Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Color Wheel, Part 7

Below is a digitally-created color wheel that includes yellow, magenta, and cyan in the 12:00, 4:00, and 8:00 positions. Halfway between those three colors are red, blue, and green.

These latter three colors, (RGB), are significant, because they are the essential colors of light, as opposed to pigment. Mixing red, green, and blue lights together on a theatrical stage or on a computer screen results in white light. Green and red mix to yellow. Blue and green mix to cyan. Red and blue make magenta.

The wheel was originally created by the photographer Tobey Sanford. I’ve spun it around to put yellow at the top and flipped it to put red on the right. Like those who work with theatrical lighting or computer monitors, Tobey regards red, green, and blue as his primaries. Yellow, magenta, and cyan are his secondaries.


You Ride My Bus, Cousin Gus
I tried to reproduce the wheel with oil colors, graying them toward the center. The colors shifted a bit when I photographed them, so the steps don’t look perfectly even here.

Placing RGB on the wheel evenly between CMY creates a color wheel that matches up with the color space in Photoshop. Now all those color balance sliders make sense.

You could name all twelve sectors, but for convenience, we’re just identifying six: yellow, red, magenta, blue, cyan, and green. The way I look at it, they should all be regarded as equal primaries.

Counting clockwise from the top of the wheel, they are YRMBCG. You can remember them by saying “You Ride My Bus, Cousin Gus.” For short you can call it the “Yurmby” wheel.

The “Yurmby” Wheel
Should painters adopt this six-primary color wheel? I believe it’s very helpful, as long as we keep in mind from the start that this color wheel—or any color wheel—is just a mental conception, a way of placing colors in your head.

We have to get used to red and yellow as closer neighbors than they were on the traditional artist’s color wheel. We have to get in the habit of recognizing and naming magenta and cyan separately from red and blue whenever we see them in art or nature. Unless you’re already accustomed to the Yurmby wheel, that means rewiring your brain. It has taken me a long time to rewire mine.

There’s a lot you can do with the Yurmby wheel. It makes a cool dartboard in an artist’s cafĂ©. Also, you can chart where your pigments really appear on it. You can use it for gamut masking. I’ll show more of these applications in future posts. What I love most about it is that connects the worlds of computers, pigments, photography, printing, and lighting.
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Reviewing the posts in this series:
Part 1: Wrapping the Spectrum
Part 2: Primaries and Secondaries
Part 3: Complements, Afterimages, and Chroma
Part 4: Problems with the Traditional Wheel
Part 5: The Munsell System
Part 6: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow

If you’re checking out this series for the first time, don’t miss all the comments, too, which shed light and bring interesting discussion and further links to many of the points.

I thank Tobey Sanford, with whom I've discussed this stuff at length. I’m grateful to Bruce MacEvoy of handprint.com and David Briggs of huevaluechroma.com, who have explored much of this material in greater nuance and depth than is possible here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Color Wheel, Part 6

Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow
In the world of printing and photography, the three colors that mix the widest range, or gamut, of colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow.

These “printer’s primaries,” together with black (K), are known by the shorthand CMYK. CMYK inks are used throughout the industries of offset lithography, computer printing, and film photography.

If other industries use CMYK primaries instead of yellow, red, and blue, why don’t painters use them too? One reason is simple force of habit. Cyan and magenta don’t match our mental image of blue and red. These color concepts are deep rooted from childhood.

Can we find these colors as artist’s pigments? Until recently it was hard to find lightfast chemical pigments that would match up with CMY. The pigments Cadmium Yellow Light (known by the Color Index Number PY 35), Quinacridone Magenta (PR 122), and Phthalo Cyan (PB 17) come close. (The Lukas colors above are PY 3, PB 15:3, and PR 122).

Intriguing as this may be, it’s not really the answer. Most of these colors are very transparent, which can be a problem for oil and gouache painters. For painting we need a range of properties, opacity being just one of them. And most of the time we’re not trying to get the widest range of intense colors in a single painting from just three starting colors.

We can add as many starting colors as we want, especially if we want to get a wide range of mixtures. That’s what the top-end computer printers do, as do lithographers printing high quality art reproductions.

We can keep all our favorite pigments, even if they don’t match the printer’s primaries. We aren’t bound to using just three pigments when we’re painting.

But returning to the color wheel, we still need an accurate map to chart our pigments and mixtures. What we’re looking for is a universal way to understand color relationships regardless of the medium or technique we’re using.

