EFFECT of LIGHT on COLOR

EFFECT of LIGHT on COLOR

Yellow Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore’s mellow yellow (CC2020-50)

When you plan a room, always remember the available light, both natural and artificial. Natural light is dependent on exposure. That’s why, when choosing paint colors for a room, it’s smart to look at color samples in the actual space and under different lighting conditions.

For the best test, buy a paint color sample and paint a small area on the surface of the wall. Observe how the color looks at different times of the day, in natural and artificial light. Then you will get a sense of what your room will look like throughout the day.

Here are some suggestions from designer and Dabble Magazine Editor in Chief Kimberley Seldon to help you choose the best paint colors for rooms that are exposed to sunlight from the north, south, east, and west. (Note: artificial light will further affect the appearance of colors.)

Northern Exposure

Light from the north is indirect and cool, and can appear gray depending on where you live. To counterbalance this effect, choose a yellow or cream such as Benjamin Moore’s flurry (CC-100), barley (CC-180), or buttermilk (919); and warm, pale pinks and corals like pink moiré (CC-158) and tofino sunset (CC-156) to amplify the sunlight. For me, I had my art studio built with three huge windows to let in the northern light so that I see true color for my paintings. This northern exposure offers the correct light in order to photograph my work for publications. The walls are painted a neutral gray/beige (#969), and the ceiling is a bright white. So if you want a cheery room, the colors suggested here are a good choice. Check them out.

Southern Exposure
Warm southerly light lasts the longest and can become intense at mid-day. A mid-tone color such as lavender lipstick (2072-50) will look fresh in the daytime and become richer at night. Rich blues and greens lose intensity but can appear to glow. Try meadowlands green (2036-40), winter green (2045-60), or serenity (2055-60). Browns appear less somber in southern light. Go for a warm, earthy hue like rich clay brown (2164-30).

Eastern Exposure

Benjamin Moore "Cloud White"

Benjamin Moore “Cloud White” and others

Benjamin Moor color "Flurry" off white

Benjamin Moore color “Flurry” whites

Eastern exposure provides bright, yellow light that’s ideal for high-activity rooms like kitchens, playrooms, and family rooms. That’s why the light of the eastern exposure is perfect for a breakfast room. Pale colors look fabulous. Warm pinks, corals, yellows, or whites like pink bliss (2093-70), cloud white (OC-130), snowfall white (OC-118), or milkyway (OC-110) will enhance the light, while cool blues and greens like blue bonnet (2050-70) will temper it. There are a myriad of whites, and they are rarely stark, except for ceilings. Pure white walls can be tiring.

Western Exposure
Green and cream work well in the muted, late afternoon sunlight of a western exposure. Try pairing adam green (2037-40) with mellow yellow (2020-50), or green with envy (2036-30) with marble white (OC-34). Complementary colors, such as green and red, are not quite as garish. Reds appear richer and less flat because they absorb light. A red like warm comfort (2010-20) is a good choice for rooms that require drama and intimacy, such as dining rooms.

Remember also, that the window treatments can shut out the natural light, or admit light, depending on your design choices.

When you choose artificial lighting be aware of the type of bulbs that are available today. They vary in color. The LED’s are usually a perky white light. Lighting today can be dimmed. I always seek out the brightest white light because it keeps your colors  crisp. Lighting is another huge subject to discuss. When you want to choose lighting for your home or office, go to a dependable lighting store, for example, here in Connecticut’s Fairfield County, my favorite store is Klaff’s in Norwalk.

Ever since 1969 when I was a student at the New York School of Interior Design, I have been a faithful client of Benjamin Moore Paints. Their paints have stood the test of time. Benjamin Moore reps visited and demonstrated how and when to use their paints to my students at my school, Interior Design Institute, in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, and supplied each student with paint chip books, a valuable tool for interior designers.

Visit our Colour Gallery to get more room colour scheme ideas. (On-screen colour representations may differ slightly from actual paint colours due to monitor calibration.)

Get more decorating tips from our All About Colour videos featuring Kimberley Seldon.

 

 

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 . . .

AND THE LORD SAID …

AND THE LORD SAID …

And the Lord said, Genesis 1:3

“Let there be light.” And then there was light. Genesis 1:3

The Lord said, “Let there be Light.”  And there was light.  (Genesis 1:3).

We depend on light for lots of reasons. You can probably name five right now. Like:  the grass, the flowers, the trees, vitamin D, good mental health. Light, the fulfillment of life.

Section of my studio. the space is 30'x14'

Section of my studio. the space is 30’x14′

I am writing this in my studio, and there is light. North light, with which to paint by. So, what does  that mean? Does it mean if I am doing something other than painting, the room’s light is worthless? No . . . this is a functional, beautiful space. This is where I work all day. I write, design, paint, listen to music. I just took this photo from my messy desk. I usually keep that back wall open for art that I am working on. Right now, I am writing my book.

