September 17, 2019

This is a sequel to my previous post, “The Dark Spectrum I: Goethe and the Imaginative Interrogation of Color,” . In that post, I introduced Goethe’s dark spectrum and ended by proposing that such a spectrum might have something new to offer us. In this installment, I want to make good on that proposal and introduce an often,...

November 19, 2018

Though often dismissed as misguided and ill-informed, in terms of its scientific understanding of the physics of light, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s work on co

August 1, 2018

The question “Do you dream in color?” is one that most of us have probably been asked, or have considered at some point. If so, what would you answer? Do you remember your dreams? Are they in color or are they black and white? If you think about it, there is something slightly odd about this question and its implicit assumptio...

May 3, 2018

One million colors, that is the approximate number the typical human eye can see [1]. This is due primarily to the fact that our eyes contain three different types of photoreceptors, known as cones, that are responsible for detecting wavelengths in the visible spectrum, with different yet overlapping ranges. They are known as...

February 1, 2018

In the history of painting, the work of Georges Seurat (1859-1891) stands out as being a unique synthesis of both science and art, as articulated for example in his masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte of 1886 (fig.2). By incorporating the cutting-edge color science of the day, in a new technique re...

February 1, 2018

Gray is not a popular color. For many, it is considered drab, boring, non-committal and ‘safe’ - the very essence of conformity. On average only 1% of people surveyed select gray as their favorite color [1]. But if we look a little closer, we will see that it is a rich, complex color that forms not only the basis of our percep...

February 1, 2018

You enter a cylindrical structure through a rectangular door. Inside the space is simple and empty; no ornamentation, just a minimalist sense of space and materials; wood, stone and concrete. The room is empty except for a bench that runs around the inside of the curved walls. People are sitting here and there, looking up at a...

May 6, 2017

Let’s start with a simple question. What color is the square below? Is it blue or green? This question was posed to ISCC members in the Winter 2014 Issue (#465) of the ISCC News, and the results were interesting. Men were split 60/40 in slight favor of blue, whereas women were more in agreement – 75/25 in favor of blue. This s...

January 20, 2017

In “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (1971) [1], feminist art historian Linda Nochlin turned the commonly accepted ideas of genius upside down. She demonstrated how greatness has as much, if not more, to do with social access (education, current ideas and trends, patronage, distribution etc.) as it does with unique...

October 25, 2016

Today’s artists are spoiled - for choice that is. Go to any well stocked art supply store and you will be confronted with hundreds, if not thousands, of brilliant and nuanced colors, ready to go. But this is a relatively recent development. Historically, artists had to make their own colors. Though most of the earliest colors...

July 19, 2016

Can colors be considered good, or bad or ugly? Maybe not in any absolute sense, but there are instances within which we might assign such adjectives. Lets start with ‘the Good’. There are certainly some colors that can be considered good, or at least better, than others, especially when it comes to utilitarian needs; warning s...

April 17, 2016

 

In the arts, a distinction is often made between looking and seeing. Looking is referred to as a passive act where we simply glance at something with our eyes, whilst seeing is a more active process that involves paying attention to and being aware of what we see. In short, there is a difference between what we look at and wh...

February 1, 2016

Color is a code, a sign, a message –we use it to communicate and in turn it has the power to shape how we think and feel. For the last 500 years or so, black has been making its way to the front of the line as the color of sophistication, culture, power and self-control. On the streets of Paris, New York, London and Tokyo, bla...

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 ABOUT                        
 
Refractions is a quarterly column that appears in the newsletter of the Inter-Society Color Council. The ISCC is the principal professional society in the field of color in the United States, encompassing the arts, science and industry. This blog provides an opportunity for comments, questions and feedback on the various articles. The articles are written by Carl Jennings, a member of the ISCC as well as an artist and a Professor of Art at Kap'iolani Community College at the University of Hawai'i.
 
His artwork can be viewed  at www.cjennings.com.
 
Information about the ISCC can be found at www.iscc.org .
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© 2018 Carl Jennings -  www.cjennings.com