Sunday, 19 September 2010

Itten's colour squares

The squares illustrate nicely that colours can effect each other. What I find harder to classify is how they affect each other and what quality – hue, saturation, tone or value has the most effect.

I found that subtle values behave like Itten states; darker values come forward, warmer hues come forward. But where the contrast is strong, it can go either way. The two colours fight for attention and will shift backwards and forwards.  Also, when in a figurative context, our brains make logical sense of a picture, and will push objects into their proper place in the context, regardless of hue and value.
James Gurney does a lot of experimenting in his blog about how the eye is tricked in certain situation. One example actually shocked me and really made me understand how relative our colour perception really is.

James Gurney's colour experiment. The two marked squares are exactly the same colour.
Don't believe it? Next only the two squares are shown.

Inducing colours:
Basic experiments like this always fascinate me. It proves elegantly the idea of complementary colours.
Click the image to go to a larger version. Stare at the dot in the red cross for 20 secs. No moving about! Then move your eyes to the dot below.

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