• Holiday Note: Our Quick Tips and this Newsletter will run on schedule during the holidays in November and December, but there won't be a livestream workshop in December.
Have you ever thought about how our colors came to be labeled warm or cool?
Think about it: We feel temperature through sensory perception. We associate color with how we know a temperature to feel. We perceive yellows and reds and their mixtures as warm because humans' original
experience with fire is for warmth. And we perceive blues and mixtures of blue to be cool because we experience cold as blue.
For as long as I can remember, there has been a color debate about which is cooler--ultramarine blue or phthalo blue. From my viewpoint, we can resolve that debate by - you guessed it -- the traditional color
Nobody disagrees that ultramarine leans a bit towards violet (containing red), and that phthalo leans more towards green (containing yellow).
But some folks declare phthalo cool and ultramarine warm. Is that really accurate?The argument derives from the notion that red is warmer than yellow. To examine that, let's refer back to the colors in
The warmest part of a campfire is at the base of the flame which is yellow, but as the flame cools, it gets more orange. As the embers cool they turn from orange to red . From that viewpoint, yellow is the warmest part of a campfire flame.
So why wouldn't yellow be the warmest color on the color wheel? I think it is.
In that case, since ultramarine blue is the blue leaning towards red, and phthalo is the blue leaning towards yellow, doesn't that indicate that ultramarine is the coolest color of the two?
Enjoy a fun weekend seeing temperatures in blues!
During my Language of Painting series, I explained the role of our visual elements. If you'd like to review those roles to better understand the behavior of elements, here are the links to each of those
discussions: Color --Value -- Shape -- Texture -- Size -- Line and Direction
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