CMY circles from Alias 3D Media

Reviewing the posts in this series:
Part 1: Wrapping the Spectrum
Part 2: Primaries and Secondaries
Part 3: Complements, Afterimages, and Chroma
Part 4: Problems with the Traditional Wheel
Part 5: The Munsell System
Part 6: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow
Part 7: The Yurmby Wheel

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Color Wheel, Part 5

Many contemporary realist painters use the system that Albert Munsell developed about a century ago. Munsell’s color system was adopted by Frank Reilly at the Art Student’s League in New York. From him and his students it passed on through several generations of teaching to contemporary academic realists, such as Jacob Collins and Graydon Parrish.

Munsell’s system divides the spectral hues into ten even steps. In deference to Munsell, I’ve painted the wheel with the reds on the left.

Instead of dividing the pie into threes and twelves, the structure is based on multiples of five, so I’ve represented it as two overlapping star shapes. Division by ten makes sense. We’re used to base ten in money and the metric system.

Students of the Munsell system become accustomed to the ten basic hues: yellow (Y), green-yellow (G-Y), green (G), blue-green (B-G), blue (B), purple-blue (P-B), purple (P), red-purple (R-P), red (R), and yellow-red (Y-R).

This is a much more useful wheel than the traditional artist’s color wheel because the spacing is better, and it allows for exact numerical descriptions of color notes.

The Munsell system is a big topic, which I hope to explore in a future post. A great benefit to the system (as some of you mentioned in the comments after Part 3) is that it permits exact 3-D mapping of hue, value, and chroma, allowing you to navigate precisely through the color space.

But for now, let’s just recognize the Munsell wheel as a different and effective way to lay out the 2-D hue and chroma relationships.

Thanks to Charley Parker of Lines and Colors for the post about this series, and check out Charley's post about the history of the color wheel.

Reviewing the posts in this series:
Part 1: Wrapping the Spectrum
Part 2: Primaries and Secondaries
Part 3: Complements, Afterimages, and Chroma
Part 4: Problems with the Traditional Wheel
Part 5: The Munsell System
Part 6: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow
Part 7: The Yurmby Wheel

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Color Wheel, Part 4

There are a few problems with the traditional artist’s color wheel, and its concept of primary, secondary and tertiary colors.

First of all, no color from the original spectrum has any higher claim to be a primary color than any other. Each hue occupies an equally legitimate place on the outer rim of the hue circle and can claim full status as a primary color. Nor are any particular hues by their nature secondary colors. Green is not a composite color any more than blue is.

You could set up a palette with high-chroma orange, violet, and green as primaries and paint a satisfactory image from them. It’s a good painting exercise to do so, and it can result in a perfectly acceptable painting.*

Secondly, it turns out that the traditional YRB wheel is out of proportion, like a clock face with some of the numbers bunched up in one corner (see center of wheel). It expands the yellow-orange-red section of the spectrum too much, so that red is at 4 o’clock instead of 2, and blue is at 8 o’clock instead of 6.

This uneven distribution came about partly because our eyes are more sensitive to small differences among the yellow, orange, and red hues, and partly because pigments are more numerous for warm colors, compared to cool ones. The precious pigments Vermilion and Ultramarine became our mental image for red and blue. There have always been many available pigments for the oranges and reds, but few for the violets and greens.

So, are primaries all relative? Can we set up the color circle in a different way? The answer is an emphatic yes. Tomorrow we’ll look at the Munsell system, which has served as the color map for many great realist painters.
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*In the case of mixing colors from OVG secondaries, you’ll have a hard time mixing a pure yellow, because yellow is a special case: it’s purest form is much lighter than the pure form of other colors, so it isn’t easy to mix yellow as a secondary in pigments. But the OVG colors have been used as primaries for the autochrome photo process.

Reviewing the posts in this series:
Part 1: Wrapping the Spectrum
Part 2: Primaries and Secondaries
Part 3: Complements, Afterimages, and Chroma
Part 4: Problems with the Traditional Wheel
Part 5: The Munsell System
Part 6: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow
Part 7: The Yurmby Wheel

Snow Plowing with Draft Horses

A heavy, wet snowstorm last night pulled down our birdfeeder, collapsed our kayak stand, and snapped an ash tree, which fell across the town road.

The electricity quit, so we made coffee on the camp stove, bundled up, and chainsawed the downed tree.

Then we took a walk down the road and into the nineteenth century. At the farm, Lenny was hitching up Sophie and Abby to try out the new plow that he bought recently from the Amish farmers in Pennsylvania.

