Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mix It Up!

Whether it is through mixing paint, pencil, or pastel, new colors have been made by combining the old for centuries. Millions of different hues, tints, and shades have been created in this manner, but there are qualities of color and light that mixed pigments can never address. Visual color mixing aims to “reproduce the luminous and brilliant quality of life,” wrote Lauer and Pentak in Design Basics. In visual color mixing, two colors are placed side by side, and when viewed from a distance are seen as a mix of the two. Basically, our eyes mix the colors for us. It is used to communicate a more realistic sense of light in color. This is found in art styles such as pointillism, like in Seurat’s famous “A Sunday on la Grande Jatte,” or in Chuck Close’s grid style portraits. Visual color mixing can also be used to create different textures or design properties. Iridescent fabrics are not composed of glossy thread, as one might think, but of matte threads of two colors. For example, in a maroon colored iridescent fabric, there is black thread lengthwise and red thread widthwise. When the red peeks through the black, the colors mix to make not only a new color, but a new property of iridescence as well. Visual color mixing can be used in all other sorts of design in our society, whether it be in a multi-colored fiber rug in an interior, in a poster for a new band, or even in the pixels on our television screen. Try playing around with different materials, maybe you too can find a new design property using visual color mixing.
(picture courtesy of Nosideup)

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