Blue and Yellow don’t make green

I’m interested in whether any other members use/have experience with  Michael Wilcox’s color theory. 
Abstraction
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Comments

  • When I mix blue and yellow I get green. I don't know what Michael Wilcox gets.  I'll Google him and see.
  • Mmm... I don't think I need that book. 
  • edited August 23
    Yes, amazing book. I understood colour mixing theory better from that book than anything else I've seen, heard or read. I still use the warm and cool versions of each primary as per his suggestion and understanding his method helps me hit the colour I'm after.
    @tassieguy , I think you are underestimating this book. This is science, not some hack author. Even if you can find it at a library it's worth a look.
    Counter-intuitively, if you could find perfect pigments of blue and yellow (or any complementaries) they would make black. The blue pigment would absorb virtually all the reflected yellow, and the yellow pigment would absorb all the reflected blue. That actually happens in colour mixing. The fact that they don't make black but green (and some blues and yellows make very murky greens while others make stronger greens) tells us a lot about the secondary colours of each pigment and how pigments cancel each other. Yes, you get green. But blue and yellow don't make green, they leave behind slightly weaker greens. The main colours are cancelled out. They are usually weaker than pure pigment greens because they are secondaries not cancelled out by eachother. The theory he articulates, based on very good science, is really helpful for understanding colour mixing.
    SuezMichaelDrsluk
  • Thanks for that, @Abstraction. In that case I will take a look at it. 
  • @rsluk, The book is worth reading if you are new to working with color and have trouble mixing the exact colors and temperatures you want to paint with using a basic three tube color primary set of paints or are working with too many tubes that you don’t understand how to use harmoniously. 

    Of course there are many ways to learn these things that were not available to the general public at the time the book came out that are easily available these days with the internet and all.



  • @Abstraction, I’m a slow typer - missed your great response before posting my weak one, lol.

    Amazon has a used hardcover copy of the book for $9.
    Abstraction
  • I had the book, and read it all some years ago. I have several issues with it, and I agree with Bruce MacEvoy's comments which he states here:
    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/book3.html#wilcox
    Unfortunately most of this is incorrect as a description of subtractive color mixing (paint mixtures end up much darker than this calculus implies they should be), and it ignores a much simpler rule for predicting intense or dull paint mixtures: the farther apart two paints are on a color circle, the duller their mixture will be. The whole complementary color calculus, and the scheme of splitting "primary" colors into "warm" and "cool" pairs, are needless complications devised to salvage the 18th century conception of "primary" colors.

    From my experience I also agree with his views on a split primary palette compared to a secondary palette:
    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color14.html#splitprimary


    MichaelDtassieguy
  • I have seen the book advertised for an insane £176. Its still available new on the authors website for around 20 quid.
  • I have issue with all of the color theories. Too many aspects of pigments, etc., are left unaccounted for as they apply to paintings.

