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September 4, 2018

Navigating the RGB Color System

Navigating the RGB Color System

Navigating the RGB Color System

The purpose of the RGB color system is to display a colored image within an electronic system, such as a television, computer, or any digital image, before print. It is a complex system. However, if you are a digital artist or web designer, it's good to know the basics.

Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) are added together in various ways to produce a broad array of colors in this additive color method.

Each color is described by the strength of the Red, Green, or Blue components. These values specify the intensity of the colors with three numerical values for each, from 0 (none) to 255 (full intensity).

Within RGB, possible decimal notations include: Red is equal to 255, 0, 0 (Red at full intensity, no Green or Blue); Green is equal to 0, 255, 0 (Green at full intensity, no Red or Blue); and Blue is equal to 0, 0, 255 (Blue at full intensity, no Red or Green).

Decoding RGB

When Red is equal to (255, 0, 0), this means Red at full intensity with no Green or Blue. Green is equal to (0, 255, 0). This means Green at full intensity with no Red or Blue, etc.

Creating Colors with RGB Values Red Value Green Value Blue Value
Red 255 0 0
Green 0 255 0
Blue 0 0 255
Maroon 153 0 0
Yellow 255 255 0
Gray 153 153 153


RGB Value 0 17 34 51 68 85 102 119 136 153 170 187 204 221 238 255
Red
Green
Blue


Converting RGB Numbers to Web Colors

Web colors are usually specified using hexadecimal notation, not RGB decimal notation. The hexadecimal system is an alphanumeric base-16 system. F is the highest value, and 0 is the lowest value. The whole counting range is 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F.

Hexadecimal Number System:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

Color is coded by the strength of its Red, Green, and Blue components within the RGB system. The HTML hex color value template is 'RRGGBB.' RR is the Red intensity, GG is the Green intensity, and BB is the Blue intensity. A combination of six hexadecimal digits displays the digital translation, where the hex values for each color can range from a high of FF to a low of 00.

For example, FF9900 is the hexadecimal code for orange (255, 153, 0) in RGB notation. The first two digits represent the amount of  Red. The following two digits represent Green. The last two digits represent Blue.

On a 256 color monitor, only the R of Red, the G of Green, and the B of Blue affect the color, except for pure colors and grays, where only 6 of the hex digits have any effect. Those digits are F, C, 9, 6, 3, and 0. The most practical two digits are FF, CC, 99, 66, 33, and 00. We could also use F0, C7, 95, 61, 3A, 0E instead of FF, CC, 99, 66, 33, 00 and get the same results on a 256 color monitor, but it might come out slightly different on higher resolution monitors.

There are millions of combinations of colors within these six alphanumeric digits, but only 216 of these colors can be safely displayed by every browser. The 216 web-safe colors are always a combination of the following values:

Hex 00 33 66 99 CC FF
RBG 0 51 102 153 204 255

The Browser Safe Color Palette

Web-safe colors are the set of 216 colors common to most browsers. A palette created from such colors is often called a web-safe or browser-safe palette because it produces consistent results on different platforms and browsers. When an image is displayed in a 256-color screen mode, this set of colors is never dithered.

If a designated color is not included in the default palette, the browser will choose two colors to closely replicate it. This substitution of color is called "dithering." That is why specific images may look speckled or grainy. Text will not be "dithered," but it will be displayed in the palette using the following color closest to it.

The chart below contains the 216 "Non-Dithering" palette colors showing both the RGB and the hexadecimal codes.

