THE COLOR, TONE & VALUE SAGA

THE COLOR, TONE & VALUE SAGA

Avant Garde - One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau

Avant Garde – One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau

Last week Jack and Jill were in a muddle with their choice of a dark paint color. To get out of their jam, they called in a professional. They knew the eggplant color had an edge, but they didn’t know how to use it. The designer explained how color, tone and value can work to their advantage. Together they created an environment that fit their lifestyle.

Dark colors, like eggplant, black and rich dark-chocolate brown can be a brilliant backdrop for art, furnishings, upholstery and more . . .  simply by contrast and color. You can see how the light colors pop against the dark walls in the picture above. Any room can be painted in dark colors–living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms. These dark colors are not new, they have been used forever. Dark wood walls, beams, wood floors  and furnishings were all used in the early centuries.

All the paint manufacturers have rich dark colors, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Farrow & Ball all make quality paints. Sometimes, although you’ve chosen a dark color, it takes two coats to cover the paint on the walls to get the cover and depth those tones create. So how do you do this? Houzz, a popular site filled with design and decorating information has the answers with pictures: Here’s the link for you.

Last week’s blog talked about tonal distribution, and according to Ethel Rompilla’s and the New York School of Interior Design, Color for Interior Design, tonal distribution is a fundamental principle that goes back to the earliest interiors with the concept of nature’s distribution of tonal values. We feel more comfortable in a room with a light ceiling, medium walls, and dark floors, which parallel the tonal values of the sky, trees and earth. Understanding that, there are numerous variations and exceptions to the theory–like the walls of the black bedroom at Boscotrecase, and the still popular dark wood paneling in traditional rooms seen in the early centuries. In the 1960s to today, we love the variations of the dark walls and lighter floors in contemporary spaces.

This week we are also addressing chromatic distribution. A second general rule follows nature’s distribution of vivid color in its accessories, such as birds and flowers, and is also allied to Munsell’s theory that strong colors should not overpower weaker ones. The guideline states that the largest areas of a room, such as floor, walls and ceiling, should be the most neutral. As size is decreased chromatic value can be increased. Furniture or draperies can be brighter, and small upholstered items or accessories and other accents can be the most chromatic. Many successful interiors break this rule, but you should be aware that there is a chromatic range on walls in which, depending on the light, an intense color can become intolerable.

To be continued . . .

Other news . . . My publisher, Soul Mate Publishing, has  blogger hosts C.D. Hersh, featuring my book, Indigo Sky, on their Friday, April 29, 2016 blog. I would be honored if you visit and comment. Here’s the link: http://wp.me/p1tsn7-16j

A FRESH LOOK AT COLOR AND TONE

A FRESH LOOK AT COLOR AND TONE

Tonal Values B/W

Tonal Values B/W

“Horrors.” Scarlet said as she turned to her friend with her hand covering her mouth. “Why did Jack and Jill choose those colors?”
“Truth tell, they loved purple and white with yellow accents,” said Sandy.
“But, everything—the walls, ceiling and floor are that deep, dark eggplant, which is too much of a gorgeous color. There’s only white and yellow pillows on the dark purple sofa, why didn’t they ask someone to help?”asked Scarlet.

“Dang, it’s so dark in here, they must be planning a Halloween party. Don’t you think?” asked Sandy.

It happens. You love a color but have no idea how to distribute what you love in your environment.

So . . . Here’s the scoop.

Five Tonal Values

Five Tonal Values

There are basic color schemes that you can pick from. Complementary Scheme, Monochromatic Scheme, Monotone Scheme, Neutral and One-Color Scheme and Analogous Schemes.

There are considerations in choosing. Understand the light in the spaces throughout your home and how the room will be used. What’s your home’s exposure? What is your natural light? You know, the light from outside. Eastern exposure gets the cool morning sun. Western exposure gets the warm afternoon sun. Southern exposure gets the hot sun all day long, even in the winter it’s uncomfortable to have sun beating into your space from sun up to sundown. Northern exposure gets no sun. For example, I built an art studio with three huge windows where the northern light spills into the space. It’s cool and restful, and gives me true interpretation of color for my paintings. It also gives me great light to photograph my work, also great to portrait paint with a live model and set up my own lights.