    It’s not so much which colors are used as how the materials are used by the painter in a painting.
    Pulling off colorful truly life-like looking paintings is extremely rare throughout the ages attests to this, imo.
  • @rsluk
    have you mixed yellow and blue? If so what did you get?
    tassieguyMarinos_88
  • edited August 25
    That link leads to a very interesting critique of the book, @Richard_P.  I think I was right in saying that I don't need this book.  When I mix blue and yellow I get green. I don't care what theorists say. I get green. :)
    allforChrist
  • So yes, I have mixed yellow and blue but had I used a pure blue and a pure yellow I would have mixed a pure black. The reason is that “pure” color doesn’t contain any impurities and the two colors would totally cancel each other out leaving only black. We use impure pigments and the resultant green is what remains of those impurities once yellow and blue cancel each other. I suppose one could try to prove the theory using spectral light, I’m not sure how to (technically) identify a pure primary color though.
  • @rsluk
    we work with artist colors not light theory.
  • We work with imperfect pigments and color theory. Light physics is another topic and is not light  theory, whatever that may be.
  • edited August 26
    I love green. So thank goodness for the impurities in imperfect pigments. I guess impurities in plants' pigments cause them to look green. We see green and want to make plants look green when we paint them. And green is what we get when we mix blue and yellow. Surely, that's all that matters to artists. Although, the science is fascinating.
    allforChrist
  • Absolutely agreed. 
    Wilcox teaches a color bias palette. A yellow that leans toward green and one that leans toward orange. A blue that leans toward purple and one leans toward green. A red that leans toward orange and one that leans toward purple. Through the use of two blues and two yellows, each color left or right of the theoretical pure primary color. These 6 “primary” colors allow us to more closely emulate the colors in nature that we are wired to love. 
    tassieguyAbstraction
  • I agree, @rsluk. I've developed a system like this, more or less intuitively, through mixing colours for landscapes. I use a warm and cool version of colours. I learned it just through practice trying to match colours using Mark's system.  Now, when I start to paint a landscape, I know I'm going to need a warm and cool blue, a warm and cool yellow etc. So I mix these before I start painting. I then adjust the values and chroma of these using their complements and white as I paint. You can do all this with just the red, yellow, blue, black and white as taught by Mark. But I have found that I can save time and get more accurate and vibrant colours by using pure pigments such as the Phthalos, for example,  and the earth colours. Yellow ochre, for example, is a good warm yellow. And it's much cheaper than Cadmium. And when mixed with violet you can make some wonderful shadow colours with it. Same with the greens. Phthalo green mixed with cheap red oxide gives wonderfully dark but warm greens. You just learn this stuff by doing. 

    Colour theory has it's place, for sure,  but nothing beats getting down and dirty and actually mixing pigments and learning the results by heart so that you know almost intuitively how to mix any colour seen in nature without having to look it up in a textbook.  It's like playing the piano. You can know all the theory in the world, but unless you practice those scales and arpeggios you will never be able to play with fluency and grace.

    I've been painting for only about six years and am still learning about colour. But what I can say for certain is that no book on colour theory would have been of much of practical help without getting down and dirty with the pigments. Painting is a very hands-on business.
    rsluk
  • I went to Art College for 4 years in the UK and then a few months here in the USA at the New School. What I was taught about color was unhelpful. Learning Wilcox´s color bias theory helped me dial things in and offer some degree of predictability in my mixing skills. Too often I have messed up a good thing by taking a wrong guess and then committing to it. 
    tassieguy
  • edited August 26
    Ok. I think there are lots of judgements flying around here from people who haven't read it. (@richard_P noteworthy and respected exception.) I'm going to further defend a book that presented ideas that I use every time I mix. :) As with anything, when I read it I didn't consume every idea he presented. If you go to a banquet and don't like the prawns, leave the prawns not the banquet. I look at colour theory from multiple lenses. This is one of them.
    Despite the critique* I understand how to make green or an incredibly subtle neutral warm grey or any colour much better for reading this book. The idea that the book is somehow theory not useful for understanding how to paint with real paints is simply incorrect. It helped me understand pigments and after reading it I can intuitively grab the correct blue or earth colour to shift a mix where it needs to go. Many of you will have achieved this through experience with pigments, of course. Well, this for me was a significant short-cut. I can intellectually analyse what is needed and that saved me years of mud-making. It used to be my frustrating side-hobby when painting: adding the slightly wrong colour to a mix, over-correcting with slighly wrong pigment back and forth until the inevitable mud.
    I don't see it as an exhaustive work on all aspects of colour and which specific pigments to buy - but excellent principles for selecting a range of pigments (he doesn't dictate which pigments, but principles) and understanding what they will do when you mix and what is happening. I stand by that. Darker or lighter is not addressed from memory as per @Richard_P comment. Pure colour theory has moved on, and I reference that learning also, nevertheless I still apply key principles from this book that I've not seen articulated as well.
    (*Critique: MacEvoy makes some very valid points particularly on precise formulas. I also think he is overly dismissive. Many of his criticisms are on side issues and don't address the main thesis. One of his central criticisms may be a misinterpretation of Wilcox - but I'm open to correction. My loyalty is to facts not any text or pet theory. I have emailed Wilcox website to see their response.)
    Let's be frank - most of us work quite successfully with traditional colour theory of primaries, with some adjustments here and there. So MacEvoy sardonically evoking the image that Wilcox is stuck in 1839 or 1700s tells me more about the person giving the critique than it does about Wilcox. Change to different theory or map and Wilcox's central observations are still applicable - I know that because I do that.
    @tassieguy He never says anywhere we don't get green when we mix yellow and blue. You're reacting to the title. I think on page one he clarifies that - of course we get green. Nevertheless his book title is also completely correct. And like most good paradoxes, this hides useful truth.
    rsluktassieguy
  • Here is a link to a video of mixing neutral. All the color here is mixed from just red, blue and yellow.

