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Patrick1
02-09-2008, 07:12 AM
We've all heard the saying: "Just paint the colors you see". If I were painting this scene, for the bright horizontal part of sky (being pointed at by the black line), I'd choose a light-valued grey, possibly very slightly greenish ...because that's what my eyes tell me they see. But if you sample that color in Photoshop, you might be surprised.

I'd never have guessed even close to what it really is. Another striking example showing how greatly color appearance can be affected by surrounding colors due to simultaneous contrast ...context is everything.

Einion
02-09-2008, 08:22 AM
We've all heard the saying: "Just paint the colors you see".
Well I've never been happy with that as advice anyway, because it's the very difficulty in not being able to do that that requires training or practice to overcome, not to mention simultaneous-contrast illusions and that kind of thing.

If I were painting this scene, for the bright horizontal part of sky (being pointed at by the black line), I'd choose a light-valued grey, possibly very slightly greenish ...because that's what my eyes tell me they see. But if you sample that color in Photoshop, you might be surprised.
This is not a great monitor unfortunately (wish I could check it on my Mac's calibrated display) but anyway, looks beige to me; off to check now.

Einion

LGHumphrey
02-10-2008, 12:01 PM
Ted Adelson prepared this effect, where the "black" square on a chess board is exactly the same hue/value/chroma as the "white" square.

http://www.planetperplex.com/en/item2

If asked to paint that picture, which of us would be able to duplicate it correctly?

Einion
02-10-2008, 03:12 PM
If asked to paint that picture, which of us would be able to duplicate it correctly?
Depends on how it's painted; I think any painter of even modest skill could eventually reproduce it just fine - with tweaks and adjustments, which are part and parcel of most people's painting method. But I guarantee that nobody could view the entire image (rather than looking at portions through a viewer, which is one major 'secret') and mix all the values correctly right at the start :)

Einion

stoney
02-10-2008, 05:49 PM
We've all heard the saying: "Just paint the colors you see". If I were painting this scene, for the bright horizontal part of sky (being pointed at by the black line), I'd choose a light-valued grey, possibly very slightly greenish ...because that's what my eyes tell me they see. But if you sample that color in Photoshop, you might be surprised.

I'd never have guessed even close to what it really is. Another striking example showing how greatly color appearance can be affected by surrounding colors due to simultaneous contrast ...context is everything.

It's definitely darker than it appears. I had thought a lighter brownish orange.

eliza ollin
02-10-2008, 10:55 PM
Hi guys! My first post in this forum...

Just thought I'd point out everyone may be looking at totally different colors, if you blow it up, there are like 19 pixels in that little square, quite different from one another...the first one I picked was very much like what I thought it would be, a pinkish mauve, others are lighter, darker, browner, more orange...

Einion
02-10-2008, 11:57 PM
Just thought I'd point out everyone may be looking at totally different colors, if you blow it up, there are like 19 pixels in that little square, quite different from one another...
That's due to compression artefacts around the black lines (it wouldn't have been that varied before it was resaved by Patrick with the selection area highlighted). Pick an area outside there and the colour is smoother and more consistent :thumbsup:

Einion

stoney
02-11-2008, 02:01 AM
Hi guys! My first post in this forum...

Just thought I'd point out everyone may be looking at totally different colors, if you blow it up, there are like 19 pixels in that little square, quite different from one another...the first one I picked was very much like what I thought it would be, a pinkish mauve, others are lighter, darker, browner, more orange...

Hey! DETROIT! :wave:

Patrick1
02-11-2008, 02:04 AM
Thanks everyone for chiming in (including the Private Message I got). I'm surprised that nobody sees that color (in the photo) as close to neutral grey as I do. To me, it looks close enough to neutral that I have a hard time discerning what hue it is; slightly greenish or yellowish would be my first guess. Alas, here is the actual color in isolation...it's a lot darker and more orangy/brownish (much more saturated ... i.e. less greyish) than it appears to me. Looking back and forth it still looks very different; I would not have guessed this.

stoney
02-11-2008, 02:37 AM
Thanks everyone for chiming in (including the Private Message I got). I'm surprised that nobody sees that color (in the photo) as close to neutral grey as I do. To me, it looks close enough to neutral that I have a hard time discerning what hue it is; slightly greenish or yellowish would be my first guess. Alas, here is the actual color in isolation...it's a lot darker and more orangy/brownish (much more saturated ... i.e. less greyish) than it appears to me. Looking back and forth it still looks very different; I would not have guessed this.

Once again this highlights there's no one 'calibration' concerning eyesight.

eliza ollin
02-11-2008, 09:35 PM
That's due to compression artefacts around the black lines (it wouldn't have been that varied before it was resaved by Patrick with the selection area highlighted). Pick an area outside there and the colour is smoother and more consistent :thumbsup:

Einion

Thanks Einion, you're right; there is still variation away from that area, but much much less...

