mixing decisions. Then there's staining, related but different.... :D
Also agree that Handprint is an enormously valuable resource. Watercolorists are soooo lucky!

Richard Saylor
04-18-2007, 08:33 PM
Mike, in case you missed it, I want to repeat one point about colorwheels (visual complements, that is): Some artists use color schemes when they design their paintings.However, whenever I've seen color schemes used, the color selections are made from color wheels based on mixing rather than visual complements, thus compromising any conceived visual effect of the scheme.

Naturally hue, chroma, and value require three dimensions in order to be plotted. However, color mixing involves a lot more than the three color variables, so an accurate three dimensional plot does not significantly help with mixing.

mad mike
04-19-2007, 09:39 AM
Richard, FriendCarol,

I appreciate both of your comments on using a color wheel to plan a painting. Personally, I've never "planed" a painting in that way as my primary interest is landscapes and for those, I'm pretty much painting "as I see it."

I can see where I might want to do that when setting up a still life, but when it comes to actually painting it, I'll revert to painting what I actually see.

My reason for wanting a reliable color model (or wheel) is to help me learn more about using compliments in mixtures to produce the effects of light falling into shadow, more than anything else. If using a color wheel, chart, or 3-D model will help me learn than, then that's what I want.

But for the most part, I think my best bet is to simply apply what I think I know already to painting test-swatches on some scrap material and finding the mixtures I need, before laying it on the painting.

Such "trial & error" experience will probably be my best teacher.

Thanks!

Mike S.

mad mike
04-19-2007, 09:58 AM
I forgot to add to my last post,

Richard, the method you described in your post #32 is exactly how Helen Van Wyk described the basics of color mixing. I still have several of her books from oh, so long ago.

In order to better understand the process, she offered a series of paintings that took the colors one at a time, to learn the properties of each. These color study paintings allowed her to demonstrate not only the compliments of each of the "study colors," but the range of values within a given hue. She said to first ask yourself which of the 6 colors the subject was, the same six you listed, and then what color might it "lean towards." Next, is is "bright or a dull version," and then, just how light or dark (what value) is was.

I did one of those study paintings, the one on Yellows. After watching and listening to her paint a still life with lemons, I set up my own still life and did it myself. I've got to say that maybe I need to go back and do more of those.

Her "Color Recipes" books, of which I only have the first one, were not so much an actual "recipe" book, but a series of demonstrations, such as I described in the above two paragraphs.

As I recall, not only was that Lemon still life painting instructive, it was a lot more fun than painting color charts! I think I'll get her second book on that subject.

Mike S.

FriendCarol
04-19-2007, 10:25 AM
first ask yourself which of the 6 colors the subject was, the same six you listed, and then what color might it "lean towards." Next, is is "bright or a dull version," and then, just how light or dark (what value) is was.Lots of people use this methodical approach... (Avert your eyes, Einion! :lol: ) When the color is truly hard to identify (because it's very close to neutral), some suggest asking yourself first whether it leans warm or cool. Trying to fix hue more precisely could follow that determination, if necessary (or possible).

I've also run into a couple artists/authors (Willard Ball is one, a traditional English w/c artist who wrote about wet-in-wet w/c) who habitually characterize neutrals as warm (brown) or cool (gray). Here we consider brown to be a dull orange and all neutrals (warm or cool) as grays, but just thought I'd toss that into the mix.

Richard, the most recent book I read by w/c author who uses a colorwheel to determine her color scheme had a very methodical approach, almost formulas to use with every painting. First she selects one of her templates for the value design (no kidding!). Then she works with her own visual colorwheel -- but I immediately noted she has carefully chosen her pigments (and recommends the same to her students) such that the mixing is quite straightforward. It wasn't a tightly limited palette, but certainly far more limited than I would use: basically everything transparent, and texture achieved only through brushstrokes.

I just read that book last month (over a few weeks), and it's annoying me that I can't remember her name or the title! Something like "7 keys to successful watercolors," maybe? Relatively recent publication; individually the paintings looked good, but after awhile the mass of them looked rather slick to me.

Mike, I've heard of Van Wyk, lots of people recommend her videos (though others hate watching her "hover with the brush" :lol: ).
using compliments in mixtures to produce the effects of light falling into shadowNot sure how to read this, but I hope you find what you're seeking!

