Notebook, 1993-


Back [to Color in 'Vision and Invention' by Harlan]

The Color Wheel and the Natural Order of Colors - The Afterimage - The Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Hues - The Achromatic Scale - Color Terminology - Chromatic Gradations: Tints and Shades - Chromatic Whites and Blacks - Broken Colors - Chromatic Grays: Warm and Cool

[From: Harlan, Calvin. Vision & Invention, An Introduction to Art Fundamentals. Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1986.]

Chromatic Gradations:
Tints and Shades

Study 3.
a. Having chosen four pure colors of light, medium, and dark values, we could make a few chromatic gradations by adding first white, then black, to the original hues. The first set would consist of a series of tints [three or four of each hue], and the second a series of shades. It would be a good idea to try to relate them to the achromatic scale. To do this, we would establish the position of the original hue in relation to its value equivalent on the achromatic scale [by squinting], then adjust the tints upward from that position, and the shades downward.

Some hues allow little variations in tint or shade. Yellow, for instance, can be made very little lighter than it is already; and the least bit of black added to it will destroy its identity as hue--it will become a rather uncertain green. Likewise, violet, at the opposite end of the color wheel, cannot be made much darker without becoming a chromatic black. If raised very high in value by the addition of white, it will become a rather wispy lavender. Red, however, partly because it lies in the middle register in its natural order, but mainly because of its superior chroma strength, admits of much more variation up and down the value scale without suffering too much loss of identity.

When swatches have been made of the four original hues and of three or four tints and shades of each, we could make simple symmetrical arrangements by placing squares of the originals at the center and vertical rectangles of their respective tints and shades to their right and left, touching.

b. With areas of the same swatches, we could make a design [something more advanced than an arrangement] of wide, medium-size, and narrow bands or stripes. A selection of no more than 8 or 10 could be placed side by side, touching, in what may seem random or arbitrary sequence. After much experimentation with placement, and after careful study of color interaction, dominance, contrast, and compatibility, we would glue the areas in place in the neatest possible way. The final results may be placed horizontally or vertically for viewing--whichever yields the stronger design. [pp. 96]

[Harlan, Calvin. Vision & Invention, An Introduction to Art Fundamentals. Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1986.]



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