Non Dithering Color Chart
RGB
(0,0,0)
Hex (000000)
RGB
(0,0,51)
Hex (000033)
RGB
(0,0,102)
Hex (000066)
RGB
(0,0,153)
Hex (000099)
RGB
(0,0,204)
Hex (0000CC)
RGB
(0,0,255)
Hex (0000FF)
RGB
(51,0,0)
Hex (330000)
RGB
(51,0,51)
Hex (330033)
RGB
(51,0,102)
Hex (330066)
RGB
(51,0,153)
Hex (330099)
RGB
(51,0,204)
Hex (3300CC)
RGB
(51,0,255)
Hex (3300FF)
RGB
(102,0,0)
Hex (660000)
RGB
(102,0,51)
Hex (660033)
RGB
(102,0,102)
Hex (660066)
RGB
(102,0,153)
Hex (660099)
RGB
(102,0,204)
Hex (6600CC)
RGB
(102,0,255)
Hex (6600FF)
RGB
(153,0,0)
Hex (990000)
RGB
(153,0,51)
Hex (990033)
RGB
(153,0,102)
Hex (990066)
RGB
(153,0,153)
Hex (990099)
RGB
(153,0,204)
Hex (9900CC)
RGB
(153,0,255)
Hex (9900FF)
RGB
(204,0,0)
Hex (CC0000)
RGB
(204,0,51)
Hex (CC0033)
RGB
(204,0,102)
Hex (CC0066)
RGB
(204,0,153)
Hex (CC0099)
RGB
(204,0,204)
Hex (CC00CC)
RGB
(204,0,255)
Hex (CC00FF)
RGB
(255,0,0)
Hex (FF0000)
RGB
(255,0,51)
Hex (FF0033)
RGB
(255,0,102)
Hex (FF0066)
RGB
(255,0,153)
Hex (FF0099)
RGB
(255,0,204)
Hex (FF00CC)
RGB
(255,0,255)
Hex (FF00FF)
RGB
(0,51,0)
Hex (003300)
RGB
(0,51,51)
Hex (003333)
RGB
(0,51,102)
Hex (003366)
RGB
(0,51,153)
Hex (003399)
RGB
(0,51,204)
Hex (0033CC)
RGB
(0,51,255)
Hex (0033FF)
RGB
(51,51,0)
Hex (333300)
RGB
(51,51,51)
Hex (333333)
RGB
(51,51,102)
Hex (333366)
RGB
(51,51,153)
Hex (333399)
RGB
(51,51,204)
Hex (3333CC)
RGB
(51,51,255)
Hex (3333FF)
RGB
(102,51,0)
Hex (663300)
RGB
(102,51,51)
Hex (663333)
RGB
(102,51,102)
Hex (663366)
RGB
(102,51,153)
Hex (663399)
RGB
(102,51,204)
Hex (6633CC)
RGB
(102,51,255)
Hex (6633FF)
RGB
(153,51,0)
Hex (993300)
RGB
(153,51,51)
Hex (993333)
RGB
(153,51,102)
Hex (993366)
RGB
(153,51,153)
Hex (993399)
RGB
(153,51,204)
Hex (9933CC)
RGB
(153,51,255)
Hex (9933FF)
RGB
(204,51,0)
Hex (CC3300)
RGB
(204,51,51)
Hex (CC3333)
RGB
(204,51,102)
Hex (CC3366)
RGB
(204,51,153)
Hex (CC3399)
RGB
(204,51,204)
Hex (CC33CC)
RGB
(204,51,255)
Hex (CC33FF)
RGB
(255,51,0)
Hex (FF3300)
RGB
(255,51,51)
Hex (FF3333)
RGB
(255,51,102)
Hex (FF3366)
RGB
(255,51,153)
Hex (FF3399)
RGB
(255,51,204)
Hex (FF33CC)
RGB
(255,51,255)
Hex (FF33FF)
RGB
(0,102,0)
Hex (006600)
RGB
(0,102,51)
Hex (006633)
RGB
(0,102,102)
Hex (006666)
RGB
(0,102,153)
Hex (006699)
RGB
(0,102,204)
Hex (0066CC)
RGB
(0,102,255)
Hex (0066FF)
RGB
(51,102,0)
Hex (336600)
RGB
(51,102,51)
Hex (336633)
RGB
(51,102,102)
Hex (336666)
RG
B (51,102,153)
Hex (336699)
RGB
(51,102,204)
Hex (3366CC)
RGB
(51,102,255)
Hex (3366FF)
RGB
(102,102,0)
Hex (666600)
RGB
(102,102,51)
Hex (666633)
RGB
(102,102,102)
Hex (666666)
RGB
(102,102,153)
Hex (666699)
RGB
(102,102,204)
Hex (6666CC)
RGB
(102,102,255)
Hex (6666FF)
RGB
(153,102,0)
Hex (996600)
RGB
(153,102,51)
Hex (996633)
RGB
(153,102,102)
Hex (996666)
RGB
(153,102,153)
Hex (996699)
RGB
(153,102,204)
Hex (9966CC)
RGB
(153,102,255)
Hex (9966FF)
RGB
(204,102,0)
Hex (CC6600)
RGB
(204,102,51)
Hex (CC6633)
RGB
(204,102,102)
Hex (CC6666)
RGB
(204,102,153)
Hex (CC6699)
RGB
(204,102,204)
Hex (CC66CC)
RGB
(204,102,255)
Hex (CC66FF)
RGB
(255,102,0)
Hex (FF6600)
RGB
(255,102,51)
Hex (FF6633)
RGB
(255,102,102)
Hex (FF6666)
RGB
(255,102,153)
Hex (FF6699)
RGB
(255,102,204)
Hex (FF66CC)
RGB
(255,102,255)
Hex (FF66FF)
RGB
(0,153,0)
Hex (009900)
RGB
(0,153,51)
