Painted Pages: Reading Color I

Painted Pages: Reading Color I

Denim, acrylic paint, hemp cord, board.

Multiple signature binding, each signature composed of a single bifolium.

Cover imagery created by students unloading their paint brushes on to the denim surface, at the end of a class where they painted their own canvas book covers. The resulting painting was ‘captured”, adhered to boards, and used as the collaborative cover of this book.

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And a river ran through it. The End.

For now…

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Siting Santa Monica: Architectural Variety is the Splice of Life

Siting Santa Monica: Architectural Variety is the Splice of Life

An informal romp through  the Pico-Lincoln neighborhood of Southwest Santa Monica yields glimpses of  architectural treasures of all sorts.

WEBaAlleyways across the board in Santa Monica yield moments of contemplation and surprise, like this wall crawling with red blooms, reminding me for all the world, of Southern France.

WEBcFantastical decorative gates are another Los Angeles hallmark, and Santa Monica is no exception.Here an image that has become “au courrant” among the holistic set.

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WEBeGlass bricks, metal and stone flanked by green combine to elegant effect in this vertical structure.

WEBiI wondered if this brilliant yellow and white building was live work space.

WEBjIt looked to be designed with a nautical feel, appropriate to its location in the beach town of Santa Monica.

WEBgVariety is the spice of life, and here in Santa Monica, architectural styles run the gamut. Here we have a study in yellows: bright yellow on the modern, multi-unit building, and earthy ochre yellow on the small neighboring house.

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WEBfVoila, a beautiful ad hoc complimentary set up!  Starring the complimentary pair of purple and yellow hues, opposite each other on the color wheel.

WEBkFinally, another pastoral scene that one sees often in Santa Monica..an outdoor dining set up, in an enclosed area that is right off the street! Santa Monicans, and Angelenos in general love themselves some hedges, fences, plants and gates to create privacy, but true to theatrical form, often right off the busy sidewalks outside their homes! What else would you expect in this glowing and glittering home to the entertainment industry?

Lucky for us, the setting in these parts here has its pastoral side…and a great deal of variety, which makes for some rewarding walks for the  flaneur. Big Fun, and a visual feast…or is it a movable feast?

Let’s get walking!

Color: Coming to (the) Terms

Color: Coming to (the) Terms

Hue: The “color of a color”. Hue is what we usually mean when we ask “what color is that?” Hue is the term for the pure spectrum colors commonly referred to by the “color names, such as red, yellow and blue. Different hues are caused by different wavelengths of light.

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Primary Colors: (Paint colors) Red, Blue, Yellow: the colors which cannot be mixed or created through combinations of other colors.

Secondary Colors: Mixtures of the primary colors: Purple, Orange, Green

Tertiary Colors: Mixtures of a primary and secondary color which are next to each other on the color wheel:: yellow-green, yellow- orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-green, blue-violet (For our purposes, we are using purple and violet to mean the same thing).

Complementary Colors: Colors which are opposite or across from each other on the color wheel. Combining complimentary colors can produce “neutral” browns and grays. . The complimentary pairs are made up of one primary and one secondary color: blue and orange, yellow and purple, and red and green are complimentary pairs.

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Saturation: Also known as “intensity,” saturation describes the strength of a color with respect to its value or lightness. Related to chromaticity, saturation tells us how a color looks under certain lighting conditions. A room painted a solid color will appear different at night than in daylight.Think about Saturation in terms of pale or weak and pure or strong, NOT light or dark.

In mixing colors hues can be desaturated (reduced in purity, weakened) in one of three ways: mix with white to lighten the value (tint), mix with black to darken the value (shade), or mix with gray or the complement to either lighten or darken the value ( tone).

Intensity: The terms Purity, Intensity, Saturation and Chroma are often used interchangeably when discussing color.

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Value: Lightness or darkness of a color, When we describe a color as “light” or “dark”, we are discussing its value. This property of color tells us how light or dark a color is based on how close it is to white. For instance, yellow would be considered lighter than navy blue which in turn is lighter than black.

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Tints: A color with white added to it.

Shades: A color with black added to it.

Tones: A color with gray added to it.

