Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blacks and Whites

Colors reside in the vast landscape between black and white. Hue, saturation, lightness, and luminance all give this vibrant field a further myriad of complexities that paint our world. We don't need to pour in too much effort to know how much color we exist in. Take a trip down to a paint mixing station at a local home depot and ask for color charts, color palettes or color swatches and you’ll find yourself staring at an overwhelming array of colors in different shades. Reds can be ruby, brick or rose. You’ll find out green can be emerald, lime, olive, or teal. The expression of light in color is what gives our skies the different shades of blue, orange, purple and red all in one horizon that becomes a landscape that speaks quietly and evokes a lapping of emotions.

When picking colors for a composition whether for what you'll wear, what you'll paint or what you'll render with, you'll decide on hue and saturation, and lace your decision with counter-active measures for color deficiency. You may not be aware of it but your brain is making these multiple decisions all at the same time. It is matching what you see with what you need, what you feel, what others might see or feel, or what is acceptable to you or others. The choices they pose are like many echoing voices tugging and pulling in all different directions. It's a contest of colors. Sometimes it may feel like choosing one color over another from a box of 64 crayons.

It's not always though that we need to think in color. Maybe when we need to simplify things we need to scale what we see into blacks and whites. Doing so, we are left with just contrast. It then becomes the single most powerful tool for presenting important visual information. The simplicity of black and white makes compositions easier to process. The mind can rest on simple decisions. We are left to focus on lights and shadows that helps us frame pictures in just tones. It is true that vibrancy is lost in black and white but in its stead, we can rely on clarity.

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