Hex (009933)
RGB
(0,153,102)
Hex (009966)
RGB
(0,153,153)
Hex (009999)
RGB
(0,153,204)
Hex (0099CC)
RGB
(0,153,255)
Hex (0099FF)
RGB
(51,153,0)
Hex (339900)
RGB
(51,153,51)
Hex (339933)
RGB
(51,153,102)
Hex (339966)
RGB
(51,153,153)
Hex (339999)
RGB
(51,153,204)
Hex (3399CC)
RGB
(51,153,255)
Hex (3399FF)
RGB
(102,153,0)
Hex (669900)
RGB
(102,153,51)
Hex (669933)
RGB
(102,153,102)
Hex (669966)
RGB
(102,153,153)
Hex (669999)
RGB
(102,153,204)
Hex (6699CC)
RGB
(102,153,255)
Hex (6699FF)
RGB
(153,153,0)
Hex (999900)
RGB
(153,152,51)
Hex (999933)
RGB
(153,153,102)
Hex (999966)
RGB
(153,153,153)
Hex (999999)
RGB
(153,153,204)
Hex (9999CC)
RGB
(153,153,255)
Hex (9999FF)
RGB
(204,153,0)
Hex (CC9900)
RGB
(204,153,51)
Hex (CC9933)
RGB
(204,153,102)
Hex (CC9966)
RGB
(204,153,153)
Hex (CC9999)
RGB
(204,153,204)
Hex (CC99CC)
RGB
(204,153,255)
Hex (CC99FF)
RGB
(255,153,0)
Hex (FF9900)
RGB
(255,153,51)
Hex (FF9933)
RGB
(255,153,102)
Hex (FF9966)
RGB
(255,153,153)
Hex (FF9999)
RGB
(255,153,204)
Hex (FF99CC)
RGB
(255,153,255)
Hex (FF99FF)
RGB
(0,204,0)
Hex (00CC00)
RGB
(0,204,51)
Hex (009933)
RGB
(0,204,102)
Hex (00CC66)
RGB
(0,204,153)
Hex (00CC99)
RGB
(0,204,204)
Hex (00CCCC)
RGB
(0,204,255)
Hex (00CCFF)
RGB
(51,204,0)
Hex (33CC00)
RGB
(51,204,51)
Hex (33CC33)
RGB
(51,204,102)
Hex (33CC66)
RGB
(51,204,153)
Hex (33CC99)
RGB
(51,204,204)
Hex (33CCCC)
RGB
(51,204,255)
Hex (33CCFF)
RGB
(102,204,0)
Hex (66CC00)
RGB
(102,204,51)
Hex (66CC33)
RGB
(102,204,102)
Hex (66CC66)
RGB
(102,204,153)
Hex (66CC99)
RGB
(102,204,204)
Hex (66CCCC)
RGB
(102,204,255)
Hex (66CCFF)
RGB
(153,204,0)
Hex (99CC00)
RGB
(153,204,51)
Hex (99CC33)
RGB
(153,204,102)
Hex (99CC66)
RGB
(153,204,153)
Hex (99CC99)
RGB
(153,204,204)
Hex (99CCCC)
RGB
(153,204,255)
Hex (99CCFF)
RGB
(204,204,0)
Hex (CCCC00)
RGB
(204,204,51)
Hex (CCCC33)
RGB
(204,204,102)
Hex (CCCC66)
RGB
(204,204,153)
Hex (CCCC99)
RGB
(204,204,204)
Hex (CCCCCC)
RGB
(204,204,255)
Hex (CCCCFF)
RGB
(255,204,0)
Hex (FFCC00)
RGB
(255,204,51)
Hex (FFCC33)
RGB
(255,204,102)
Hex (FFCC66)
RGB
(255,204,153)
Hex (FFCC99)
RGB
(255,204,204)
Hex (FFCCCC)
RGB
(255,204,255)
Hex (FFCCFF)
RGB
(0,255,0)
Hex (00FF00)
RGB
(0,255,51)
Hex (00FF33)
RGB
(0,255,102)
Hex (00FF66)
RGB
(0,255,153)
Hex (00FF99)
RGB
(0,255,204)
Hex (00FFCC)
RGB
(0,255,255)
Hex (00FFFF)
RGB
(51,255,0)
Hex (33FF00)
RGB
(51,255,51)
Hex (33FF33)
RGB
(51,255,102)
Hex (33FF66)
RGB
(51,255,153)
Hex (33FF99)
RGB
(51,255,204)
Hex (33FFCC)
RGB
(51,255,255)
Hex (33FFFF)
RGB
(102,255,0)
Hex (66FF00)
RGB
(102,255,51)
Hex (66FF33)
RGB
(102,255,102)
Hex (66FF66)
RGB
(102,255,153)
Hex (66FF99)
RGB
(102,255,204)
Hex (66FFCC)
RGB
(102,255,255)
Hex (66FFFF)
RGB
(153,255,0)
Hex (99FF00)
RGB
(153,255,51)
Hex (99FF33)
RGB
(153,255,102)
Hex (99FF66)
RGB
(153,255,153)
Hex (99FF99)
RGB
(153,255,204)
Hex (99FFCC)
RGB
(153,255,255)
Hex (99FFFF)
RGB
(204,255,0)
Hex (CCFF00)
RGB
(204,255,51)
Hex (CCFF33)
RGB
(204,255,102)
Hex (CCFF66)
RGB
(204,255,153)
Hex (CCFF99)
RGB
(204,255,204)
Hex (CCFFCC)
RGB
(204,255,255)
Hex (CCFFFF)
RGB
(255,255,0)
Hex (FFFF00)
RGB
(255,255,51)
Hex (FFFF33)
RGB
(255,255,102)
Hex (FFFF66)
RGB
(255,255,153)
Hex (FFFF99)
RGB
(255,255,204)
Hex (FFFFCC)
RGB
(255,255,255)
Hex (FFFFFF)












