On Color TheoryAn analysis and criticism of modern color theory by James E. Cain 02 May 2008IntroductionColor has a powerful quality; its personal expression affects our mood, reflects our choices of dress or transportation, it colors the language and delights us on the fourth of July. The study of color goes as far back as the ancient Greeks and throughout history was discussed by a variety of scientists and artists. Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Issac Newton, Johann Goethe, Michel-Eugene Chevreul, and many others made significant contributions to the study and discussion of color. Modern color theory, however, is largely derived from the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus (1919-1933) was a German school with a primary objective to unify art and technology. Instructors at the Bauhaus compiled previous discussions of the study of color, forming them into a single curriculum. Subjective experiences were rejected in favor of controlled conditions where color and art could be discussed through the language of science rather than through the prism of art. The legacy of the Bauhaus had the most impact on color theory. Johannes Itten, an instructor at the Bauhaus, is credited as a major and original contributor to the study of color, despite being largely a compiler of past information. Many Bauhaus theories of color only work in the classroom and dissolve with real-world application. Even so, the Bauhaus theories continue today to “pass on these ideas in the same way children pass on the croup.”1Though the Bauhaus opened art for all people, its reliance on scientifc all-or-nothing principles infected its students, propogating a detached view of art, making them susceptible to mistakes introduced by instructors attempting to find a universal application. Principles of Color TheoryColor is created when light strikes a surface, causing certain wavelengths to be absorbed, while others are reflected. The reflected wavelength is interpreted by our eye as a specific color (“red”, blue”, etc).Additive mixing: the mixing of light.Subtractive mixing: the mixing of pigments (paint). In subtractive mixing, secondary and tertiary mixes are always darker than the primaries they are made from. The more colors that are added together, the more wavelengths are absorbed, and thus less wavelenghts are reflected.Color wheel: a circular representation of the colors and their relationship to one another. The color wheel is almost always a guide for subtractive, not additive mixing.Primary colors: Typically: red, yellow, and blue.Secondary colors - Also named: yellow-red (orange), yellow-blue (green), and red-blue (violet). Results when two primary colors are mixed.Tertiary colors - Also Intermediate colors. Results when a primary and a secondary color are mixed.Principles of Color Theory, continued:Hue: Pure color without the addition of black, white, or gray. (Fully saturated).
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 4 pages?
- Fall '19
- Test, color of theory