Richard Saylor
04-19-2007, 05:47 PM
Mike, I've heard of Van Wyk, lots of people recommend her videos (though others hate watching her "hover with the brush" :lol: ).She was kinda like Larry and R. Schmid, the opposite of what's-his-face (the 'liquid white' guy with the 'fro haircut). She didn't want to correct a brush stroke once it was down, so she tried hard to get it right the first time. Good solid artist. Not exactly great, but very good.
As I recall, not only was that Lemon still life painting instructive, it was a lot more fun than painting color charts! I think I'll get her second book on that subject.Color charts, yuck! I think one can learn just as much by doodling. Take two or three colors, a piece of paper, and make a mess.

Richard

stoney
04-19-2007, 09:09 PM
Hi, welcome to WC! and the Colour Theory forum. Your confusion is understandable as there are many colour wheels out there, some of which look superficially like others.


In a complete colour wheel (generally one that includes both cyan and magenta will be complete) all colours directly opposite are complementary pairs. These are visual complements. The basic form of the wheel in post #15 of this recent thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=403948) is the type I'm talking about.

The common thinking is that this is how it works with paint too and sometimes this is the case but often not. That's why mixing complements are a subject in their own right.

There are many past threads you might like to hunt up concerning visual complements and mixing complements. Feel free to ask about them here too.

Einion

From Hillary's site:
My later experience as a painter, and research for my books led me to question the prevailing literature on the subject. It gradually became clear to me that there are not just one set of complementary color pairs but two sets. These are required for the two separate functions of color mixing and color enhancement. The colors of the two sets are definitely not the same though most artists are unaware of this. How about you! The good news is that if you use the right visual complements, the color in your paintings will be more exquisite and dazzling than ever before. [/quote]

Seems like she's indicating this is another tool like having the highest detailing at the focal point and less and less as the eye moves further away. This can be utilized to increase the optical contrast along with the higher detailing. Am I reading this correctly?

stoney
04-19-2007, 09:34 PM
Earlier, I said that a "visual" color wheel made sense to me in order to better plan a painting. By that, I meant to determine what colors could be used for their effect on adjacent or near-by colors.

Then, since I wasn't "painting with light," but with pigments, a pigment-based color wheel would be needed to to help with color mixing problems, especially finding compliments to be used in mixtures for their effects on the mixture.

But now, I have to wonder about my logic. It may contain a fatal flaw.

I may be mixing pigments instead of "light," but those pigments are chosen for what they look like, what color they appear to be.

It seems to me that if my chosen color wheel won't accurately predict what color will effectively act as a compliment to another in a mixture, then it could only be because it is wrong, or the paint I'm using is not represented on it. Or not accurately, anyway. Maybe that accuracy thing is the root of the problem.

Either way, it's starting to look to me like most color wheels are useful only in generalities. One might get me close, but in the end, I'm going to have to depend upon the Mark I, Mod I eyeball. Ball-park it, adjust as needed, put it down and move on.

That's exactly what I do and how I see it. A colour wheel is a general 'quick and dirty' tool to get you into the 'ballpark.' To 'zero' in requires corrections via eyeball.


It could be that I've read one too many threads like this one. I've seen people point out problem areas with most all of the color models. Rather than being persuaded that one is better than the other, I'm thinking they are all wrong (for me.)

Right now, I'm kind of burned out on the subject. But I do know that I am going to have to get some sort of a grip on it, and I'd say the sooner, the better. I don't want to get "brain-locked" on this. I'm already bouncing from one side to the other. It's giving me a headache.

I'm going to stick with what I just wrote as my own personal approach to color: Use whatever simple color wheel I have and "depend upon the Mark I, Mod I eyeball. Ball-park it, adjust as needed, put it down and move on."

At least, until something more rational comes along.

Mike S.

From time to time I'll use a 'colour picker' programme. It's quite astounding how dull things are {generality alert} in a landscape. The 'punch' seems to come from optical mixing of the contrasts.

Richard Saylor
04-19-2007, 10:14 PM
...Seems like she's indicating this is another tool like having the highest detailing at the focal point and less and less as the eye moves further away. This can be utilized to increase the optical contrast along with the higher detailing. Am I reading this correctly?Having visual complements in proximity to one another makes the colors pop (a word overused by watercolorists at this site) Basically one color stimulates a certain set of cones in the eye, and the visual complement stimulates all the other cones. Therefore there's a very strong visual impact if the eyes take in a color and its visual complement simulataneusly. (My explanation may be a little too simplistic, but the model works okay.)

Artists who do not know about or understand visual complements may use mixing complements the same way, to enhance the visual impact of color. Mixing complements work fairly well for this because they are not too far removed from visual complements. However, visual complements work the best, and they are easier to determine because they depend only on the color (hue, chroma, value), not the pigment/paint (which has many more parameters to cause complications).