Have you ever worked with color in Photoshop or used the additive color method?

August 3, 2018

Urban Sketch or Art Journal?

Urban Sketch or Art Journal?

Urban Sketch or Art Journal?

Sketchbooks or journals (visual or handwritten) are all diaries. They are a record of events, observations, news, or thoughts of a personal nature. It's been a long-standing tradition. Each artist has their own reason for keeping one or more and may have several, each dedicated to a specific medium, technique, or subject matter.

Art Journaling Versus Urban Sketching

Sketchbooks or journals help the artist personally articulate what they see, feel or experience throughout their lives. Through the centuries, artists have kept notebooks in which they experimented and recorded themselves, which may or may not be for show.

'Art Journaling' and 'Urban Sketching' are modern-day art movements influenced by artists connecting with each other over the internet, which have exploded in the last decade. Each involves the use or practice of a sketchbook or journal. However, both have a very different approach & philosophy for making art!

What is Urban Sketching?

Most urban sketchers strive to improve upon their drawing or painting skills. It's a global community of artists that practice drawing on location in cities, towns, and villages where they live or travel. The book "The Urban Sketcher" by Marco Taro Holmes, published in 2014, details the birth of the Urban Sketching (USk) movement, started in 2007 by journalist Gabriel Campanario on Flickr.

We show the world, one drawing at a time!