    https://youtu.be/lFysN1BYBeU

    I 've posted this before and other color mixing stuff in this Color Mixing thread.
    Suez
  • @Abstraction, I haven't read the book so I agree that it would be unfair for me to consign it to the trash can based on the one negative critique that I have read by MacEvoy, however valid that critique may be.  But criticizing the book was not what my post was about. I was just pointing out that reading theory alone will not make one good at mixing colours. You have to actually practice it. That's all I was saying. Theory has its place. For example, knowing about complementaries and how to neutralize with them is extremely useful. But knowing that IF it were possible to get pure blue and pure yellow pigments and mix them one would get black, strikes me as of limited use to painters. As far as I know there are no such pure pigments. But, as you say, he points this out early in the book. Still, I find the title annoyingly misleading. It points to a scientific fact that is of no use to painters and it is that which turned me off he book before I even read MacEvoy's critique. But if folks can get past that, and if what you say about MacEvoy's critique is right, then the book might be a useful reference. 
    Abstraction
  • @Abstraction, Michael Wilcox’s book “Glazing” is very interesting, too. I didn’t find his book of color charts, (bought from his website), worthwhile though, as everything seemed quite pale. Maybe I should reread it.

    Personally I prefer Kingston’s much older color mixing method which he’s shared on several threads here. 


  • CBGCBG -
    edited August 26
    Yes, amazing book. I understood colour mixing theory better from that book than anything else I've seen, heard or read. I still use the warm and cool versions of each primary as per his suggestion and understanding his method helps me hit the colour I'm after.
    @tassieguy , I think you are underestimating this book. This is science, not some hack author. Even if you can find it at a library it's worth a look.
    Counter-intuitively, if you could find perfect pigments of blue and yellow (or any complementaries) they would make black. The blue pigment would absorb virtually all the reflected yellow, and the yellow pigment would absorb all the reflected blue. That actually happens in colour mixing. The fact that they don't make black but green (and some blues and yellows make very murky greens while others make stronger greens) tells us a lot about the secondary colours of each pigment and how pigments cancel each other. Yes, you get green. But blue and yellow don't make green, they leave behind slightly weaker greens. The main colours are cancelled out. They are usually weaker than pure pigment greens because they are secondaries not cancelled out by eachother. The theory he articulates, based on very good science, is really helpful for understanding colour mixing.
    IMHO 

    References here of "Perfect pigment" are a bit of a strawman argument, as it implies perfect "color" equals optical frequency of a single wavelength. "Color" as a human experience, is not equivalent to the wavelength of light, but instead a complex combination of excitations of the three different cones as well as the rods, in any patch of light no matter how much of the different wavelengths of light are present.

    It may be that the science of light and the science behind our perception of color are useful, and perhaps these are even well presented in the book.  IMHO The claims that understanding the science is revalotory or somehow contradict practical knowledge, are overblown. 

    What is "prefect" brown pigment? Or "perfect" magenta pigment?  Neither of these correspond to a single wavelength of light.  or Shall we say brown and magenta are not colors? or they are somehow illusory because we cannot find a single wavelength of light which corresponds?

    To me that would like saying the sound of a Violin or a Trumpet, a crying baby, leaves rustling, a dog barking, or a wave crashing were not "perfect" sounds, simply because none is a pure sinusoid.   Pure sinusoids are exceedingly rare in nature, whereas "sounds" are multitudinous, and we have known and have heard and talked about a multiplicity of them for hundreds of thousands of years.  Understanding that pure sinusoidal sound waves exist does not overturn the fact that almost all the different sounds we hear are nothing like them, nor imply that we cannot speak or think of sounds as we do or that all those sounds are not sounds at all.  This applies exactly the same to vision, and the colors we have known and seen and talked about for hundreds of thousands of years.