North light facing room

North light facing room

Light is not a mystery, it is an awareness. We are addressing the light of nature, from outside, that would penetrate the house, the building, the bodega,  not to be mixed up  with artificial light, like lamps and recessed lighting. But what happens when a room suffers from no natural light or north light?

Do you have a room with little light, except for a few lamps? Darn, you say, what do I do with that room, it is so depressing? Right? Okay, so let’s talk about this natural light, where it comes from, and what it does. AND, what to do with your dark, gloomy room.

Colors good for a room facing north light

Colors good for a room facing north light

A north light room is perfect for art painting because there are no reflections to distort the picture. It is the truest light that an artist can have. North light is a constant cool, soft light, never sunshiny. So even on a rainy day, we love it. Sunlight creates reflection and light bounce, so even if the north light doesn’t have the sun in it, the light does have a reflected brightness, except when stormy. Without going into artificial light, the way to bring life to the space is with color and texture. Paint the walls a deep warm color, like Benjamin Moore’s “Designer Selective Colors: #861 or similar, (warm grays work), in an Eggshell finish (not flat), ceilings, bright white (flat finish) and all trim, bright white (satin or glossy finish). Use other reflective objects and finishes, like leather upholstery, or coffee table in leather, or glass, if you don’t have little kids. Something stainless steel or shiny chrome. Tile floor, with area rugs. Smaller reflective objects, like porcelain, small mirrors. Go for it, those implants will bring light into the space.

We have not yet discussed artificial light that do other types of brightening to a space. We can do wonders with ambient, task and accent lighting. Maybe next week?

Have you ever noticed how lighting is used on stage. Last night’s “American Idol” did some clever lighting, as they always do. Especially with Kree’s  performance. Her stage set appeared as though she was in space.

What do you think? How much would you like to learn about lighting up your life?

http://www.benjaminmoore.com.

 

SHAFTS OF LIGHT

SHAFTS OF LIGHT

Hagia Sophia light shafts

Hagia Sophia light shafts

A mystical quality of light reflects on all surfaces in Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, the first domed basilica, now a museum. Tightly spaced rings of forty windows at the base of the dome were designed to provide light to what would have been a cavernous dark space, lit only by candles. The windows create an illusion that the dome is floating in air and resting on the light that flows through them. Without the shafts of bright sunlight bouncing around on the walls, the floors and the ceilings, how would anyone be able to see the varied patterns and colors of marble, alabaster, onyx and intricately designed mosaics? If you lower your lids you can almost see the angels flying within the sunshafts.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

For the curious…Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, renamed Istanbul, the renovation of an earlier basilica, was the largest church in the world. Earthquakes and structural problems made it necessary to renovate in 532AD. It was converted to a mosque in 1453 when the minarets were added.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection Cylinder

The Cathedral of the Resurrection

Mario Botta’s The Cathedral of the Resurrection (1988-95) at Evry, France, is a cylindrical shell punctuated with bands of diminutive keyhole windows and overhead skylight. The sloping glass roof is inset with an equilateral triangle whose shape defines the three light sources that illuminate the interior. According to Botta, “To build a cathedral today is an extraordinary opportunity to create and enrich the environment in which we live.”

The Cathedral of the Resurrection interior

The Cathedral of the Resurrection interior

Botta believes the cathedral is a necessity for all as it connects us to the past, when our beautiful, old cities were new.

Pardon the cliché, but in truth there is no other way to say: Without the past, there is no future.

What’s your favorite window? How does it light up your life?

Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture.  London; Boston: Butterworths, 1987.
Dupré Judith, Churches. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, 2001.

 

WHITE – A PRACTICAL SOLUTION?

WHITE – A PRACTICAL SOLUTION?

Ingres’ Bather of Valpinςon

White can be blinding. White can disrupt your thinking. White can be tiresome. According to Faber Birren’s book “Color & Human Response,” white can be bleak, emotionless, sterile. K. Warner Schaie, in discussing the pyramid test in which wide assortments of colors are placed on black-and-white charts, noted that incidence of the use of white by schizophrenic patients was 76.6 percent as again 29.1 percent for supposedly normal persons. So anyone who places white first perhaps needs psychiatric attention. It would be better to dislike white, but here again few persons are encountered who so express themselves.

Ingres’ Bather of Valpinςon is the calm representation of Classical beauty in the human nude. Notice the varying shades of white in Ingres’ painting. White and light colored skin is, depending on the artist, a few chosen pigments  and white. Notice the white covering over the settee, there are other colors in it. Can you see them? There are hundreds of variations of white.