And Yay! Patrick finally posted what he was seeing--that is basically the color I was expecting--but that gray checkerboard illusion, that's a different story! I couldn't believe it, even with the "proof"--I was hoping their was some gradation or something somewhere, that was allowing them to fudge it...had to download and extract the colors, both squares are basically 120 120 120, I still can't believe it! Those two squares look like totally different values to me...I'm just trying to learn values, and I don't know if seeing that will help or confuse me!

Hey! DETROIT! :wave:

Hi Stoney :wave:, you from here too?

stoney
02-12-2008, 03:36 AM
Hi Stoney :wave:, you from here too?

/curley voice
Coitenly!

:D

Postmodern_schisms
02-12-2008, 01:41 PM
didn't Hitler say "anyone who paints the sky green and the grass blue, should be sterilized" I think purely out of principle, we should never paint the colours we see...

LarrySeiler
02-12-2008, 03:37 PM
I, being one that paints outdoors on location and teaches workshops on painting plein air do not stress aesthetic interpretations prior to one understands enough about values and color, and nothing is better than mixing and painting "WHAT ONE SEES"...

Nature has a tendency to throw too much lumber at the novice, and one finds the best way to build confidence is limit the choices. One...hone in on a specific 2 and no more than 3 elements that are essential to the narrative of what compelled the eye and mandated the scene be painted.

The novice sets up...sees things not at first noticed (because painting and observe reveal more as the session goes on), and thinks it proves their eye astute to include it. The mature painter is concerned as much if not more with what NOT to paint, knowing at least a half-dozen paintings are waiting at every location worth painting. Our tendency by nature is to try and paint three of those possible paintings at once.

A good alternative to a palette of color that would adequately represent the color that is seen...is a limited palette, one that would emphasize a value driven painting, perhaps more monochromatic.

The Zorn palette is good for that...using black, red, yellow ocre and white...

but...I'm curious with the emphasis that somehow there is something to ridicule paintings of painting colors seen, just how many of you have the habit here of painting outdoors from life??? I would love to see examples of your very successful efforts, interpretations...and so forth where you did NOT paint colors seen.

For one...painting from life dispels many myths, which is a good thing. Seeing, for example...that snow is NOT white...but has many colors due to indirect and reflected light; a revelation and convincing epiphany for the novice that nature is more trustworthy as a teacher to pay attention to and regard.

Without such observation...one's interpretations are contemporary conjecture at best and no surprise if the painter loses a sense of controlling what would promise a unified cohesive whole.

After some experience painting what one sees...related to value, color, and what nature is revealing...one gains proficiency, competence, a sense of understanding time of day and mood...and gravitating toward a more interpretive use of color emphasizing mood.

Whatever opinions follow...I'll prefer the experience and knowledge of many past fine painters and teachers on this...such as John F. Carlson, Edgar Payne, and Gruppe...

in other words...if I'm to be told I'm wrong...such will be of no problem or account to me for as I'm concern...I sit in pretty good company. The burden of proof as far as I'm concerned is to take my plein air works...and demonstrate point by point how they fail and why.

If on the other hand my work is to show any good, others will have to account they have been birthed from the camp of observe, see, produce the color, and paint...

I have been much more interpretive this past year...but that is not anything easy to do well. To emphasize greater interpretive more creative color as a sign of something higher and more noble to especially novices or intermediates without letting them understand the risks of paintings that do not hold together would be much like placing a proverbial weight of burden around their necks, tie their hands behind their backs...and push them off into some very deep water...

Emile Gruppe did say that near any color scheme will work so long as the values are captured well...(values- also a thing to be seen, judged, and painted accurately from what is seen) but, still...the place of beginning is to learn one can trust one's eyes...as competence is understood there. One begins seeing what one sees, and learning to command the palette to mix it so...IMO

foundational principals understood...executed at will...leads to a gut hunch intution that will not let the artist down. Bypass the foundations, and one not only fails to have a work that works...but has no idea as to why its not working...

LarrySeiler
02-12-2008, 04:41 PM
well...I do want to add having said that I encourage students, novices...and intermediates to try and paint the color/value they see...that Edgar Payne does make a good argument that we do so at a deficit.

For one...he points out that the intensity of light revealing color is 200 to 300 times more intense than pigment we have is capable of producing. This means arguably that any attempt to paint what we see is an abstract proposition at best...but, that doesn't abdicate we not make the effort. What happens is that we learn in the attempt of our very best to mix color we see to interpret necessarily that closest proximity.