We’ll get back to color wheels in the next post.

The Artist’s Magazine

The March issue of The Artist’s Magazine has Koo Schadler’s tips for workshop teachers: “So You’d Like to Teach a Workshop,” and the top 10 winners of the “Artists Over 60 Contest.” The common themes of the age 60+ artists were “supportive spouses and families, strong senses of style, and the resolute desire to never stop learning.”

And thanks to Holly Davis for the write-up about the Dinotopia exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Color Wheel, Part 3

THE COLOR WHEEL, PART 3
Complements
A color that holds a position directly across the wheel from another is known as a complement. In the world of pigments and color mixing, the color pairs are: yellow-violet, red-green, and blue-orange. When pigment complements are mixed together, they result in a neutral gray, that is, a gray with no hue identity. This is all pretty familiar to anyone who has fooled around with paints.

But in the realm of afterimages, light mixing, and visual perception, the complement pairings are slightly different. Blue is opposite yellow, not orange.

You can see this for yourself with the diagram above. Stare at the middle of the colorful circle for 20 seconds. Then shift your gaze to the middle of the white circle and relax your eyes. The complementary colors should emerge. Note that the afterimage of blue is yellow and vice versa.

But if you were to mix that yellow and that blue as paints, you wouldn’t get a gray, you’d get a green. In fact, pigments can behave unpredictably when mixed. Intermediate mixtures don’t always land on the straight line drawn between the two starting colors.

How does this affect the way we design a color wheel? First of all, you have to decide whether you want to try to represent the practicalities of pigments or the behavior of color in an optical or a mathematical realm. In other words, your color wheel must either represent the ideal world of optical color or the physical world of paints, but no single wheel can accurately represent both color universes.

Chroma
Many color wheels include the dimension of grayness versus intensity, known as chroma, also commonly called saturation. Here’s the traditional artist’s color wheel I made years ago, which goes to zero chroma at the center.

(By the way, which term do you use? Please vote in the poll at left). "Chroma," a term invented by Albert Munsell, is the degree a color ranges between neutrality and vibrancy or purity.

Tomorrow I'll try to take a look at that question posed yesterday: Are some colors really more primary than others?

Reviewing the posts in this series:
Part 1: Wrapping the Spectrum
Part 2: Primaries and Secondaries
Part 3: Complements, Afterimages, and Chroma
Part 4: Problems with the Traditional Wheel
Part 5: The Munsell System
Part 6: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow
Part 7: The Yurmby Wheel

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Color Wheel, Part 2

Artists generally regard red, yellow, and blue as the most basic, or primary, colors. If you ask most artists to select three tubes of paint to match their mental image of the primary colors, they will most likely pick something like cadmium red, cadmium yellow, and ultramarine blue.


Why those three colors? From Greek and Roman times to the Renaissance, most people thought green should be included as a primary, too. As we’ve noted on a previous post, green actually has more psychological salience than yellow. It’s mentioned much more often in the English language.

What is a primary color? The idea is that you should be possible to mix every other color out of the three primaries. You may have noticed that with the traditional artist’s primaries you can mix clear oranges, but the greens and violets are on the dull side.

The traditional artist’s color wheel,” above, presents yellow, red, and blue spaced at even thirds around the circle, in the position of 12 o’ clock, 4 o’ clock, and 8 o’clock.

Mixtures of the red, blue, and yellow primaries create secondaries. The secondary colors are violet, green and orange. They appear at 2, 6, and 10 o’clock on the traditional color wheel. But in truth when I painted this wheel, I didn't paint those secondaries from the primaries. If I had tried, they would have come out much duller.

As we’ll see in future posts, there’s nothing written in stone about any of those colors being primary or secondary, and we can take a fresh look at the whole arrangement.

Reviewing the posts in this series:
Part 1: Wrapping the Spectrum
Part 2: Primaries and Secondaries
Part 3: Complements, Afterimages, and Chroma
Part 4: Problems with the Traditional Wheel
Part 5: The Munsell System
Part 6: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow
Part 7: The Yurmby Wheel

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Color Wheel, Part 1

How we name and separate the colors on the color wheel is a subject with roots in physical science, visual perception, and artistic tradition. That’s what I’d like to explore over the next seven posts. The color wheel is our mental map of the color universe.

This may seem like boring review, but if you read all the posts this week, you may end up completely rethinking the color wheel—at least that’s what happened to me.

