RYB vs CMY vs.....

Since the booklet on the previous page was written, I have done much more research on color theory.  Though not imbued with the zealotry of a reformed hooker, I have pretty much changed my mind on the traditional color wheel.  This is the one with red, blue and yellow (the "subtractive primary triad") as primary colors.  (As a side note, it must be said that I do still believe that a rudimentary, yet functional proficiency in color can be achieved using this traditional system.  The more accurate systems now available will just make it necessary to adjust to achieve a better understanding of how things actually work.)

The properties of mixed color - Value (lightness/darkness), Hue (color family) and Intensity (saturation or brightness) are still foundational in practice.  They must be understood for sound working knowledge when we use color.  But a more up-to-date position surrounding the use of Yellow, Cyan and Magenta, their arrangement and revised complements have found their way into my artistic toolbox.  I would also include a forth (omnipresent, yet oft unspoken) property: Context.  No color sits in isolation from its surroundings.  Even sitting on a white piece of paper, a swatch of color exhibits certain effects that change when we see it in different surroundings.  The color itself has not changed, but how we perceive it may be radically altered by its Context.

Visit for an overdose of color information reflecting this change. 

But preferred over the former, I would suggest you visit  Bruce MacEvoy has assembled so much information on color and watercolor, you'll be tempted to buy two reams of paper, a couple of three-ring binders and backup printer cartridges so you can print out the whole thing.  It's humbling to read the verbal prowess, academic rigor and sensitivity brought to the matter.  It's a great resource.  Thank you Bruce!


copyright 2017 Fred B. Mullett