If we simply relinquish the attempt as impossible, we'll miss a lot of the cleverness of human convention.

There is inbuilt a particular relativeness of striving for that very best possible nearness of actual color that finds its way to the canvas.

At some point...the light will change, the shadows move..and the eye and mind have to come to agree at what point a commitment to what one remembers versus what is anymore seen, or else one will have to make that choice to pack it up and return another day under similar conditions. There are many artists that do come back three to five times to finish a work in order to make use of the same light.

I myself do not have the cooperation of nature, sided by two great lakes and Canadian weather fronts. A reason I relinquish to alla prima, and make the best effort I can....

marielizabeth
02-12-2008, 08:03 PM
Patrick, if all our monitors were the same, all color coded and calibrated the same, if that were possible, we each would still see something different due to the shape of our eyes,# of color cones, our height, and even our facial structure (i.e. deep set eyes, large nose, large brows) all these things affect how we see compared to someone else. That is, after all, what we do, paint what WE see, because we cannot do other wise. All we can do is be true to our own vision; whether that is our life sight or our interpretation
of what we are actually seeing.
To better isolate a color either from life or from a photograph a square of white paper with a hole punched in the center held over the color so we can see it surrounded by white is useful, and if the tone is not evident you can put a value scale on one side of the square to match values. A very useful tool to have and easy to make, an old business card works well.
That's my story and I'm standing by it. :wave: 'becca

stoney
02-12-2008, 11:54 PM
I, being one that paints outdoors on location and teaches workshops on painting plein air do not stress aesthetic interpretations prior to one understands enough about values and color, and nothing is better than mixing and painting "WHAT ONE SEES"...

Nature has a tendency to throw too much lumber at the novice, and one finds the best way to build confidence is limit the choices. One...hone in on a specific 2 and no more than 3 elements that are essential to the narrative of what compelled the eye and mandated the scene be painted.

The novice sets up...sees things not at first noticed (because painting and observe reveal more as the session goes on), and thinks it proves their eye astute to include it. The mature painter is concerned as much if not more with what NOT to paint, knowing at least a half-dozen paintings are waiting at every location worth painting. Our tendency by nature is to try and paint three of those possible paintings at once.

I'm nowhere a mature painter and try to filter things out, but often end up trying to put too much in.


A good alternative to a palette of color that would adequately represent the color that is seen...is a limited palette, one that would emphasize a value driven painting, perhaps more monochromatic.

The Zorn palette is good for that...using black, red, yellow ocre and white...

but...I'm curious with the emphasis that somehow there is something to ridicule paintings of painting colors seen, just how many of you have the habit here of painting outdoors from life??? I would love to see examples of your very successful efforts, interpretations...and so forth where you did NOT paint colors seen.

For one...painting from life dispels many myths, which is a good thing. Seeing, for example...that snow is NOT white...but has many colors due to indirect and reflected light; a revelation and convincing epiphany for the novice that nature is more trustworthy as a teacher to pay attention to and regard.

Once it warms up I do want to do a lot of painting outdoors. Even as a kid I was able to see pinks, blues, and greens in snow. I'm even able to see it in photographs.


Without such observation...one's interpretations are contemporary conjecture at best and no surprise if the painter loses a sense of controlling what would promise a unified cohesive whole.

After some experience painting what one sees...related to value, color, and what nature is revealing...one gains proficiency, competence, a sense of understanding time of day and mood...and gravitating toward a more interpretive use of color emphasizing mood.

Whatever opinions follow...I'll prefer the experience and knowledge of many past fine painters and teachers on this...such as John F. Carlson, Edgar Payne, and Gruppe...

in other words...if I'm to be told I'm wrong...such will be of no problem or account to me for as I'm concern...I sit in pretty good company. The burden of proof as far as I'm concerned is to take my plein air works...and demonstrate point by point how they fail and why.

If on the other hand my work is to show any good, others will have to account they have been birthed from the camp of observe, see, produce the color, and paint...

I have been much more interpretive this past year...but that is not anything easy to do well. To emphasize greater interpretive more creative color as a sign of something higher and more noble to especially novices or intermediates without letting them understand the risks of paintings that do not hold together would be much like placing a proverbial weight of burden around their necks, tie their hands behind their backs...and push them off into some very deep water...

Emile Gruppe did say that near any color scheme will work so long as the values are captured well...(values- also a thing to be seen, judged, and painted accurately from what is seen) but, still...the place of beginning is to learn one can trust one's eyes...as competence is understood there. One begins seeing what one sees, and learning to command the palette to mix it so...IMO

Speaking of Mr. Gruppe`; Brushwork for the Oil Painter. Pages 19-23 are a tutorial for 'Birches and Pines.' He goes into detail, but the photos are in black and white. I read it several times and thought I had a handle on it.