    Human vision and perception is what dictates color, color is how we experience naturally occurring multiple different wavelengths of light interacting with our three kinds of cones which are each broadband and overlapping in their sensitivity range.  The ratio of the signals from the different types of cones dictates what color we perceive, this overwhelmingly and normally comes from light of multitudes of wavelengths in every patch of color you see. 

    In nature pure frequencies are extremely rare, yet color abounds.


    An object which includes red and green microscopic reflective elements IS yellow, it does not only appear yellow.  It could be some part of a rock or some part of a biological object.  it could be anything.  The fact that from our cones we experience yellow, is what makes that composition of matter reflecting red and green frequencies a yellow object.  Our perception of color is and never was about single frequencies, nor is it about any attributable color for the individual microscopic particles which we only ever see as part of a combination. Color is what we see.

    An object which gives rise to a yellow experience IS yellow no matter what frequencies are present or why they are present.



    Mixing a pigment which IS blue, with a pigment which IS yellow, WILL in a vast majority of contexts (in reality) create a patch of pigment which... IS.... you guessed it... GREEN.


    I haven't read the book, the science might be good, but the claims, especially to overturning existing color theory or anything close to a counter intuitive revelation.... seem a bit of a gimmick for the unwary.

    IMHO


    Desertsky
  • CBG, The title of the book was a gimmick that played into the problem so many self-trained painters were having getting good green colors they wanted. Remember - this was pre-internet for mos.The artist magazines back in the day were filled with articles addressing the problem in pretty unsatisfactory ways. 

    Most know now that a split complimentary pallette would work was not the general case back then so many bought this book, learned how to get good greens, and pretty much accepted Wilcox’s “Science” because it worked for them to get the green, etc., which the knowledgeable of that era were not sharing.



    Abstraction
  • edited August 26
    tassieguy said:
    It points to a scientific fact that is of no use to painters. 
    I understand your point, but - in fact it is of great use to painters.
    At primary school we all complained that the paint they gave us didn't make good purple. I now know why.
    Pigments reflect some of every wavelength at different levels. And they also absorb different wavelengths of light at different levels. They tend to mainly reflect one wavelength, and then have a secondary reflected colour on either side of it. This is useful information. (I'll simplify a little for discussion.)
    For example, blue pigments reflect more blue than any other wavelength. The secondary wavelength of any pigment will be immediately beside it on the colour wheel - so either violet or green. Which one is secondary will make it either cool or warm in our perception.
    French ultramarine reflects blue at the highest level and then a smaller amount of violet wavelength. So it's a warm blue. Green is its third strength wavelength, and much lesser amounts of the other wavelengths. Prussian blue reflects blue first, then a weaker amount of green, then an even weaker violet in that order. It's a cool blue. So if you want to mix a strong violet from red and blue, then use french ultramarine (with secondary violet) with a cool red such as as alizarin crimson (secondary violet). The pigment particles do not change colour when you mix them. Rather the blues and reds become cancelled out by being partly absorbed by the other pigment. You are left with their weaker secondary violet from each pigment. It has less chroma, less light reflected, because they don't reflect violet as well as their primary colour. Because they aren't, primarily, violet pigments. But it's a good strong mix.
    Blue and red can also make murkier violet. If instead you chose a warm red (leaning orange) and a cool blue like prussian, for both pigments the violet is not secondary, it is usually the third colour for these pigments, so you will get a more murky violet - which is sometimes just what we want - but it is weak in terms of colour strength because you are cancelling out the strongest reflective wavelengths.
    The more you mix, the less the chroma you end up with - the duller it gets. Understanding this means at times I don't mix every colour - sometimes I use pure (or close to) tube colour for a violet if I really need it to sing. 'I can mix any colour' neglects the fact that the more you mix, the more light is absorbed.
    As stated, you will intuitively know this in your mixing after years of experience rather than the book. But this gave me the insight on what was happening and why mixed colours sometimes end up... insipid.
    However, I can't at all help you with the fact the title annoys you. =)
    rsluk
  • CBG said:

    References here of "Perfect pigment" are a bit of a strawman argument, as it implies perfect "color" equals optical frequency of a single wavelength.
    Agree with a lot of your points which make good clarifications, but not all. :) The 'perfect pigment' is not a straw man argument. If you haven't read it you're missing how he used it. In the context of the book it is is an intelligent and valid* way to illustrate that -
    a) Pigments don't change colour when we mix them. They absorb each other's primary reflected frequencies. What's left will be weaker and depends on which pigment you mixed it with.
    b) Each pigment also reflects wavelengths our brain doesn't perceive because we just see, say a warm blue. It's a warm blue because it's secondary wavelengths are towards violet. If you subtract it's main wavelength and so it will now reflect mainly a weaker secondary hue of violet light, or if you mix it with a yellow, an even weaker green. We can't see that secondary hue of ultramarine as violet until we mix it and subtract the dominant blue.
    c) If you know what that secondary hue is of a colour, which is third - you can predict your mix more accurately. 
    d) The more subtractive colour mixing you mix down to, the duller the resulting colour.
    * There are examples in science and other areas like this. I'm too tired to think of one right now. If you call me on it I will come up with one. :)
    rsluk
  • Ok, example of unrealistic illustration to make a critical point in science - not a particularly modern one, but still: =)
    Archimedes: Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.
    Grumpy people: That's ridiculous. There is no lever that long and it would bend. And where are you going to find a fulcrum? Good luck with that! And for that matter, why are you trying to move the earth? It's moving anyway and you'll destroy all life if you throw it off its orbit.
    Other grumpy people: That's got nothing to do with mixing blue and yellow.
    tassieguyDesertsky
  • Another unrealistic illustration to make a critical point in science - Me: Give me a glass of water and a blue feather and I can make the blue of the feather vanish from the earth.  :o
  • CBG said:

    References here of "Perfect pigment" are a bit of a strawman argument, as it implies perfect "color" equals optical frequency of a single wavelength.
    Agree with a lot of your points which make good clarifications, but not all. :) The 'perfect pigment' is not a straw man argument. If you haven't read it you're missing how he used it. In the context of the book it is is an intelligent and valid* way to illustrate that -
    a) Pigments don't change colour when we mix them. They absorb each other's primary reflected frequencies. What's left will be weaker and depends on which pigment you mixed it with.
    b) Each pigment also reflects wavelengths our brain doesn't perceive because we just see, say a warm blue. It's a warm blue because it's secondary wavelengths are towards violet. If you subtract it's main wavelength and so it will now reflect mainly a weaker secondary hue of violet light, or if you mix it with a yellow, an even weaker green. We can't see that secondary hue of ultramarine as violet until we mix it and subtract the dominant blue.
    c) If you know what that secondary hue is of a colour, which is third - you can predict your mix more accurately. 
    d) The more subtractive colour mixing you mix down to, the duller the resulting colour.
    * There are examples in science and other areas like this. I'm too tired to think of one right now. If you call me on it I will come up with one. :)
    These seem to be good and useful observations.  I have no quibble with anything he has to add to the giant body of knowledge that came before him.

    I defend that body of knowledge and our traditional language surrounding it because I believe the marketing surrounding Wilcox’s “school” of color and perhaps his need to stand out from the crowd has led him to overstate the historical importance of his tips and tricks.

