Art Appreciation 1301

A World of Art by Henry Sayre



Chapter 7 Light and Color


Key Concepts:


Primary Colors

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Blue


Secondary Colors

  • Orange
  • Green
  • Violet


Complementary color

  • Red Green
  • Blue Orange
  • Yellow Violet


Color Schemes

  • Monochromatic Color
  • Analogous Color
  • Complementary Color
  • Polychromatic Color
  • Perceptual Color
  • Optical Color
  • Local Color
  • Arbitrary Color



Key Terms:


atmospheric perspective - A technique, often employed in landscape painting, designed to suggest three-dimensional space in the two-dimensional space of the picture plane, and in which forms and objects distant from the viewer become less distinct, often bluer or cooler in color, and contrast among the various distant elements is greatly reduced.


modeling - In drawing, painting, and printmaking, the rendering of a form, usually by means of hatching or chiaroscuro, to create the illusion of a three-dimensional form.


chiaroscuro - In drawing and painting, the use of light and dark to create the effect of three-dimensional, modeled surfaces.


tenebrism - From the Italian tenebroso, meaning murky, a heightened form of chiaroscuro.


hatching - An area of closely spaced parallel lines, employed in drawing and engraving, to create the effect of shading or modeling.


cross-hatching - Two or more sets of roughly parallel and overlapping lines, set at an angle to one another, in order to create a sense of three-dimensional, modeled space.


hue - A color, usually one of the six basic colors of the spectrum--the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, and the three secondary colors of green, orange, and violet.


value - The relative lightness or darkness of a picture or the colors employed in it.  Sometimes also referred to as key.


tint - A color or hue modified by the addition of another color resulting in a hue of higher key or value, in the way, for instance, that the addition of white to red results in pink.


shade - A color or hue modified by the addition of another color, resulting in a hue of lower key or value, in the way, for instance, that the addition of black to red results in maroon.


primary colors - The hues that in theory cannot be created from a mixture of other hues and from which all other hues are created--namely, red, yellow, and blue.


secondary colors - Hues created by combining two primary colors; the secondary colors are orange, green, and violet.


intermediate colors - The range of colors on the color wheel between each primary color and its neighboring secondary colors; yellow-green, for example.  Also known as tertiary colors


intensity - The relative purity of a color's hue, and a function of its relative brightness or dullness; also known as saturation.


palette - Literally a thin board, with a thumb-hole at one end, upon which the artist lays out and mixes colors, but by extension, the range of colors used by the artist. In this last sense, a closed or restricted palette is one employing only a few colors and an open palette is one utilizing the full range of hues.


temperature - The relative warmth or coolness of a given hue; those in the yellow-orange-red range are considered to be warm, and those in the green-blue-violet range are considered cool.


monochromatic a color scheme limited to variations of one hue, a hue with its tints and shades


analogous colors - Pairs of colors, such as yellow and orange, that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.


complementary colors - Pairs of colors, such as red and green, that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel.


polychromatic color scheme - A color composition consisting of a variety of hues.


local color - As opposed to optical color and perceptual color, the actual hue of a thing, independent of the ways in which colors might be mixed or how different conditions of light and atmosphere might affect the color.


perceptual color - The color as perceived by the eye, changed by the effects of light and atmosphere, in the way, for instance, that distant mountains appear to be blue. See also atmospheric perspective.


optical color mixing - Spots or dots of pure hues set beside each other and mixed by the viewer's eye.


arbitrary color - Color that has no realistic or natural relation to the object that is depicted, as in a blue horse, or a purple cow, but which may have emotional or expressive significance.