I found out fairly quickly I did not, but pressed on to my own version of a finish-with thick paint too. Several times prior to attempting this I tried to find this work on the net, and failed. At this time, I am not versed enough to see the data I'm sure is there. So, I'm unable to understand what he's trying to teach. Would you know a link to that work? If you've done it yourself, might I see it so I'm able to know where I went wrong and correct?


foundational principals understood...executed at will...leads to a gut hunch intution that will not let the artist down. Bypass the foundations, and one not only fails to have a work that works...but has no idea as to why its not working...

I don't know if my attempt 'works' or not. I do know that as an exercise on what was being taught it was a colossal failure. If you want to see it I'll post it.

Patrick1
02-13-2008, 02:13 AM
The issue of how one chooses their colors (in an interpretative or artistic sense), and whether or not we all see colors the same way wasn't the thrust of my original post, though I don't mind others going in that direction.

But here's the point of my original post...perhaps more clearly. Assume I'm interested in reproducing this scene with realistic coloration. Just by looking at the scene, my color sense tells me that the part of sky in question is much like the left color swatch at the bottom...that's the color I think I see, and that is the color I would be tempted to mix. But the color being pointed at is actually the right color swatch on the bottom. Our color judgments are greatly affected by context... regardless of whether it's paint or pixels or realism vs. expression.

stoney
02-13-2008, 03:31 AM
The issue of how one chooses their colors (in an interpretative or artistic sense), and whether or not we all see colors the same way wasn't the thrust of my original post, though I don't mind others going in that direction.

But here's the point of my original post...perhaps more clearly. Assume I'm interested in reproducing this scene with realistic coloration. Just by looking at the scene, my color sense tells me that the part of sky in question is much like the left color swatch at the bottom...that's the color I think I see, and that is the color I would be tempted to mix. But the color being pointed at is actually the right color swatch on the bottom. Our color judgments are greatly affected by context... regardless of whether it's paint or pixels or realism vs. expression.

No argument.

Maxine Schacker
03-08-2008, 06:36 AM
The best way to learn about color, and to learn to paint rather than "color," is to see the set up as a mosaic of shapes of color. I learned this originally from a wonderful little book, "Hawthorne on Painting," which is published by Dover Press. Learning to scan and compare, that's the thing. Exact matching of color includes "how dark, how light?" The more abstractly one paints, the more realism one ends up with. It's a revelation. Form, texture, space - all of it will be communicated through color alone.

delicious
03-08-2008, 12:05 PM
Our color judgments are greatly affected by context... regardless of whether it's paint or pixels or realism vs. expression.


Fortunately, our color selections while painting are also done in context. I would be much more concerned about how that light area worked on the canvas as I developed the painting with my other colors than whether I was duplicating it as an individidual or duplicating the photo's relationships. For me, I only think about how colors in the painting relate--that's the only context that is real. And the relationships in the painting must be stronger than those in the photo.

I often use photos, but I believe the painting should make the photo become irrelevant and rather boring in comparison.

Nosaj
03-09-2008, 11:00 PM
I get what you're saying, and I agree for the most part..but..using the color swatches..is a little like ..pouring a glass of orange juice..and saying "we think the juice is shaped like this" and then dumping the orange juice on the table and saying "the juice is ACTUALLY shaped like this!" as it spreads across the table. The orange juice isnt "actually" shaped either way...

Same with the color swatch..you're isolating it from the other colors..and placing it on a white surface, of course it will look different(and darker). Place that right swatch on a darker background..and it will look as it does in the photo. OR place it on the color..that surrounds the black line on the photo..and it will look as it does in the photo.

Richard Saylor
03-10-2008, 02:06 AM
I get what you're saying, and I agree for the most part..but..using the color swatches..is a little like ..pouring a glass of orange juice..and saying "we think the juice is shaped like this" and then dumping the orange juice on the table and saying "the juice is ACTUALLY shaped like this!" as it spreads across the table. The orange juice isnt "actually" shaped either way...

Same with the color swatch..you're isolating it from the other colors..and placing it on a white surface, of course it will look different(and darker). Place that right swatch on a darker background..and it will look as it does in the photo. OR place it on the color..that surrounds the black line on the photo..and it will look as it does in the photo.Ummm..... I think you are just explicating the point Patrick was trying to make. I.e., the color one 'sees' may be dependent on context. :)

Richard

Einion
03-10-2008, 06:19 AM
Fortunately, our color selections while painting are also done in context. I would be much more concerned about how that light area worked on the canvas as I developed the painting with my other colors than whether I was duplicating it as an individidual or duplicating the photo's relationships.
The thing is, the closer the colours are reproduced, all together, the closer the painting will look to the subject. So if the goal is to do that then somehow getting past any contrast illusions is vital.