Light

Light

Of course the amount of natural light in a space depends on the position, number, and size of the windows. Natural light is white. Sunny rooms will be warmer than northern exposure offers. Then of course the windows treatment also affects the light penetration, as well as adjoining buildings, foliage. If natural light is minimal, and you want a cheerful effect, then the principal colors for walls and ceiling should be light in tonal values (usually an 8 or 9 value if possible). See the black and white charts for tonal values. Upholstery materials and color accents may be slightly darker and brighter. Darker tones on the walls (value 4 or less) are possible to use if the character of the room calls for them, but finish in semi-gloss for light reflections that maintain luminosity. If the room lacks natural light, brighter colors will tend to neutralize, toning the colors down. Also be aware that natural light reduces the size of your retina, which darkens and neutralizes the colors.

Chart black to white

Chart white to black (same tonal values apply to color)

Fundamental distribution of tonal values; light ceiling, medium walls, and dark floors. What we enjoy in our exterior environment, sky, foliage and earth. Of course there are variations and exceptions. A popular concept in contemporary spaces are dark walls and light floors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightness

Color Tone-all colors

Color Tone-all colors

colour-wheel-tonal-values“They should call an interior designer to help them,” said Scarlet.
“I agree, but maybe they are happy. Who is going to tell them?”
“Uh oh, not me.”
“Me either.”
“I have an idea,” said Scarlet.
“Let’s have them over for tea and ask if they are happy with their decorating colors. We can say the colors are nice, but don’t you find it too dark?”
“Nice is a poorly chosen adjective.”

Avant Garde - One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau

Avant Garde – One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau. Notice the luminosity and tonal distributions.

Are you inspired?

To be continued . . .

SHADES OF GREEN

SHADES OF GREEN

Shades of Green

Shades of Green

Green is the color between blue and yellow on the spectrum of visible light. It is evoked by light with a predominant wavelength of roughly 495–570 nm.

SubtractiveColor

SubtractiveColor

In the subtractive color system, used in painting and color printing, it is created by a combination of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; in the RGB color model, used on television and computer screens, it is one of the additive primary colors, along with red and blue, which are mixed in different combinations to create all other colors.

Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage.

Green leaves

Green leaves

Several minerals have a green color, including the emerald, which is colored green by its chromium content. In surveys made in Europe and the United States, green is the color most commonly associated with nature, life, youth, spring, hope and envy. Green is also the traditional color of safety and permission; a green light means go ahead, a green card permits permanent residence in the United States. Political groups advocating environmental protection and social justice describe themselves as part of the Green movement, some naming themselves Green parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally friendly, products.

Malachite green. A giant malachite vase in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Malachite green. The green giant malachite vase in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

During the Italian Renaissance, accessories were rampant and palaces were decorated with shades of green accented with minerals and cache pots. Interiors reflected the life styles of that time.

A 10th-century celadon pot from China (Musee Guimet, Paris). Celadon is a pale greyish green which takes its name from a character in the French romance Astrée by d'Urfe (1610).

A 10th-century celadon pot from China (Musee Guimet, Paris). Celadon is a pale greyish green which takes its name from a character in the French romance Astrée by d’Urfe (1610).

Emerald

Emerald

Our lives reflect the world today, no differently than the 16th century, or any century for that matter. If people are concerned about their future and whether or not their job is secure, they tend not to buy items in dusty or dirty tones.They  tend to respond to colors that are more upbeat.

Art has impact in our color choices, as does music trends and rock stars. We tend to mimic what we see. Are people saving our planet? If so, obviously greens and blue are important.

