Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Art 101 -Simultaneous Contrast in Black & White

Colors and values side by side interact with one another and change our perception. This interaction is called simultaneous contrast.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary "The tendency of a color to induce its opposite in hue, value and intensity upon an adjacent color and be mutually affected in return--By the law of simultaneous contrast a light, dull red will make an adjacent dark, bright yellow seem darker, brighter and greener; in turn, the former will appear lighter, duller and bluer".

This is an exercise I have my students do every semester. It's quite simple yet fun. We start with the value example below and later in the semester we do it in color.

Exercise: Paint 3 small rectangles of a medium grey all the same value. Below the 3 are marked A, B, C. They are the same value--they really are. Then simply paint around each rectangle with white, a slightly darker grey and then black and viola- simultaneous contrast in it's most simple form. As you can see the 3 small rectangles of grey appear as very different values. Give it a try. I'll show you some color examples in a later post.

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