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The Stuff of Color: A Picture Poem

The Stuff of Color: A Picture Poem

WEB_3The Color Wheel Unbound

WEBbPeople Power…San Francisco

WEB_2Shoes, San Francisco, Near Union Street

Dec192011_6429Gradated Tree

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WEBfEarth Hues

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WEB_1Chakra Balancing

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WEBhCarpet Color

WEBaDrinking in Color

WEBd1At the Paint Store,  The West Side of Los Angeles

))2Berkeley CA: The End of the Rainbow

 

Tertiaries: Color Fusion

Tertiaries: Color Fusion

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Recent post explored and celebrated the  Primary Colors and the Secondary Colors.  Today, we play with  those magical fusions of hue, the Tertiary Colors.

Tertiary1Red-orange

Tertiary2Red-violet

Tertiary3Blue-violet

Tertiary4Blue-green

Tertiary5Yellow-green

Tertiary6Yellow-orange

Tertiary colors are created by mixing one primary color, with one secondary color. The names of these mixtures describe their components: Red-orange, Red-Violet, Blue-violet, Blue-green, Yellow-green, Yellow-orange, as depicted above.

The Tertiary color star below lays them all out beautifully and clearly, expressing and elucidating the Traditional painting (RYB, or “Red, Yellow, Blue”) color relationships and mixtures.

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TertiaryCThe Tertiaries play out in nature…red-orange leaves show the glory of Fall.

TertiaryDThis exterior palette showcases hues of both red and blue-violet.

TertiaryEBlue-green expresses fresh and clean…fused as it is, from the colors of grass, new growth,  water and sky.

TertiaryB2Gradations of yellow-green look like the green grass was mixed with sunlight.

TertiaryAThis yellow-orange garage door brilliantly punctuates its gray exterior, creating an accent as powerful as the sun.

What tertiary colors have You used? I hope this post has illuminated these hues for You, and shown You their important place in the RYB color pantheon.

Secondary Colors are Primary Too

Secondary Colors are Primary Too

After posting last week about the Primary Colors (in the paint, print,  dye sense…as opposed to the “light” sense)…I had to give some color time to those marvelous combos of primary colors…the ever-loving, and equally important secondaries!

Web1Purple = Red + Blue

Web2Green= Blue + Yellow

Web3Orange = Yellow + Red

Color WheelInterestingly…the complimentary colors are comprised of colors that are directly opposite, or across from each other on the color wheel.  They are diametrically opposed…complete opposites. These dramatic duets are composed of the pairing of one primary color, and one secondary.  Since each secondary is composed of two primaries, complimentary pairs contain all three primaries between them, and effectually “cancel out” each other’s color properties (I.E.- “neutralize” each other), when mixed.

Web7On the contrary, when placed next or in proximity to each other, secondaries can create brilliant, arresting, and “can’t get enough of it’ color palettes. Seeing Green, orange and purple all together, adding brightness to a house exterior, well, it just wakes up your senses, ready or not!

Web5Purple and orange share a red “parent” color in common. The other two primaries, blue and yellow, are expressed within them as their other color “parents”. That brilliant, hot orange packs the proverbial palette punch as an unexpected accent and frame to the softer purple house body color.

Web6Here we have a pale orange (salmon), with a teal green, punctuated by bright purple flowers. Without the exuberant purple blooms nestled amongst their own green leaves, this exterior color palette might descend into the realm of the ho-hum.

Web8Orange (here with a rosy glow) and green share yellow as one half of each of their wholes.  It is almost impossible for yellow not to add warmth, relating, as it does, to the radiance and heat of the sun. The palette here is integrated with the green leaves of the foliage, which makes the warm rosy orange stand out all the more.

Have You designed solely with secondaries?  What have You come up with?  Working with secondaries, which express, but indirectly, the primaries they contain within them, can create strong, edgy color designs.  Perhaps not for the faint of color heart, but guaranteed to move your blood. A powerful way to tell a color story.

Primary Colors: the Red, Yellow and Blue of It

Primary Colors: the Red, Yellow and Blue of It

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Primary. Colors.  Those that cannot be created by any combination of two or more existing colors. Those from which all other (subtractive) colors are created: Red. Yellow. Blue.

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The blue here is a bit aqua…(has some yellow in it, reducing its primary blue-ness)…but the Blue, Red, Yellow concept remains the same.

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Primary colors standing tall…with both an aqua, and a “true” blue completing the range of primary hue.

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Red, Blue, Yellow (with a bit of orange hue thrown in) are bookish interspersed with black and white.

web8The Red of Red

web6The Yellow of Yellow

web7The Blue of Blue

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Blue, Yellow and Red grace a table setting, flanked by silver, white, gray.

Primary Colors…from whence all hue begins…and the first color story.