There was a time when hospitals thought green was calming, and perhaps it is, but it also  can be depressing. Today, color is used to enhance the patients moods. There’s a great deal to discuss about color and the shades of each color.
In the 1990s, the greening of America became a priority. Green was a popular car color. In 1996, green was the number one color choice for cars. I loved my celadon green car and apparently so did other people because their cars sometimes came way too close. But I think they just didn’t see the car. The color blended in with the trees and grasses. We couldn’t wait to get rid of the thing.
If you have questions, please ask away in comments.
COLOR PURPLE

COLOR PURPLE

Tunnel Loop

Tunnel Loop

It was the year AD 975 when the word ‘purple’ first appeared in the English language. Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue. In additive light combinations it occurs by mixing the primary colors red and blue in varying proportions. It is a secondary color because two colors (blue and red) make up this color.

Kristan's Shoes

Kristan’s Shoes

In color theory, a ‘purple’ is defined as any non-spectral color between violet and red (excluding violet and red themselves).The spectral colors violet and indigo are not purples according to color theory but they are purples according to common English usage since they are between red and blue.

Color wheel

Color wheel

In art, purple is the color on the color wheel between magenta and violet and its tints and shades.

 

 

Royalty

Royalty

The color purple’s ties to kings and queens date back to ancient world, where it was prized for its bold hues and often reserved for the upper crust. The Persian king Cyrus adopted a purple tunic as his royal uniform, and some Roman emperors forbid their citizens from wearing purple clothing under penalty of death. Purple was especially revered in the Byzantine Empire. Its rulers wore flowing purple robes and signed their edicts in purple ink, and their children were described as being “born in the purple.”

The reason for purple’s regal reputation comes down to a simple case of supply and demand. For centuries, the purple dye trade was centered in the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre in modern day Lebanon. The Phoenicians’ “Tyrian purple” came from a species of sea snail now known as Bolinus brandaris, and it was so exceedingly rare that it became worth its weight in gold. To harvest it, dye-makers had to crack open the snail’s shell, extract a purple-producing mucus and expose it to sunlight for a precise amount of time. It took as many as 250,000 mollusks to yield just one ounce of usable dye, but the result was a vibrant and long-lasting shade of purple.

Happy combo colors

Happy combo colors

Clothes made from the dye were exorbitantly expensive—a pound of purple wool cost more than most people earned in a year—so they naturally became the calling card of the rich and powerful. It also didn’t hurt that Tyrian purple was said to resemble the color of clotted blood—a shade that supposedly carried divine connotations. The royal class’ purple monopoly finally waned after the fall of the Byzantine empire in the 15th century, but the color didn’t become more widely available until the 1850s, when the first synthetic dyes hit the market.

Lucite allows light to pass through

This Z-chair made in Lucite allows light to pass through creating value varieties

One interesting psychophysical feature of purple and violet that can be used to separate them is their appearance with increasing light intensity. As the intensity increases, violet appears to take on a far more blue hue as a result of what is known as the Bezold-Brücke shift. The same increase in blueness is not noted in purples.

Lüscher says about violet, The mentally mature will normally prefer one of the basic colors rather than violet. Basic being red, blue and yellow. The mentally and emotionally immature on the other hand, may prefer violet. He goes on to say, in the case of 1600 pre-adolescent school children, 75% preferred violet. Statistics embracing Iranians, Africans and Brazilian Indians showed a marked preference for this color as compared with Euro-Caucasians.

Benjamin Moore colors

Benjamin Moore colors

Through my years in design, I have found that this statement is more cultural than emotional. In my old standby text, Interior Design and Decoration by Sherrill Whiton, in the chapter Psychology of Color, Psychologists maintain that color preferences are determined by geographical location, religion and socioeconomic background.

Common connotations of purple include royalty, imperialism, nobility, Lent, Easter, Mardi Gras.

Wikipedia is a great purple resource!

What are your thoughts on the color purple? Do you surround yourself with purple? Do you wear purple? Would you like purple hair, or a streak of purple hair?

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