Also, I think it's important to point out that this isn't about photography as reference material; the same types of colour illusions happen (even more strongly often) when viewing subjects directly.

I often use photos, but I believe the painting should make the photo become irrelevant and rather boring in comparison.
Good principle to work by IMO. Much the same can be done working from life too; to paraphrase something John Howard Sanden said, we're painters, we can choose to paint something any way we need.


...with the color swatch ...placing it on a white surface, of course it will look different(and darker). Place that right swatch on a darker background..and it will look as it does in the photo. OR place it on the color..that surrounds the black line on the photo..and it will look as it does in the photo.
Yep, that is actually the point of the thread and similar ones touching on the same subject. But I think you're not seeing through to the reason it's useful to do this (by some means, not just this way) if the desire is to reproduce colour as accurately as possible.

A good example of a colour mis-read in context is strong cast sunlight shadows on ochres, other dull warm colours like beige and similar near-neutrals. These often appear to the viewer to be blue because of the context, however this is an illusion. They are blue-er, but that's not the same thing, and painting them actually blue (as many modern painters do) is to over-state the colour, disturbing the relationships that are actually present in the subject.

Of course one can deliberately choose to paint them blue. But if the goal is to paint in a straight realist way, not in a sort of Impressionist manner, then it's important to get the colours in the painting as close to what they truly are.

..but..using the color swatches..is a little like ..pouring a glass of orange juice..and saying "we think the juice is shaped like this" and then dumping the orange juice on the table and saying "the juice is ACTUALLY shaped like this!" as it spreads across the table. The orange juice isnt "actually" shaped either way...o.
This, while a clever analogy, isn't really related. The difference is that while the colour is actually one thing, the orange juice isn't one shape ;)

Einion

Argusmom
03-10-2008, 12:26 PM
I did my first post earlier and neglected to say I'm new to this group. I'm a newbie. There, that feels better.

I want to add here that often teachers encourage students to paint the colors they see in order to get them seeing colors in all their variations and transitions. Too often the novice will see a color, but grab a single color to translate it rather than examining variations within the color area. Also, some of our more exciting artists lock in on a color they're seeing, then exaggerate its components. Example: a burnt orange reflection on a tree trunk might get translated with cadmium orange and carbazole violet slightly mixed. One or the other might get emphasized.
So, in addition to all the physics involved, painting the color we see might include the combination of colors we're seeing. Or we could take watercolorist Charles Reid's advice and paint what we WANT to see.
Dianne

Nosaj
03-10-2008, 10:34 PM
The thing is, the closer the colours are reproduced, all together, the closer the painting will look to the subject. So if the goal is to do that then somehow getting past any contrast illusions is vital.

Also, I think it's important to point out that this isn't about photography as reference material; the same types of colour illusions happen (even more strongly often) when viewing subjects directly.


Good principle to work by IMO. Much the same can be done working from life too; to paraphrase something John Howard Sanden said, we're painters, we can choose to paint something any way we need.



Yep, that is actually the point of the thread and similar ones touching on the same subject. But I think you're not seeing through to the reason it's useful to do this (by some means, not just this way) if the desire is to reproduce colour as accurately as possible.

A good example of a colour mis-read in context is strong cast sunlight shadows on ochres, other dull warm colours like beige and similar near-neutrals. These often appear to the viewer to be blue because of the context, however this is an illusion. They are blue-er, but that's not the same thing, and painting them actually blue (as many modern painters do) is to over-state the colour, disturbing the relationships that are actually present in the subject.

Of course one can deliberately choose to paint them blue. But if the goal is to paint in a straight realist way, not in a sort of Impressionist manner, then it's important to get the colours in the painting as close to what they truly are.


This, while a clever analogy, isn't really related. The difference is that while the colour is actually one thing, the orange juice isn't one shape ;)

Einion


I think this is where I disagree. This thread's purpose is to point out the contextual nature of color....and yet...the words "are" "actally" "is" are used over and over when discussing color.

Proof of this, is where you said "the colour is actually one thing". I feel we cannot know the exact color of anything, we can only approximate it, the colors you see will NEVER be the ACTUAL color you paint(or photograph). Sampling the color in photoshop, will still only give you an approximation.:wink2:


The purpose of my orange juice analogy was to illustrate..how both versions of the juice(in the cup or on the table) are equally valid perspectives..with no "actual" being correct.

Patrick1
03-10-2008, 11:11 PM
Proof of this, is where you said "the colour is actually one thing". I feel we cannot know the exact color of anything, we can only approximate it, the colors you see will NEVER be the ACTUAL color you paint(or photograph).