The Power of RED

The Power of RED

Whatever you want to say about it…the color RED elicits strong emotions. What are the associations and meanings  of this volatile color, and what does it symbolize to us?

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An effect of light: COLOR

From an energetic point of view, red is related to the Basis chakra (energy center), and influences the sex glands, and sexual energy.  It symbolizes life and reproduction.  Studies show that it is associated with both love and, to a lesser degree,  hatred,  as well as life, heat, fire and blood.

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Life Force

Red is arousing, stimulating,  and exciting, relating to both passion, strength, activity and warmth, as well as aggression, rage, intensity and ferocity.   One aspect, it would seem, that can be agreed upon, is that red is energizing!

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I am RED hear me roar!

 Synesthesia, the experience of a sensory “cross-over“, ” is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.“.  Thus a color may elicit associations with particular sounds, tastes, smells, or tactile sensations.  In the case of RED, is associates with loud sounds, specifically, the trumpet, as well as sweet and strong tastes and odors.  Red’s tactile association is firmness and solidity.

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Firmness, Solidity, Strength: holding it all together

What is in common here? Strength. No  half-way measures here…RED packs the proverbial “punch”.  Indeed, if we are punched, the area where we are impacted more often becomes red quickly, as the  the blow brings up our actual blood in response so healing/repair can begin immediately..  Seeing Red anyone?  Well, here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to You!

Let’s look at happy, healthy, healing and sometimes outrageous but always energizing uses of RED!

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Brilliant RED, setting off the adjacent gray, adds fire to this exterior architectural color scheme! Symmetry is avoided, but balance is achieved.

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Red does double duty here  energizing both door  and address numbers, again framed by cooling gray, which makes the red stand out that much more.

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The red door let’s us know exactly where to go to enter this charming Victorian, which also employs grays and blues and a touch of lavender as a counterbalance to the eye-catching accent door and architectural detail.

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The red side of this bar ties into other red hues in the flow-through living room, as well as the kitchen rug, and other details not pictured, such as a bright red teapot! Fresh white trim frames and accentuates it.

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Red is thought to stimulate the appetite, making it a natural choice for an eating area. In this home, the red of this dining room, and  the blue and gold of the adjoining hallway/entry and living room respectively create a potent triad of primary colors!

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Red associates with love and the heart, and thus is a natural, life affirming accent wall color choice for an organization like Dress for Success, which helps women prepare for fresh starts in their lives.

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The associations of red with grapes and wine may be obvious, especially to those for whom such spirits are their “life blood”. This red accent wall provides a vibrant frame around the vineyard scene.

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Red doesn’t always have to cover the wall to have an impact. Above, it is used as an energizing accent, and makes a statement in the context of the painting, textile, and rug. There is just enough to enliven a smallish room, and add warmth, layering and texture to the predominant hues of beige/cream, white and deep blue.

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The painting of red with turquoise blue in this narrow hallway packs the proverbial punch, and lights up our senses. The brightness and richness of both these colors holds our attention and really keeps us awake!

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Red and turquoise play nice together as strong accents on this painted chair, reminiscent of the Southwestern United States, in both imagery and hue.

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Setting each other off like black on white, the green background makes its compliment, red, pop! Loving ladybugs, anyone?

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Red is the perfect choice for a sidewalk “sandwich” sign, designed to attract attention, inform, point the way, and draw in customers!

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Flying high…the associations are here are clear!

What does RED mean to YOU?!

Coming to Terms: Color & Hue

Coming to Terms: Color & Hue

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Many of us love to “geek out’ on color…whether it be with tools, materials or terms.  There isn’t always agreement about what each term actually means, and some of them seem to overlap.  Maybe some color terms cannot be neatly tied up in one definition…

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Let’s perceive this post as an exploration, an investigation, and a drilling down into some of the color terms we use every day..or, well…often…without perhaps knowing exactly what they mean.  That concept of “exactitude”…might be a little hard to come by, when attempting to define these terms. Perception…that’s the ticket!  We’re going to take this slowly, step-by-step, working (and playing) through the terms, like Noah’s Ark, two by two, starting at the beginning, with Color &  Hue.