--Urban Sketcher Motto

Marc Taro Holmes: Milk, Tea, Honey Approach in Watercolor

Urban Sketcher Approach

  • Draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  • Drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live, and where we travel.
  • Drawings are a record of time and place.
  • Be truthful to the scenes we witness.
  • Use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  • Support each other and draw together.
  • Share our drawings online.
  • Show the world, one drawing at a time.

I love to draw and paint places and things I love, whether it be the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the humble flora and fauna of my homelands in the Sonoran Desert, or instruments of music.

--Stacy Egan, Art Verve Academy Instructor

Stacy Egan, Urban Sketch

Stacy Egan, Art Verve Academy Instructor

What is Art Journaling?

Regardless of whether or not you have any art training, all you need is some supplies and a willingness to play. It's an easy way to add more creativity to your life or just relaxes, don't worry about what it looks like.

'Art Journaling' is often associated with a process that requires no prior drawing or artistic ability. It's all about self-expression. Anything goes. Choose whatever media you want. Scribble, doodle, stamp, or stencil. Collage, paste things in or layer over the page with gesso. Most pages go through several stages and are layered via mixed media techniques. If you draw or paint something, use your memory, imagination, or a reference.

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p. 82

Art Journaling Techniques

  • Making a collage with torn-out images from a magazine
  • Layering gesso or paint over collage
  • Doodling, scribbling, or stenciling
  • Mono printing, Mono typing, or printing
  • Stamping or stenciling (you can make your own)
  • Creating lists – i.e., wish lists, grocery lists
  • Focusing on a theme: such as gratitude, a recent trip or vacation, visualization, or the things you love
  • Words quote or writing out your feelings (and then covering it with paint if you wish!)
  • Sewing fabric, paper, or beads onto journal pages
  • Bookbinding and making your own journals by hand
  • Rip out pages or cut windows into pages

I was drawn to art journaling because I love color and I didn't think I could draw well. Art Journaling gave me a venue to be creative and helped me develop my own artistic process.

--Michele Vaughan

Michele Vaughan's Art Journals

Michele Vaughan, Art Verve Academy Instructor

Art Journaling Magazine

In every issue of Art Journaling, artists open their journals and share creative techniques for capturing their emotions. Each journal is filled with innovative techniques, from stamping and collage art to painting and sketching. Detailed photos and commentary help you discover your journaling style, with hints and tricks for creating a stand-out page.

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p.14

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p.28

Art Journaling Magazine. 2018 Jul/Sep/Aug p.8

Links to More Information

July 2, 2018

What is Texture?

What is Texture?

What is Texture?

"Texture" is both a tactile and a visual phenomenon. It refers to the roughness or smoothness of a surface, i.e., the physical feel, appearance, or consistency. Every material has a different touch or tactile quality to it. However, smooth surfaces also have textures such as marble or wood. In the visual arts, "texture" is one of the "Visual Elements of Design" and falls into the following categories.

What is Texture?


Tactile Texture

Also known as 'physical texture' refers to the actual variations or surface. It can be felt by touch, i.e., animal fur can be smooth or rough.

When the light hits the physical variations, it casts a shadow that appears as a pattern. It won't appear in shadows or areas of shade because it needs light to stand out or be seen.

Tactile Texture


Visual Texture

Visual Texture

Or implied texture is an illusion. It is created on a two-dimensional surface, in drawing or painting, and makes the appearance of a physical texture. For example, paint-spattered from a toothbrush in watercolor will create visual texture. The visual texture created may portray the subject matter realistically. However, the texture appears as a repeating pattern without a sense of structure or form (i.e., cone, cylinder, sphere, cube-type shading, etc.).

In a drawing, implied texture can be created by repeating shapes, dots, lines, stenciling, or mark-making. Remember to use the edges or contours of the object to enhance the texture (i.e., fur does not have a smooth edge around it, it looks furry).

A visual texture may also be produced by some types of drawing papers with a lot of tactile texture or 'tooth.' These papers are considerably rougher than computer or printer thin sheets of paper. Paper with a lot of 'grain' or 'tooth' may not be best suited for creating the illusion of a flat, smooth surface or texture. However, it's suitable for 'graining,' a drawing technique that involves the gradual build-up of marks or medium over the 'grain' of the paper. The texture of the paper will come through and add to the overall visual and textural effect.