When white light is bent or refracted by a prism or a rainbow, it separates into a continuous gradation of colors. Within that smooth spectrum, there’s no clear division between the colors. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) proposed wrapping the spectral colors around a circle by merging the two ends, red and violet. The result was a hue circle, better known as a color wheel.

Newton observed that the hues gradate smoothly into each other. But in his diagram he identified seven colors we’ve come to know as ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). The tradition among artists has been to drop the indigo and to concentrate on six basic colors.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the colors that Newton and his contemporaries called “primitive” and which we call “primary.”
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Reviewing the posts in this series:
Part 1: Wrapping the Spectrum
Part 2: Primaries and Secondaries
Part 3: Complements, Afterimages, and Chroma
Part 4: Problems with the Traditional Wheel
Part 5: The Munsell System
Part 6: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow
Part 7: The Yurmby Wheel

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shoemakers

Back in 1987, while on assignment for National Geographic, I got lost in old Jerusalem.

I wandered down the narrow, twisting alleys. The sound of tapping hammers and the smell of contact cement hit me. Three guys sat in a little arched alcove making shoes. A boom box played Elton John.

They set up a plastic bucket for me to sit on and poured me a cup of tea. I pulled out my sketchbook and drew their portraits in pencil and ink wash.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Artist Conk

Nature doesn’t provide very many materials that you can draw on directly without a lot of preparation. Forget papyrus or canvas or deerskin—they take work to prepare.

There’s the tooth of the sperm whale (used in scrimshaw), white tree bark (birchbark), and cave art on rock walls.

One of the finest natural art materials is called Artist’s Conk or Artist’s Fungus (Ganoderma applanatum). It grows on the side of rotting deciduous trunks throughout North America, and can reach sizes of up to 20 inches wide. It has a gray, furrowed crust on the top surface, resembling a horse’s hoof, and a clear, smooth, milk-white under surface.

The white surface bruises under the touch of a sharp nail. Artists can etch extremely detailed drawings on the wide, arching shape. As the fungus dries, it becomes hard and lightweight, and the drawing naturally darkens and cures to a solid, permanent texture like wood.
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More about preparing and collecting.
Thomas Volk, Mushroom expert's site.
Information from the National Audubon Field Guide to Non-Flowering Plants.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Light and Form, Part 3

In soft or diffuse light, such as overcast light, there is no distinct light side, shadow side, terminator, or core. All of the upward facing planes tend to be lighter, since they receive more of the diffused light from the cloudy ceiling.

The photograph of the ball shows the quality of overcast light. The cast shadow has no definite edge. There’s no clear division between light and shadow unless the form turns on a hard edge.

Here’s an example of overcast light falling on the figure of David Balfour in the N. C. Wyeth illustration “On the Island of Earraid,” from Kidnapped. The planes of the figure’s skin and clothing get lighter where they face more toward the light sky. (The sharp tonal changes in the background are dramatic plane changes in the rock.)


Another example of overcast light is this portrait of a girl by William Bouguereau. The form doesn’t have a light side and a shadow side in the conventional sense. The vertical plane of the dress and the upper arm are both darker than the forearm and the leg of the dress, which catch more light because they face more upward.

The coolness of this light source is evident from the relatively warm shadow under the chair. Occlusion shadows require especially careful attention in diffuse light, often appearing as notably sharp accents in the work of Bouguereau and Rockwell.

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Light and Form, Part 1

Light and Form, Part 2
Light and Form, Part 3
You also might be interested in these posts:
Occlusion shadows
Reflected light.
More about all this in my book: Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Light and Form, Part 2

Within the shadow is not darkness but the effect of other, weaker sources.

In the case of the drapery study above, drawn in graphite while I was in art school, the key light strikes the form from the left. You can tell it’s a hard source because of the sharp diagonal cast shadow line. Overhead fluorescents, only slightly less bright, illuminate the shadow side.

The drapery study has the look of an academic exercise partly because it is "overmodeled" which means the tendency to put the full range of modeling factors within each passage.

Outdoors, the blue light from the sky usually modifies the shadow planes, depending on how much they face upward. Reflected light often raises the tone of the shadow. It comes from light bouncing up off the ground surface or from other surfaces. The darkest parts of the shadow are usually at points of contact, called occlusion shadows, where secondary sources can't reach.

Another dark part of the shadow is the area just beyond the terminator. This area is called the core or the hump of the shadow. The core of the shadow only forms if the secondary source of light (edge light, reflected light, or fill light) doesn’t overlap too much with the main light.