What is color? This is one of the best definitions I found:

  1. That aspect of things that is caused by differing qualities of the light reflected or emitted by them, definable in terms of the observer or of the light, as:
    1. The appearance of objects or light sources described in terms of the individual’s perception of them, involving hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources.
    2. The characteristics of light by which the individual is made aware of objects or light sources through the receptors of the eye, described in terms of dominant wavelength, luminance, and purity. (http://www.answers.com/topic/color)

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    In other words: the composition of the light itself, the way the object receiving the light reflects it, and the way our eyes perceive that reflected light.  In other words, in terms of material objects, color isn’t really there…it is an effect of light…how we perceive it.  There is science, physics and optics behind this…but in essence, you might say that color is in the eye of the beholder…

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Sometimes color and hue are used interchangeably, but they are not the same.  Hue is an aspect, attribute, or property of color, along with colorfulness, chroma, saturation, lightness, and brightness, (to be explored in  subsequent posts.)

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I have often defined hue as “the color of a color”.  hue refers to the variety of colors, or, effects of light, that we see, caused by different wavelengths of light. As regards to paint color, the term “hue” refers to a “pure” colors, colors without black or white pigment added, which comprise the color wheel.

WEBcThe color of a color.

The term Hue then, is what allows us to perceive different colors. If color is the overall phenomenon, then hue is its  particulars and specifics. Hue is how color plays out in our brains, through our seeing mechanisms, and thus gives us the richness and range of the color pantheon. It is “the attribute of colors that permits them to be classed as red, yellow, green, blue, or an intermediate between any contiguous pair of these colors….”.  A classification system, allowing colors to be identified and named.

Delving into these terms…becomes more complex then you might think…er then “hue” might think? (!).

Here’s to You…and to Hue, and to coming to terms with Color!

Published in: on July 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm  Comments (6)  
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Intuitive Color

Intuitive Color

I have a bit of a confession to make.  As a color consultant, I go with my gut first- (after full-out discussions with the Client of course, and an assessment of their needs, wants, preferences and desires for their space, business or brand, and its color design).

I take a look at all the information, and at the raw data: the space, walls, architecture, logo, or existing visual identity, and then let my imagination wander.   After I identify my intuitive, initial, and well, gut response, I delve into my source material…my guides, charts, chapters and information garnered from my course of study at the IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers of North America).

I cross-reference my initial, intuitive, and gut-level response with case studies, hard data, and historical info, and  analyze the color  choices from a number of vantage points including the psychological/associative, the sensory and the energetic.

In other words, how do colors make us feel emotionally, physically, and psychologically?  What emotions do we feel, or associate, what physical sensations do we experience, or associate, and what symbolic associations do we make with any particular hue..or combinations of hue?

Can we be healed by color? All of these effects, issues and questions come into play when choosing colors for the garden, the built environment, or a business, institution or organization.  There is no one right answer when determining, choosing or analyzing colors or color combinations for any purpose.  There are theories, the color wheel, associations, and our felt experience.  All of these must be brought to bear on our color decision.  Let’s look at some evocative color combinations in art, nature and life.  Evocative of…what?  Well might you ask.

Sometimes a complimentary ( opposite each other on the color wheel) color duo is necessary to add punch, accent or contrast, even within a range of softer, pastel hues.  Pale yellow and periwinkle blue cross into yellow and purple territory, creating contrast, without becoming jarring.

 Analogous colors (those next to each other on the color wheel), can work together to communicate a feeling, a brand,or a niche based on associations with nature. The analogous combination of blue and green  is a natural to express tranquility, life, truth, growth and hope.

Combinations of two secondary hues, such as green and lavender can create a feeling of both variegation and  harmony. The colors are contrasting, but also related, as they share the common element of blue.

We can look to the associations colors have with emotions to  better understand our reactions to them. Hatred can be associated with both red and black. This may be mitigated by the addition of white and pale yellow. How much each color is used is also a factor in how we respond to the color composition  as a whole.

Blue and orange, another complimentary pair, combine the tranquil and noble associations of blue with the happiness and joviality of orange. Tension or balance or…both?  We are held rapt by a sky both ethereal and dramatic.

Perhaps the employment of all three primary colors (red, yellow and blue) is the most dynamic of combos.  These colors, in near pure form, happily vie for attention in all their aspects, creating a brilliant, dynamic harmony.  This image keeps us awake, stimulates our minds, and enlivens our senses..  Like visual acupressure, all the points are touched..

Coming full circle, we return to the gradated harmonies of sea, mist, fog and sky…with the silhouette of a tree branch and a distant piece of the red-hued  Golden Gate Bridge thrown in for good measure.  Don’t “analyze this”…just let it wash over you…and trust your intuition, your gut response…they won’t lead  you wrong with color…ever.  ” This above all: to thine own self be true,” in color, and in life.   Is there a distinction?