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Color & Eye Function for Middle School Painting

How does the eye see color?

Lindsey Foushee

on 28 January 2016

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Transcript of Color & Eye Function for Middle School Painting

Colors occur as a result of how information is received through the eyes and how that information is interpreted in the brain.
How We Perceive Light & Color
Color Harmony and
Color Harmony= hues with a balanced energy that go well together
Used in the informational function of color
Main function is clarity
Based off the color wheel
Symbolism and Functions
Perceptions and Emotions
Color can be used to manipulate our emotions without us realizing it
how the eye sees color
Color Symbolism
Desaturation Theory
" The desaturation theory asserts that one way of reducing the blunt and brazen impact of high -energy colors in a quiet, introspective scene is to lessen their saturation, give them a monochrome tint, or omit color all together."
...meaning that if you have a soft scene and want to evoke a soft perception, then the color should be desaturated, giving the scene a low-energy feel.
Saturated vs Desaturated
Saturated Colors:
make events too external
look at instead of into the scene
make us realized we're watching
lets us know we aren't too emotionally involved
Desaturated Colors:
can become emotionally involved in the scene
event can become more transparent
audience can apply psychological closure (filling in missing elements of scene
can intensify the mood
color can be used to create low and high-energy, depending on the coolness or warmness of the colors used
Low vs High-Energy
Low-Energy Colors:
serve as a unifying element for high-energy colors
usually backgrounds, walls
colors include: white, beige, soft colors, etc
High-Energy Colors:
usually accessories to the scene
i.e upholstery, plants, rugs, etc.
colors include: orange, blue, yellow, green
need more light than rods
each type of cone detects a certain light wave, which is why colorblindness is caused by people missing one type of cone
high resolution image of colored object

help us see in dim light, but can only detect shades of gray, not colors
slightly fuzzier images than with cones
The rods and cones in your eyes can be tricked by using certain color combinations. You can make thoughtful color choices depending on the effect you want.
Color Context
Color Contrast
With the balance of high and low energy...
...you have "more control over the total effect irrespective of the various camera points of view
Color Wheel
Created by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666
"circular diagram of colors"
Numerous variations designed by scientists and artists
3 categories: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary colors
Red- anger, passion,rage, desire,speed, strength, heat, love,danger, excitement.
Yellow- wisdom, relaxation, joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, hope, sunshine, illness, hazard.
Pink- love, innocence, soft, delicate, happy, content, romantic, feminine, playfulness, charming.
Blue- loyalty, tranquility, calm,stability, harmony, trust, cleanliness

Black- power, sophistication, evil, sadness, depth, fear, mystery, anonymity, remorse, anger.

White- Protection, love, purity, simplicity, peace, birth, winter, cold, sterile.

Green- healing, soothing, nature, environment, good luck, renewal,
proud, self awareness, youth,
jealousy, fertility, envy.
Purple- magic/supernatural, royalty, nobility, spirituality, intimacy, sensitive.
Orange- humor, energy, balance, warmth, enthusiasm.

Colors cause an emotional reaction to the viewer. These reactions can be so strong that color is not only used for symbolism but medicinal and religious purposes
A Divide In Culture
There is a difference in meaning regarding Eastern culture and Western culture
For example...
Color Meanings
Red: Excitement, energy, passion, love, desire, speed, strength, power
In Western society
Yellow: Joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine
Blue: Peace, tranquility, cold, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence
Green: Nature, environment, healthy, good luck, renewal, youth, spring, generosity
Orange: Energy, balance, enthusiasm, warmth, vibrant
Color Meanings
In Eastern society
Gold: Strength, wealth, Evil or sadness- Just like in the western world- black
Green: Eternity, family, harmony, health, peace, posterity
White: Children, helpful people, marriage, mourning, peace, purity, travel
Red: Happiness and good fortune
Colors in Medicine
The color blue has a calming effect on many people and lowers respiration and blood pressure
Some therapists use green to sooth and relax people who suffer from anxiety or depression
Yellow helps energize people and relieves depression
How Does the Eye Work?
How Light Enters the Eye
Eye Function & Light
When light enters the eyes, it passes first through the cornea, a transparent cover.
Below the cornea is a watery fluid called the aqueous humor.
Light then passes through the pupil, which is an opening in the colored part of the eye called the iris. The size of the pupil increases when there is less light and decreases when there is more.
Light next passes through the lens, which focuses the light through a transparent gel, called the vitreous body, onto the retina. The retina has two types of light sensitive cells, rods and cones.
Rods are sensitive to shades of light and outlines, and they are important in both night and peripheral vision.
Cones are specialized to detect either red, green, or blue. Cones enable people to see details.
When a person looks at an object of a particular color for a long time and then suddenly looks at a blank space, the person sees a ghostly outline of the object in its complimentary color.
Overstimulation of color receptors in the eye causes them to become "fatigued". Looking at white removed the burned out cone color, leaving the complementary color.
The value (A & B) and intensity (C & D) of the background can change the appearance of smaller color areas.
On the left, the green bar appears to have a greener tinge when compared to the right, where it seems redder (B). The bar actually never changes (A). The surrounding color affects how it is perceived.
Yellow appears brighter against a black background and somewhat disappears against the white background. There is yellow in green, so the two hues don't have enough contrast to make the yellow as distinct. How do other backgrounds affect the central yellow square?
Colors with the same intensity can seem to flash or vibrate and create the illusion of movement.
Just like the cones that see color can be tricked, so can the rods that see light.
To see shapes clearly, rods need a sharp contrast in light & dark to detect the outline of an object.
Value Contrast
Retinal Fatigue
Your Assignment
Choose a simple design to paint using complementary colors.
A successful project will...
include 3-5 colors
completely fill an 8x10" paper (no white showing)
be thoughtful about craftsmanship-neatness will affect the afterimage
be mounted on black construction paper
a simple design, but more complex than a shape on a solid background (i.e. no circles, hearts, etc)
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