In “Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” by Rubens, a strong orange-colored reflected light fills the shadow side of Daniel’s form, all the way from his cheek and neck, down his arm and his leg. Keeping the core intact—or painting it in even if it’s not really there—can give the form more impact, but if it’s overdone it can look unnatural.

If you’re setting up a model or maquette, you can place the primary and secondary lights just far enough apart so that you can see the core beginning to form.

Light and Form, Part 1
Light and Form, Part 2
Light and Form, Part 3
You also might be interested in these posts:
Occlusion shadows
Reflected light.
More about all this in my book: Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

Monday, February 15, 2010

Light and Form, Part 1

Light striking a geometric solid such as a sphere or a cube creates an orderly and predictable series of tones. Learning to identify these tones and to place them in their proper relationship is one of the keys to achieving a look of solidity.

The form principle is the analysis of nature in terms of geometrical solids, which can be rendered according to laws of tonal contrast.

Modeling Factors
The photograph above shows a sphere in direct sunlight. It has a distinct set of tonal steps from light to shadow, known as modeling factors.

In direct sunlight, there’s a strong division of light and shade. The light side includes the light and dark halftones, the center light, and the highlight. The center light is the point at which the light rays strike the form most vertically. The highlight is the point where, in a shiny surface, we see a reflection of the light source.

Note that the center light and highlight are not at the same location. The Terminator The terminator is the area where the form transitions from light into shadow. It occurs where the light rays from the source are tangent to the edge of the form. If the source is soft and indirect, the transition from light to shadow at the terminator will be more gradual. The form shadow begins just beyond the terminator.

To test which areas are in light and which are in shadow, you can cast a shadow with a pencil on the object. The cast shadow will show up only on the lighted side, not on the shadow side.


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Light and Form, Part 2
Light and Form, Part 3
You also might be interested in these posts:
Occlusion shadows
Reflected light.
More about all this in my book: Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

Delaware Museum Opening

The first storm dumped almost two feet of snow to Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday, the day of the opening of the Dinotopia exhibit. Only emergency vehicles were allowed on the road.

Mountains of snow piled up at the edges of parking lots. We dug out Trusty Rusty in time to get in on Sunday for the opening, lecture, and colored pencil workshop.

The Dinotopia exhibition was beautifully installed, and there was a good turnout, considering the obstacles. In the workshop class we first drew onions, then exotic brass pots. In the lower left photo we visited a gallery of “Dino-Designo” drawings, where people of all ages had drew their interpretation of people and dinosaurs living together.

I also had a chance (lower right) to talk to the docents about the paintings and the inspiration behind them.

In the middle of the week a second snowstorm left more than a foot of snow on the region, putting an end to our carefully-laid plans for lots of schools visits. But we got a lot of work done and kind of enjoyed the adventure. And we were able to visit the art schools UArts in Philadelphia and DCAD in Wilmington. I’ll report on those separately.

After one last event, Paleopalooza, in Philadelphia, where I was starting to lose my voice, we headed back home. The plan is for me to return to the museum on the weekend of May 15 (The exhibit closes May 16). Those who were unable to make it to the first workshop might enjoy this new one on imaginative drawing.

Art by Committee: Randall

It’s February 15, time for the results of last months Art By Committee challenge. The line we had to illustrate was "Randall's avatar was a tortoise." You all came up with some really fun and creative solutions to the idea. Click on the link below the name for a larger image or more information about each piece.

Mei-Yi Chun
Website

Michael Geissler
Larger Image

Kim McCann
Larger Image

Andy Wales
Blog
Flickr

Sean Hornoff

"Mr. Gills"

Natalie Blog
Blog

Andrew Walker

John R. York
Blog

Susan Adsett

….and the one from the original sketchbook.

With that, let’s give the Art-By-Committee game a rest for a while. I have enjoyed and appreciated all your wonderful contributions, but it takes quite a bit of hand work to put these together. Also, I’ve run through most of the material in the original sketchbook.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pen and Ink at the Brandywine

Thomas Nast, Charles Addams, Charles Schulz, and Rube Goldberg are among the artists featured in Laugh Lines: Cartoons and Caricatures from the Collection, on view at the Brandywine River Museum through March 14.

Above: Tony Sarg, Laughing Lion, 1930.

The exhibition includes over 50 humorous works by some of the most important illustrators from the 19th and 20th centuries, whose works comment on politics, society and ordinary life.

Visitor's information: Entrance fees, directions, hours, etc.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pyle’s Summer School

In the summers of 1898 and 1899, Howard Pyle had an old mill converted into a studio for his students from the Drexel Institute. After establishing his own art school, Pyle continued the arrangement in 1900, 1901, 1902, and 1903. N. C. Wyeth spent the last summer there and later settled in the area.