Richard

stoney
04-19-2007, 10:31 PM
Having visual complements in proximity to one another makes the colors pop (a word overused by watercolorists at this site) Basically one color stimulates a certain set of cones in the eye, and the visual complement stimulates all the other cones. Therefore there's a very strong visual impact if the eyes take in a color and its visual complement simulataneusly. (My explanation may be a little too simplistic, but the model works okay.)

Artists who do not know about or understand visual complements may use mixing complements the same way, to enhance the visual impact of color. Mixing complements work fairly well for this because they are not too far removed from visual complements. However, visual complements work the best, and they are easier to determine because they depend only on the color (hue, chroma, value), not the pigment/paint (which has many more parameters to cause complications).

Richard

So I did understand correctly. Thank you.

APCenter
04-24-2007, 12:31 AM
I will say that, as a landscape painter almost exclusively (not that *THAT* has much to do with anything), I think that one gets more "bang for their buck" by focusing on value rather than hue. All this talk about complements is important, but paint a few monochrome scenes and see if you get the same "pop". I'm particularly proud of the first painting in my sig, because it was done with a hake, a tube of Burnt Umber, and a cupful of water. I use Payne's Gray and Burnt Umber perhaps more than any two paints in my palette, and while I don't believe I have full control over value yet, I do believe that my paintings are more effective than two years ago when I used a lot of vivid, saturated, high-chroma synthetic-organics.

And yes...I've been trying to wean myself away from the Payne's Gray. I've started mixing BS and/or BU with FUB, and Viridian with Perylene Maroon, to good results.

Mario
04-24-2007, 10:07 AM
sounds good to me

Richard Saylor
04-25-2007, 04:59 PM
...All this talk about complements is important, but paint a few monochrome scenes and see if you get the same "pop"...What do you think causes the pop in a monochromatic painting? Is it contrast?

Richard

APCenter
04-28-2007, 03:03 PM
Absolutely, Richard. Of course, this does give one a clue to the importance of contrasting complementary colors. However, I'm still a firm believer that value contrast is the most important key to creating an illusion of depth.

Now, with that said, the example I would use is that two adjacent color fields with the same hue but with contrasting values are likely to appear more "three-dimensional" to the eye. Whereas, two color fields with complementary hues of the same value tend to look "flatter" to me.

Not necessarily sure that I have the theoretical knowledge to really back up this argument, but this is how it generally seems to me. But then, I also don't know if my paintings are good enough to do the theory any justice anyway! ;)

FriendCarol
04-28-2007, 04:10 PM
the theoretical knowledge is surely somewhere in the massive investigation into this and related topics at handprint.com -- most likely in the section on "Color Vision." Happy reading! :D

Actually I remember most of this... You're more or less right in that lightness tends to be the most important determinant of 'coming forward in space.' It's apparently coincidental that yellow (i.e., warm color) also happens to be lightest of all the hues, at sufficient chroma to make hue easily perceptible.

There are tricky figure-ground things, though, so sometimes black (for instance) appears to come forward instead of the lighter color... But I've forgotten why. :lol:

Richard Saylor
04-28-2007, 06:56 PM
...Not necessarily sure that I have the theoretical knowledge to really back up this argument, but this is how it generally seems to me...That's all that really matters. :thumbsup: However, it may be theoretically significant that light and dark neutrals, such as black and white, are, in a sense, visual complementaries. In a monochromatic context, light and dark values of the same hue would be analogous to light and dark neutrals.

Two hues of the same value will have maximal impact if they are visually complementary, such as magenta and green. However, a dark magenta and a light green will have more impact than a dark magenta and dark green. I.e., the visual impact of complementary hues is increased by contrasting values.

MikeN
05-09-2007, 02:46 AM
Actually I remember most of this... You're more or less right in that lightness tends to be the most important determinant of 'coming forward in space.' It's apparently coincidental that yellow (i.e., warm color) also happens to be lightest of all the hues, at sufficient chroma to make hue easily perceptible.

There are tricky figure-ground things, though, so sometimes black (for instance) appears to come forward instead of the lighter color... But I've forgotten why. :lol:


Seeing is inextricably contextual. Most statements focus on the attributes of the SUBJECT ("warm objects" advance, "cool objects" recede) However, they neglect to mention the equally important role of the GROUND/ enviornment. For example, objects that are warm and light may advance on a cool dark backround but recede on a warm light background. This is the basis of camouflage.