Thursday, July 5, 2012

How do you see colors?

I was getting ready to take pictures of my newest work. I got out my black sheet for my background and laid it on a large tray that I was using as a support when I noticed that the black sheet didn't really look very black. It had a greenish tint to it. So, I laid out a large piece of black felt and I could really see the green tint to the sheet. I called Hubbahubby over and asked him what color did the sheet look like to him.
he .. Black.
me .. Okay, what color is the felt?
he .. A darker black.
me .. Can't you see the green in the sheet?
he .. What green?

This wasn't the first time we had this type of conversation but it was the first time it dawned on me that my computer geek hubbahubby really doesn't see colors the way I do. I then started wondering if other artists see colors the same way I do?
What do I see ? All of the colors that make up a color. For example, when I look at a leafy green tree I don't just see green leaves. I see the blues or the yellows in that green. Or when I look at red I not only see the red but I also see the colors that make it a warm red, or a cool red, or a grayed red. I mean, I'm not seeing it in my mind because I know how to mix colors, I'm really seeing all those colors that make up that one color!

I remember a game I use to play with my kids when they were learning their colors. I'm sure most parents did this ... point to something and ask what color is that. As my children got older and started learning to mix colors the game change to, "What colors do you see in that leaf?" Both my son and daughter did pretty well learning to see more deeply into a color but my daughter seems to be much better at it.
I read a study once that said females are better than males at seeing the hues of a color. Something about hunter/gatherer, males only had to see the prey but females had to be able to tell when a fruit or berry was truly ripe. But if you follow that line of thinking then how would you explain male artists that are absolutely brilliant with the colors they use in their work?

Do any of you that are artists see colors like this? How about you non-artistic folks? Is it a predominantly female trait or do artists just see colors differently than non-artists?

What do you think?

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