If what you're saying is true, this wouldn't work: http://www.thecardermethod.com/clips/overview.html .

Under a given set of lighting conditions, a particular color in the world certainly can be metered, and then exactly matched in paint (of sufficient saturation and illumination), or pixels, if that's your goal.

Nosaj
03-11-2008, 12:18 AM
Are you implying..that the colors..mixed with oil and pigment...ARE some set of actual colors that are appearing in nature?(theres that word again)

Also thanks for the video, and thats possible..because those colors mixed are still approximations, of whats occuring in nature. Oil paint simply cannot match the range of values and colors that appear in nature. In the video..when the color on the pot is "matched" , its actually a simplified version of the pots color(s)..which are constantly changing themselves. The colors of the pot will change if you even LOOK at it differently. The "match" is simplified enough to "read" as a "match", but theres even MORE going on, on the surface of the pot.

Color is relative..no matter how you slice it.

I can go on and on about this, I think for the most part we are agreeing...Im just pointing out..once you say "color is relative" or "contextual"...its a contradiction to then turn around and say the "actual color is". Im a realist(I guess)..and..I paint and "match" colors pretty well(I think)..but Im also aware that..if I were to paint say a sun set..I could not match those colors(partially because they are changing, partially because of my materials)..the sun set colors are created as a result of light..oil paint uses pigment, so I can only paint the effect of those colors(which are approximations.) I agree that this is counter intuitive, and difficult to agree with or accept for some...but I believe it to be true.:o

Nosaj
03-11-2008, 03:25 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g9q6iyhY-4&feature=related

He says it best.."all perception is gamble"

If you dont feel like watching the entire video, thats ok too..but please fast forward to 3:40 and watch until 5:47(end of video).

He talks about "naive realism" lol one of my favorite topics "what I percieve is reality"

Nosaj
03-13-2008, 12:13 PM
This was posted in this forum under "light and color" by zcdz..and Id like to thank zcdz:clap:

Anyway I think it speaks to our discussion, and while my previous youtube link was related to the topic...this link targets color(and my thoughts on color), a little more specifically, hope you enjoy


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nynoX0rA10E&feature=user

Einion
03-13-2008, 05:19 PM
I think this is where I disagree.
Which part/s? It would help if you isolated the portion or portions instead of quoting the entire post. This is important given what I'll highlight at * below.

I feel we cannot know the exact color of anything...
You're entitled to hold that view if you wish, but the simple existence of colourimetry shows that we can define a colour accurately and reproducibly (i.e. it's defined in one location and using that definition it can be recreated, flawlessly, at another without having the original colour at hand to compare with). There's no denying this is the case, since it's basically at the heart of all commercial paint production, including most artists' paints. How else to ensure the colour of paint X is the same from batch to batch?

And hence my insistence on using words like are and actually ;) That's what a spectrophotometer does.

Now we don't paint with a spectrophotometer of course, but one can, using a couple of related methods, get tricky colours down a lot more accurately than merely going by how they appear (down right first time, not having to adjust later when it's apparent that the first try wasn't right). This is a pretty fundamental thing since colour regularly appears to be slightly different to what it actually is and can in certain cases appear to be very different to what it actually is (most of the illustrations of contextual illusions are as profound as possible, to make the point forcefully). But by merely isolating the colour you see it for what it is. Within the context it's not a different colour, it just looks like it is, as in the example in this thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=320339).

To repeat something that has been said here before: if you paint the 'orange' in this example as the colour it appears to be when viewed as a whole you will be painting it the wrong colour; it is brown, it needs to be painted as brown. Same thing with any similar colour where we're thrown off by the context.

we can only approximate it, the colors you see will NEVER be the ACTUAL color you paint(or photograph).
*I said in my post:
...reproduce colour as accurately as possible.
...
...it's important to get the colours in the painting as close to what they truly are.
That does not imply that you could get them exactly right, even that you needed to get them exactly right (although for many realists that wouldn't be at all a bad thing) but you can get a lot closer than is generally achieved by the majority of painters.

Now part of this is related to style - the more generally you paint (i.e. more brushy, less small detail) the more of an average of the colours in a scene you're putting down anyway; and one may deliberately choose to accentuate some aspect of colour because that's your vision (punchier tonal contrast, exaggerated shadows, emphasis on chroma or what have you) - but if one's goal is to reproduce colour as accurately as possible you can do much better than with normal naked-eye observation of the scene as a whole.

Sampling the color in photoshop, will still only give you an approximation.:wink2:
This isn't really at issue here so it's slightly off-topic but quite honestly this depends on a few things, including on how finely you want to define "approximation".