Then when is white a practical solution?

Untitled by Franz Kline, a canvas  covered in white variations

White for the artist. For the watercolor artist, white paint is not necessary. I have never used white in my watercolors, because you can lighten your colors with water. And, you can leave the white of the paper in your painting for the white areas.  For the oil or acrylic painter, mix the white into color to lighten, or for pastel, add color to white.

Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?  It isn’t hard, but you need more information if you use white in more than one color. White can make mud out of your paint. Pastel painters have scads and scads and scads of color sticks as do oil painters who have gazillion tubes of paint from the lightest to the darkest in almost every color. So why do you need white? It’s possible to use white in your mixes, especially if you add white to lighten only one color. If you add white to more than one color, it can muddy up your work, the same as cadmium yellow can. We talked about cad yellow in last week’s blog with David Dunlop. More mixing meant less light bounced back to the eye and resulted in a weak color effect. Mixing opaque colors together is called subtractive mixing because it subtracts light. http://gailingis.com/wordpress/?p=2252.

Your intent was to lighten, but instead, it deadened. Deadened with

Sculpture in glass by Tony Cragg, All white sculpture, mixture of textures

opaque pigment. But it takes time to learn what makes beautiful mud. Yes, there is such a thing as beautiful mud. You always want your colors to be rich, to glow, to evoke emotion. To confuse the issue, white comes in several variations, some of which are: Flake White, Ivory White, Zinc White, Titanium White and the combo of Zinc White and Titanium White. The properties of these paints vary.

According to Ralph Mayer’s The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated, titanium pigment has the greatest opacity and tinctorial power of any of the whites. Titanium is the most important opaque white pigment in current use. An extremely dense, powerful opaque white of high refractive index and great hiding power. Absolutely inert, permanent.  Flake White is stiff, and Ivory White is fluid, both are semi-opaque and good for touching-up and mixing. According to Winsor & Newton, Zinc is less opaque, making it ideal for tints and glazing, however, it dries to a brittle film that can crack.

White room, varied whites and mixture of textures

White for your home/office. The everlasting question to me as an interior designer is, “should I paint my kitchen white?” My answer is always, “NO.” Not pure white. If your preference is to make it look bright and clean and you think white is the answer, here’s mine. Paint your walls off-white, like Benjamin Moore’s 966 or 969 (I call them greige, 969 is the lighter of the two), or something with a little more pizzazz, like BM’s 860 that is in-between white and gray. The finish on the walls should be Eggshell finish. Ceiling, super white flat. All the trim can be a bright semi-gloss white. Now the room has that sparkle you are looking for and stays clean for years. And, you can have your white cabinets, but in Benjamin Moore’s Dove White. Never use pure white on a large expanse of space like the walls, cabinets, or floors. With these combinations, you have contrasting surfaces and varying textures giving your kitchen interest as well as beauty.

Can you see the correlation between white for art and white for the home? Did you discover the white you never knew? What does white mean to you?

 

 

COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

Ebony wood library shelves, white upholstery, colors from books and accessories. Varying textures to reflect and absorb light.

Color must be an integral part of room design and never an after-thought.  Colors that you choose are dependent on the adjacent colors. All colors have three parts, hue, intensity and tonal value.

Hue identifies the color, intensity is the brilliance of a hue, tonal value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color.

Light colors reflect light, dark color absorb light. Color is never experienced independently, but in combination with one of several textures, in different material types. For example, a glossy satin will have luster and light, while rough textures with its shadows will appear darker. Textured fabrics appear darker than smooth fabrics in similar colors (hues). Smooth surfaces that have a glaze or sheen reflect maximum light causing colors to appear lighter than fabrics with a dull finish.

Most rooms have natural and artificial light. Natural light is white, but in comparison to artificial light, it has a bluish appearance. Today artificial light comes in many choices, from encapsulated incandescent and fluorescent (white to warm tones if dimmed) and LEDs (white).

Mark Hampton sunny space with upholstery and draperies that reflect and absorb light.

The amount of natural light in a room depends upon window placement, the size of the windows, and the window coverings. Rooms with sunny exposure will be warmer than those with no sun, as in a northern exposure. In a room where natural light is not plentiful, the colors for walls and ceiling should be light in tonal value, on a scale from 1 (darkest) to 10 (lightest), use an 8 or 9 value. Upholstery and color accents may be slightly darker and brighter in intensity.

Mark Hampton dark walls, tall windows, natural light

Darker tones on the walls (value 4 or less), depending on the character of the room, can be painted in a semi-gloss or satin finish for light bounce. Paint in a semi-gloss gives light reflections that help to maintain the luminosity.

What do you think? Did this color talk arouse your curiosity, would you like more. How do you think artificial light affects color?

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