    Nothing against him personally, we should take into account the further details he is presenting not throw any past knowledge out.
    Abstraction
  • I wonder if Monet thought about this sort of thing...
  • edited August 29
    I doubt it. I think Monet was too busy mixing the colours that he saw. He developed a profound knowledge of the mixing behavior of his pigments through his practice. Monet is reported to have said (jokingly of course) that he wished he had been born blind and suddenly regained his sight so that he could paint the world in the the colours that he actually saw, without knowing what the objects he was seeing were. So, instead of painting trees, which are supposed to be green, he would just paint the  colours that he saw and, by putting those colours in the right place, trees would emerge more vibrantly than if he had drawn a tree and just coloured it in with green. He understood that a tree is broken up into many shades of, blue, yellow, red etc. I imagine that if someone had presented Monet with the fact that science had shown that pure yellow and pure blue would make black, it would have been a matter of supreme disinterest to him. He was only interested in painting the colours he saw with the actual pigments that he had. And in doing so, he had a huge impact on the development of art.
  • Monet was painting at a time when there was robust development of chemical pigments which produced a surge in manufacturing of oil paint on a large scale. I think the arrival of new pigments must have been a big deal for the impressionist movement in general.
    tassieguy
  • Yes, @rsluk, I'm sure that's true. 
  • Monet painted the colors he wanted us to see.
    He was a extremely influenced by M. E. Chevreul. The Principles ofHarmony and Contrast of Colors and Their application to the Arts 1849. Buy the book. A bit arcane maybe but it's a nexus point in understanding color.
  • edited August 30
    I'd say Monet wanted us to see what he could see. He saw a world around him shimmering with colour and atmosphere which was so different from the traditional, academic interpretation of landscape. He wanted to share it. He helped us see the world anew, more vibrantly and, in terms of colour, more true to life than what landscapists had produced before. Some say he ended up going too far - form became completely dissolved in light. But the later paintings work for me as colour poems - near abstract, scintillating reveries.
    rsluk
  • I have the Wilcox book, but I learned more that was useful to me from Bruce MacEvoy's website www.handprint.com.  What I found most useful is his "Artist's Color Wheel" at
    cwheel06.pdf (handprint.com) .  It's useful for estimating how to mix colors once it is understood.  

    Based on the recommendation of  @KingstonFineArt, I am now going through The Principles ofHarmony and Contrast of Colors and Their application to the Arts .  It will take some time, since it is a 500 page book!  I'm just in the introduction and already have a much better understanding of why colors appear to change when placed adjacent to other colors.  I downloaded a scanned copy for free at archive.org.  It's available in black and white reproductions on Amazon, but the scanned version has the color plates in color.  
    Suez
  • Here’s an interesting extract from Chevreul’s work relative to the discussion. Note that he refers to mixing yellow and blue as resulting in a hue of yellow or a hue of blue. 

    ‘‘COLOURS ARE MODIFIED IN HUE AND INTENSITY”
    ‘When one pure colour is added to another pure colour, in increasing proportions, we obtain hues of the colour receiving that addition.
    Thus we may add to pure blue increasing quantities of red or of yellow, and so long as the blue predominates, the compound is a hue of blue but so soon as the red or the    yellow predominates in  the mixture it passes into a hue of red or of yellow.
    Thus, proceeding from pure Blue, by adding yellow we obtain various hues of Yellowed blue, until we arrive at blue-Yellow, or Green. Any further addition of yellow carries the Blue into the yellow hues, and we have bluish-yellows until at length we arrive at pure
    yellow“

    he doesn’t really define where green starts or stops, who could?
  • That’s a useful chart @mstrick96. I don’t see bismuth yellow on it but I can see where it would sit.
  • @GTO, the bismuth yellow is right under the cad lemon on the chart.
    GTO
  • Experience and colour memory. Much has been made on the forum of the place that experience and colour memory plays in a painter’s world today. Monet has been given as an example of these factors. Maybe it was to emphasise a point but what seems to have been completely overlooked is Monet’s enthusiastic embrace of the work of the French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul. M.E. Chevreul’s work was centred firmly on the science of light. It was that understanding of light that allowed Monet to work as described by members of your forum. It was that scientific knowledge that guided and changed his work from being representational to the depiction of sensation.

    I feel that it was the influence of the science of the day that sees an exhibition of Impressionist paintings attracting a vast audience. Maybe our modern attitude is behind the reason that to attract the public to many of today’s exhibitions thought has to be given to the wine on offer.

    If any of your forum members wish to question me on any of the other details in the critique they can simply drop me a line. I am happy to answer any and all questions.