In relation to the original colour of a scene? Very likely, but that's because of the accuracy of the photograph or scan, not due to the sampling being at fault. But say you had access to a MARC II image, then you'd be so close as makes no odds ;)

This also relates to the colourspace used since the one we're mostly familiar with, sRGB, is restricted, but L*a*b* on the other hand is not.

Einion

Nosaj
03-13-2008, 09:45 PM
I think, there might be some confusion, as to what each of us are saying. To make it plain...Im stating..colors happen in your head, from person to person..we all pretty much agree on what colors look like to a point, but there is no one absolute perspective on what color something is. Any attemp to measure/determine the color of an object, is a subjective approximation, this INCLUDES the use of instruments. This is because things don't actually have a color, and when we experience color(in our minds)..even THAT is changing. When a color is matched..its a approximate match.

If you don't agree with that, lol I don't know what to tell you...

Also, when I typed "This is where I disagree" ..I typed that to mean I was going to explain what I disagreed about in the sentence that followed those words. :rolleyes: I was not referring directly to something from your paragraph, instead..the use of the words "is" "actual" and "are" when talking about color, throughout entire thread...:wink2:

Doug Nykoe
03-14-2008, 03:13 PM
For what it is worth Nosaj, I agree with you 100 percent. Recognizing the fact that colours reside in the mind rather than on the object you are viewing is what allows for greater creativity.

Richard Saylor
03-15-2008, 06:32 PM
Color is an objective property of light. The color of an object is the color of the light reflected by the object, which, of course, depends on the color of the light illuminating the object. All of these parameters can be measured objectively (spectral analysis).

Richard

Doug Nykoe
03-15-2008, 07:33 PM
Color is an objective property of light. The color of an object is the color of the light reflected by the object, which, of course, depends on the color of the light illuminating the object. All of these parameters can be measured objectively (spectral analysis).

Richard
So you equate yourself as on par with a machine. Hmmmm strange for an artist to think in those terms. The mind is far more sophisticated than a machine.

Richard Saylor
03-15-2008, 08:26 PM
So you equate yourself as on par with a machine.Your inference is invalid. Hmmmm strange for an artist to think in those terms. The mind is far more sophisticated than a machine.Neat way to change the subject: Draw an invalid inference; create a straw man which satisfies the inference; then discredit the straw man.

Richard

Doug Nykoe
03-15-2008, 08:58 PM
Your inference is invalid. Neat way to change the subject: Draw an invalid inference; create a straw man which satisfies the inference; then discredit the straw man.

Richard
Okay so itís invalid to assume this is how you see or how you might take your cues from scientific machines and then applying this knowledge in your own work, how dry.

So why mention it in the first place? There is no objective colour coming from an object where the mind is concerned or at play in the arts.

Nosaj
03-15-2008, 09:10 PM
Now now..its just a discussion about color...lets not lose respect for one another....easy guys easy...

Anyway..Color of the light..+ human perception= color of an object.

I dont..no if I can say it any simpler than that..

Also..once again, any measurement..of color(spectral analysis)...is still..a subjective..approximation...

Doug Nykoe
03-15-2008, 09:22 PM
Now now..its just a discussion about color...lets not lose respect for one another....easy guys easy...

Anyway..Color of the light..+ human perception= color of an object.

I dont..no if I can say it any simpler than that..

Also..once again, any measurement..of color(spectral analysis)...is still..a subjective..approximation...

I agree, but for my own clarification, human perception can change a muddy dirty colour to a deep rich vibrant colour all on its own while it is engaging with the emotions. So science can identify a colour as in a munsell chip but human perception, well thatís an entirely different ball game.

Richard Saylor
03-15-2008, 10:39 PM
Anyway..Color of the light..+ human perception= color of an object.I would say: color of the reflected light + human perception = perceived color. ...any measurement..of color(spectral analysis)...is still..a subjective..approximation...I agree that such measurements are approximations (as are all measurements of continuous variables), but not that it is subjective.There is no objective colour coming from an object where the mind is concerned or at play in the arts.It is a giant leap to go from the psychological fact that perceived color varies according to context and observer to the metaphysical assertion that objects have no intrinsic color, as Nosaj seems to be doing.

Richard

delicious
03-17-2008, 04:23 PM
"What we see" really is the entire reason artists are relevant. A huge part of learning art is learning to see, and there is always more to learn.

Does it matter how one color alone can be analyzed? Paintings are all relationships. All colors are relative to the other colors near them. All lines and shapes are relative. Musicians don't make notes; painters don't make colors. Musicians make music out of the interplay of notes and painters create visions using the interplay of color. Learning to see color, for a painter, is about learning to see their relationships. I think it's more like choreography than science or math.

