Re: Warm/cool visual forces
I just started this lesson with my beginning pastels class; I teach that *in general* warms come forward/cools recede". I broke the discussion down thusly:
First, warms and cools are relative- meaning no specific colour is warm or cool until it is placed next to another colour for comparison. Blue tones are often considered "cool" and yellows "warm" but I then demonstrated how blues could appear much warmer, and yellows much cooler simply by what colour(s) surrounds them.
Secondly, we discussed the graying effect of mixing, either physically or optically, a warm white into a cool blue (or whatever cool) to tint, and how even different blacks and darks can have a "temperature" signature which will influence dark tones. For instance, adding in a van dyke brown to a warm orange will not only darken the orange, but gray it some, too.
This was important for the students to understand, I felt, because while the rule is "cools recede", it really is much more that "greyed colours recede", and it does seem cools are most often at least slightly grayed.
Consider the Grey Cardinal- I do not see the yellow as "warm", so much as "greyed". To me, that greying functions as a "cool" and forces the cloak to recede. The red of the robe in front, while slightly greyed, is still a higher chroma than the yellow, and thus appears, to my eye, "warmer" than the yellow.
I explained and demonstrated for my students for 45 minutes. At the finish, they all look faintly overstuffed- except one who appeared mutinous- but were more than happy to start a still life of sunflowers in a copper kettle. Within a few minutes work, everyone but my mutinous student was beginning to understand through experience how and why the idea "warms come forward and cools recede" was helping them choose their colours and tones. The holdout, though, hated every minute of painting- she absolutely refused to bother skimming a cool lavender over her very pretty, very cheery warm yellow-orange to shadow and push the further blooms back.
Her finished piece looked much like an Elvis on Velvet would.
At least I got paid....
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