    Regards to all. Michael Wilcox

    Abstraction: I also separately asked for further clarification on the diagram critique. Whilst I'm not fully articulate on full science of colour / spectral analysis, I am reasonably strong with logic and arguments and it seemed like an apples and oranges comparison and misrepresentation of the diagram. It appears this was the case. There were other areas where I noticed MacEvoy appear to misrepresent concepts in a derisive way, selective phrases to make the work sound unscientific of simplistic when it was well-explained in the text, and I have to say that kind of critique raises questions for me. This was Michael's response to the diagram - the blue text being MacEvoy's:


     







    rslukSueztassieguyMichaelD
  • rsluk said:
    Here’s an interesting extract from Chevreul’s work relative to the discussion. Note that he refers to mixing yellow and blue as resulting in a hue of yellow or a hue of blue. 

    ‘‘COLOURS ARE MODIFIED IN HUE AND INTENSITY”
    ‘When one pure colour is added to another pure colour, in increasing proportions, we obtain hues of the colour receiving that addition.
    Thus we may add to pure blue increasing quantities of red or of yellow, and so long as the blue predominates, the compound is a hue of blue but so soon as the red or the    yellow predominates in  the mixture it passes into a hue of red or of yellow.
    Thus, proceeding from pure Blue, by adding yellow we obtain various hues of Yellowed blue, until we arrive at blue-Yellow, or Green. Any further addition of yellow carries the Blue into the yellow hues, and we have bluish-yellows until at length we arrive at pure
    yellow“

    he doesn’t really define where green starts or stops, who could?
    @rsluk,  What part of the book was that taken from? Was he talking about painting or tapestry color?
    It makes a big difference.

    Where did you read the book? The version I read on google books did not include his extensive color charts. Have you seen his color charts?



  • @Suez, I don't know which version @rsluk has, but I found a scanned copy on archive that has the color charts.  It's a scan of a very old book, so the colors are stained and faded but clear enough to understand the point they are illustrating.  Here's the link.  

    The principles of harmony and contrast of colours [electronic resource] : and their applications to the arts : Chevreul, M. E. (Michel Eugène), 1786-1889 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

    A very useful part of the book is the Translator's Introduction.  He states that much of the most useful information is scattered through the book, so he wrote an introduction that brings that information together in one place.  

    The translator also states that the book cannot simply be read, it must be studied.  There are some interacting concepts and pulling out just one statement will lead to misunderstanding.  Studying it reminds me of when I was in college trying to comprehend some advanced mathematical concepts!  It will take two or three times through just the Translator's Introduction to understand what Chevreul is saying.
    Suezrsluk
  • I'm glad this discussion came up!  I didn't get much out of the Wilcox book when I first got it.  Now that I've been through some of MacEvoys information and am going through Chevreul's book, I think I might understand Wilcox's information better.

    There's a statement that I think is true!  "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."    I might be ready for Wilcox now!
    Suezrsluk
  • No I haven’t seen any colored charts BUT here’s the full text of that reference fwiw.

    Introduction. Page xxxii

    COLOURS ARE MODIFIED IN HUE AND INTENSITY.

    When one pure colour is added to another pure colour, in increasing proportions, we obtain hues of the colour receiving that addition.

    Thus we may add to pure blue increasing quantities of red or of yellow, and so long as the blue predominates, the compound isa hue of blue ; but so soon as the red or the yellow predominates in the mixture, it passes into a hue of red or of yellow.

    Thus, proceeding from pure Blue, by adding yellow we obtain various hues of Yellowed blue, until we arrive at blue-Yellow, or Green. Any further addition of yellow carries theBlue into the yellow

    hues, and we have bluish-yellows until at lengthwe arrive at pure yellow.

    On the other side, by adding to pure Blue increasing quantities of Red, we obtain various hues of reddened blue until we arrive at blue-red, or Violet ; any further addition of red carries the blue into the red hues, and we have bluish-reds, until at length we arrive at pure red.


    TONES.

    When we add to a pigment, taken at its greatest intensity, in-creasing portions of white, which weakens its intensity, and of black, which deepens it, we produce various Tones of that colour.