Yume Gardens by Christy Olsen.
Pen & ink on watercolor paper heightened with gouache. 8x14.

Detail of 'Graining'
(build-up of ink from brayer & brush on cold press watercolor paper)

In oil painting, visual texture can be created with a physical build-up of paint, a technique called 'impasto.' The paint protrudes from the canvas or board. The painter uses a palette knife to add globs of paint or build up layers that appear as textured areas.



Natural Texture

Belongs to a specific organic element created by the natural world, such as the grain of a piece of wood, reptile skin, or elephant skin. However, a smooth, polished surface such as marble is also considered a natural texture.

Marble has a "Natural Texture."


Hyper Texture

Or artificial texture is created by a computer or cyber graphics simulating surface texture. Textures are produced by adding minor distortions across the surface of an object or by describing the texture in a repeating photograph.

Simulated or "Hyper Texture"

April 28, 2018

What is Nōtan (濃淡)?

What is Nōtan (濃淡)?
Yin & Yang

What is Nōtan (濃淡)?

Nōtan (濃淡) is a Japanese word, meaning dark-light. There is no English language equivalent. It embodies an ancient Eastern concept, in which all things exist as inseparable and in perfect harmony.

The idea of Nōtan (濃淡) is embodied in the ancient Eastern symbol of Yin and Yang. It consists of two mirrored shapes revolving around a point of equilibrium. One white (positive area) and one black (negative area) are opposites, and both are equal. Together these shapes create a unified whole with inseparable parts (Botherwell, 1968).

An idea is similar to an ecosystem. If one component is removed, the whole system will be affected. Within black and white opposites, there is no conflict. The opposites' complement' each other. Neither seeks to negate or dominate over the other. They only relate together in perfect balance because they are equal. The white shape has a similar weight as the black and vice versa.

This concept of Nōtan (濃淡) evolved thousands of years ago in Chinese philosophy, dating from the third century BCE or earlier (Wikipedia, 2018). A balanced interaction between opposites differs from the Western idea of opposing or competing opposites. One competes with the other, for example, 'good' versus 'evil,' 'heaven' verses 'hell' or the 'Spy vs. Spy' comic.

Spy vs. Spay

Nōtan (濃淡) was not familiar in Western culture until the late 19th century, when Japan opened its ports to trade. As a result, Japanese art, especially Japanese woodblock prints, gained popularity across Europe. Many artists, especially the French Impressionists, were influenced by these new images and ideas. American artist and educator Arthur Wesley Dow, studying in Paris, wrote a series of books about the concept, which worked its way into art education. Dow wrote the books specifically for art teachers, who westernized the idea into a tool now used for the design of shapes.

Dow uses the dark-and-light concept to design an interplay between lines and the contrasting values of shape to create balance and structure within the composition. It becomes an exercise that the artist practices in preparation for a larger painting. It encompasses the intellectual aspects of the design and composition, which can be easily changed or readjusted in changing the values or simplifying the shapes further.

Various light-dark designs from Dow's Book



Artist's Example

by Christy Olsen

Step 1: Work from a subject with a single light source, so you have some light and dark tones.

Still Life with Single Lighting Source

Step 2: Simplify all values into 3 distinct tones of light, gray & black. Squint to help you force the shapes into the closest of three values. I used a black and gray magic Tombow marker to help me simplify the values.

'Notan' in 3 tones

You can also simplify the design even further into two values, which is hugely limiting. However, it will expose any unbalanced aspect of your design. If both positive and negative spaces are of equal weight, they become visually equally important. If the positive and negative shapes are unequal, the dark shapes should be adjusted to balance the composition. You can also simplify the design by connecting darker shapes together, creating a more powerful statement, or changing the value of an object to make a rhythm of alternating values.

'Notan' in 2 tones

Here is the final painting. I changed some of the values from my original notan design. The color of the purple pot within the mid-tones was competing with the tangerines, so I put the pot into the dark zone, which helped accentuate the lighter tone and color intensity of the tangerines.

African Violets. oil on board. 9x12.