The artist Leander Fontaine did a colored pencil drawing of that unique tree and a corner of the famous mill.

And you can't help but wonder if N.C. Wyeth based this tree from Robin Hood (Correction: Black Arrow) on that beloved sycamore.

The nearby Brandywine River Museum displays the work of Pyle and the Wyeths, but that was not the location of the school.

The building, known as Turner’s Mill, has just been refurbished as town offices and meeting rooms.

More modern pictures here.

Thanks to Kev Ferrara for clueing me in to the art based on the tree.

Here's a very complete biography and bibliography about Pyle.

Addendum: I have reworded the main paragraph to make it a bit more accurate, thanks to the help of Pyle expert Ian Schoenherr, whose blog is a must-visit for Pyle aficionados.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Two-Streams Hypothesis

In the last two decades, new scanning technology has given us a better idea of what is happening in the brain as we process visual information.

One of the discoveries that has come out of these new data is the realization that that visual processing divides into two streams, which end up in very different parts of the brain.

According to Dr. Margaret Stratford Livingston, Professor of neurobiology at Harvard University, the visual brain processes tonal information separately from color information.

(Addendum: I changed the image thanks to a different way of processing them--Thanks, Nick! The image on the left has only luminance, but the one on the right has color information with luminance removed.)

The two streams originate in the retina, which begins some low-level processing. The information pathways route back to the optical cortex at the back of the brain. Although there is some crossover and interaction, the two streams are largely kept separate, from the level of the retina all the way to the higher-level vision centers of the brain.

The area of the brain that interprets tone is several inches away from the area that interprets color, making the experience of tone and color distinct physiological experiences, as distinct as sight and hearing.



The color stream (in blue), is also called the ventral stream or the “what” stream. It is more concerned with recognizing, identifying, and responding to objects. Color processing through the ventral stream is a capacity that is shared only by higher primates, not the bulk of other mammals.

I asked Dr. Livingstone if she would describe more differences between the "where" and "what" streams? In particular, is one stream more associated with emotional response or higher cognitive function?

“I don't know about emotions," she said, "but the dorsal (what) stream is certainly more associated with higher, conscious functions and awareness.” (Addendum: I believe Dr. Livingstone misspoke here, and meant the ventral stream.)

The difference between these two streams may explain why classically-trained artists use a strategy of planning the tonal organization of their compositions separately from the color scheme.

"The Artist at the Easel” by Sadie Dingfelder, February 2010 Monitor magazine of the American Psychological Association.


Two-Streams Hypothesis on Wikipedia

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lines and Colors Exhibition Review

I'm honored that the art blog Lines and Colors has done a thoughtful review of the Dinotopia exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum.

As many people know, traveling to the exhibit has been as difficult as getting to Shangri-La, with all the record-breaking blizzards we've been having. But we made it to UArts in Philadelphia for a memorable visit yesterday. More on all that later.

PLEASE NOTE: The scheduled events for Wednesday and Thursday at the Delaware College of Art and Design and all the other public and private schools have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the weather.

Lines and Colors post.
Delaware Art Museum

Dinotopia in China

Fantasy Art Magazine, the leading professional magazine in China for the imaginative arts, has just published a 10-page portfolio of Dinotopia artwork.

The recent book Journey to Chandara, features some of China's exciting dinosaur discoveries, such as the Microraptor from the Liaoning province, and great discoveries from the Gobi desert, such as Protoceratops and Oviraptor. The interior of of Chandara's Imperial Palace was based on the historic photographs of temple interiors by John Thomson. (1837-1921).

Dinotopia books have been released in China in three different translated editions. Happy New Year (Year of the Tiger, Feb. 14) to my friends at Fantasy Art Magazine.

Mouth Shorthand

Here's a mouth drawn in the style of American cartoonist Milt Caniff. According to artist and comics historian Ron Harris, "Drawing the lips too round or too full can detract from the "man's man" look realistic artists usually strive for. Impressionists Noel Sickles and Milton Caniff circumvented this potential pitfall by drawing a thin upper lip in shadow, reduced almost to a line, while indicating the lower lip only by the shadow it casts on the chin."

Ron's blog post "Mouthing Off" has a lot more examples of ways the great comic artists simplified the mouth for maximum clarity and expression.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mystery Mask

Can you guess which artist had this face?



To find out the answer, follow this link to the amazing blog that's all about this great imagemaker.