    It is understood that the pigment must be taken pure, and free from the admixture of grey or black. In the Rainbow, we find the colours of the prismatic spectrum, but of a lighter or weaker tone.

    It is usual to call the weak tones of a colour tints, and the deep tones shades, but very often theword hues, is indiscriminately applied

    to those modifications of a colour.

    Greater precision, therefore, in the language of colours, will be obtained by limiting the term tones to the modifications a colour un-dergoes by the addition to it of white or of black, producing a series of tones, light and dark. The term hues must be limited to the modifications a pure colour experiences when varying portions of another pure colour are added to it. If the colours are rendered impure by the presence of the third primary, they become broken colours or greys.

    Suez
  • rsluk - I have not read the book you are quoting from, so my comments may not be an accurate interpretation of what Chevreul wrote.

    However, I disagree with the "Tone" discussion. Adding any amount of white, black, or any combination of white and black together will always decrease the intensity of the color, if intensity means saturation or a position on the outside of a color wheel. I personally find it useful to make distinctions between the results of color+white (tint), color+gray (tone), and color+black (shade). These three variations will look different in your painting, and so it is good to know. 

    Also, the "Colors are Modified" section, while it may be accurate, is written in a way which is not easy to understand. He leaps from blue to blue-yellow (AKA green :)  ) and then passes to yellow, without spending much time in green. I find this not useful, as green for me is a real color.  

    I quit reading about color theory some years ago because many art writers got it wrong - presenting a combination of additive and subtractive color, or using light spectrum to present what happens when one mixes oil paint on a palette, or lessons from commercial printing or television production or.... Goethe anyone? Of course the physics of light is the basis of color, but this is not always useful and can be misunderstood. Mixing the purest yellow and purest blue paint I can find will always give me  green paint - not black. I have read the Wilcox color book, found it moderately interesting, and have forgotten most of it. This is not a criticism of the research and the writing itself. it just did not give me useful information I could apply to my painting. 

    If someone finds reading various color theories or even just one explanation useful, then I support him or her in this. However, if one doesn't find it useful, then I would advise to not bother. I think one could spend many hundreds of hours reading competing theories, and still not have a good grasp of what happens when you mix your paint. 

    I really like and understand Mr. Carder's straightforward approach to mixing and matching paint. I find it very useful to do color charts for harmonies like Richard Schmid recommends. Immediately obvious and practical. I find it very useful to take my painting out of the studio (AKA laundry room) and place it in different parts of the house and watch what happens to its colors with different light sources at different times of the day. 

    My goal is a good painting whose affects are what I planned, and not just happened by accident. 
    Abstraction
  • @mstrick96, That’s an awesome linked version! Really easy on the eyes for reading, too. Thank you.

    I agree this one will require several reads and experimentation to comprehend fully. 

    Chevreul was a very meticulous investigator, inventor, and writer - a real scientist of the first waters and had to teach the world’s various specialties what all these new pigments were and how to use them - few others knew how to do that. No small task.

    Although my hobby of collecting historic natural dyed textiles makes me hate the utter destruction of historic knowledge which was lost in that period I am fascinated by finding out what happened and to learn more of what I need to know now. 

    I’ve been well enough to sit out on the deck every day for a little while - studying light. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what was casting the most beautiful glowing red colored light into deep shadows at a certain time every day. At first I thought it must be reflecting off the redwood stain somehow but couldn’t track a path. I tried each day to capture it in photos but it didn’t show up at all on those. Finally I got my ahha/duh moment when I realized the red glow was from the sun hitting my eyelids just right and the red glow from the blood vessels in my eyelids was causing the shadows to glow.

    Looking forward to following in Chevreul’s footsteps of experimentation, too.
    rsluk
  • Suez said:
    Another unrealistic illustration to make a critical point in science - Me: Give me a glass of water and a blue feather and I can make the blue of the feather vanish from the earth.  :o
    Maybe I should have explained. There is no blue in bird feathers. When they get wet the blue is lost because the blue is caused by structure not pigment.
    Abstraction
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