Why is a study that helps us identify distinct values and shapes so important? Because the underlying shapes and values which define the composition are not always so obvious.

Underneath every great painting is a contrast of lights & darks without it, objects begin to blend together which makes it hard for us to determine one shape from another.

Finished painting in black & white to against 'Notan' study.

The value defines shape & form. Painters use value to determine one object from another or one plane from another. Underneath every great painting is a contrast of lights & darks; without it, objects begin to blend together, making it hard for us to determine one shape from another. Contrasting lights and darks in paintings define the subject for viewers far away.

Bibliography


  1. Botherwell, D. (1968). Notan, The Dark-Light Principle of Design. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
  2. Wesley Dow, A. (1899). Composition Understanding, Line, Notan, and Color. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
  3. Wikipedia. (2018), wikipedia.org.

April 3, 2018

The Color of Light

The Color of Light
Color of Light

The Color of Light

When it comes to 'hue' or color, lighting is everything. Without some form of light, we cannot see color. When lighting conditions are low, we only see 'value,' the lightness or darkness of an object, not the 'hue' or color.

Whether it's yellow sunlight, blue light reflected from the sky, or orange candlelight, painters are always concerned with the 'hue' or color of the light.



Temperature of Light

Light temperature or 'chromaticity describes the 'hue' or color of the light (or as viewed on a neutral surface illuminated by the light) whether it's warm, cool or something in between.

Light temperature is rated in Kelvin degrees, one of the seven base units in the International System of Units (SI), assigned the symbol 'K.' It can also be defined by using "XY" coordinates against a standard chromaticity scale determined by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE). Since 2012 all light bulb boxes are now required to tell consumers where the bulbs fall on the color spectrum, so selecting the bulb color/temperature is much easier.

Measuring the Color of Light

Not all white light is the same. The lower the Kelvin number, the 'warmer' or more yellow the light. The higher the Kelvin number is, the 'cooler' or bluer the light will be. White light bulbs are usually in the middle of the scale, measuring 3500K to 4100K. It's counter-intuitive, regardless of the light source, because photons themselves have no heat. Not what you would expect if you measured a boiling pot of water or the temperature outside.


Not all white light is the same.


Daylight Throughout the Day

Daylight experiences color shifts throughout the day. Direct sunlight at noontime is an almost perfectly balanced light source—it contains all colors in nearly equal quantities. The color appearance of objects changes dramatically in the early morning or shade.

The morning sun is a cool yellow; the noontime sun is a warmer yellow; the afternoon sun becomes reddish; the setting sun is orange and casts an orange glow on everything it illuminates.


Natural Light Changes Throughout the Day


Natural Light in the Studio

There's no substitute for natural light, and artists love to have it in the studio. North-facing windows are the preferred natural light source because these lighting conditions are the most consistent throughout the day. It allows them to get more work done using this natural lighting condition. If windows are east or west-facing, the light changes dramatically from morning until night. East-facing windows see the rising sun (cooler). West-facing windows see the sunset (warmer).

Too much light may be overwhelming and strain the eyes, especially if it is blasting on the white paper or canvas you are working on. You may need some blinds or curtains to control the amount of light coming in.



Quality of Light

CRI, or color rendering index, is a numerical scale (0 to 100) used in lighting to indicate how a light source will make the color of an object appear to the human eye. RI measures the quality of light and is independent of color hue/temperature.

The morning sun is a cool yellow; the noontime sun is a warmer yellow; the afternoon sun becomes reddish; the setting sun is orange and casts an orange glow on everything it illuminates.


CRI measures the quality of light

If you are looking to purchase lights to work with indoors, you need to determine your end goal before choosing which type of bulb. In many cases, this difference is not essential. However, for specific applications such as illuminating art or comparing fabric in retail clothing stores, CRI can make all the difference. If you have gallery representation, use the same light bulbs that your representatives can see your work in the same lighting conditions.

The higher the CRI number, the better the color rendering ability which reduces glare and will equate to sharper, crisper, and more natural colored objects. Light sources with a CRI of 85 to 90 are considered good at color rendering. Light sources with a CRI of 90 or higher are excellent at color rendering and should be used for tasks requiring the most accurate color discrimination.