I saw the original color as a light peach. It looks duller because the red is so intense and lighter because the red is deep. It doesn't look gray at all to me, but the dullness as I said comes from the red's intensity. Seeing it as more than a gray is part of learning to see.

bigflea
05-09-2008, 09:59 PM
I think the last post goes directly to what I see as the original fallacy stated in the premise of the post (with all due respect to Patrick).

If a painter attempts to solve color solutions by isolating one color out of the entire context of colors, it is likely your mixtures will not solve the problem of recreating a particular sensation of coloring in daylight. So the premise "paint the color you see" does not mean, imo, paint colors as if they exist independently of each other, as if on a color chart at the local hardware store.

Another glaringly obvious discrepency is the likely fact that the photo/jpg. represents the way a camera might record the image. If that is the way my eye saw a sunset, I wouldn't bother trying to paint it. Mainly, the jpg. fails to record the subtle hue qualities the eye will discern in the darkest areas of the image. It translates the sensations, I believe, into rather uninteresting dead neutrals. Visually, at least in my experience, the sunset color composition is far more interesting. The reason this is relevant is that the color of the little greyish sliver in the sky relates directly to the colors one may discern in the darkest areas of the foreground, which are illuminated by the bounce of reflecting light. Your eye will see these color differences, but if you base your painting on a photograph, you will miss the meaning of "paint the colors you see."

In regard to the digital illusion, how can anyone say that represents a satisfactory solution to a visual sensation? While it may be clever, it fails to resolve some very fundamental spatial visual recession situations that the outdoor painter encounters ordinarily. Does no one see what those are?

The refrain " paint the colors you see" ought to be understood and studied as " paint the colors in the chromatic contrast that you can discern." Ofcourse the way I state it is too much for a sound byte. And who wants to actually "study", when we are led to believe we just " paint what we see".

bigflea
05-09-2008, 10:05 PM
The topic, "paint what you see" seems a worthwhile one to develop, to me. I take it Patrick posted this to open up discussion or debate about the problem of painting what our visual experience is.

Bakeneko
05-15-2008, 09:28 PM
Color is an objective property of light. The color of an object is the color of the light reflected by the object, which, of course, depends on the color of the light illuminating the object. All of these parameters can be measured objectively (spectral analysis).
Well, I'd say the absoption/emission spectra of an object are different from color.

Color is a perception in our brains. You can have two totally different spectra of light that are perceived as the same color. For example, the color of the apple on your table is produced by the sum of an infinite number of wavelengths of light; the whole of the visible spectrum is represented at least a little. The color of a digital photograph of the same apple is produced by the sum of exactly three wavelengths of light. The color of an oil painting of that apple is produced again by an infinite number of wavelengths, but it will be a different spectrum than the apple itself. To our brain, these are all the same color even though in physics, they're very different. In fact there are infinitely many combinations of visible light spectra that can produce, to our brain, the same color.

Color's a consequence of anatomy, not just physics, too -- if a bird looked at the apple, the painting of the apple, and the digital picture of the apple, it would see them as three very different colors. The reason we always have a three dimensional color space (CMY, RGB, HSV, YCbCr, etc.) is because we have three types of cones in our eyes. A bird, with four types, would require a four dimensional color space, with four primary colors of paint/light, in order to replicate every visual sensation that it sees in nature. There are even people with optical mutations who see in different color spaces -- some two or one dimensional (colorblindness), others still three dimensional, but with a different set of primary colors, so digital pictures and paintings seem to be incorrectly colored.

And then, of course, not just optical anatomy but also context can change how we perceive color.

Richard Saylor
05-15-2008, 11:27 PM
If you want to subjectify color, that's great. It simplifies things a whole lot. However, an apple is the same color whether I'm looking at it or not, or whether a bird or a dog is looking at it. Different people and different animals may have different perceptions of color, due to the limitations of our visual apparatus.

I prefer to think of the color of an object as a physical property. (Although it may very depending on the illumination, etc.) It can always be represented as a linear combination of spectral frequencies. This may take the form of a finite sum, an infinite series, or a spectral integral (continous sum). We may see different linear combinations of frequencies as the same color, but as I said above, this is due to our anatomical limitations.

Our inability to see the entire spectral emission of an object is probably a good thing. Otherwise we might go mad from an excess of visual stimuli. See Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception.

dsrandall
05-20-2008, 04:06 PM
I for one do not attempt so much to paint the colors I see so much as make a choice as to which of the many colors I wish to accentuate in paint relating to the colors next to each other. We can never do more than approximate what it is we see at best and it becomes a changing thing for me on the day or as the light changes or my mood at the moment. I attempt to reach more of the feel of it, the emotion of the moment.

The colors mixtures of a monitor are additive (light) while paint is subtractive, very different ways to reach a color mix.