7.6. Color saturation contrast

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Speaking of the “color quality”, we are referring to its purity and richness. The word “contrast saturation” fix contrast between the colors vivid, bright and washed-out, darkened. Prismatic colors produced by refraction of white light are the colors of maximum saturation or maximum brightness.

Among the pigment colors we also have the maximum color saturation. In this regard, we advise you to pay attention to the figure 15, which detects the degree of lightness and darkness of bright colors with respect to each other.

As soon as pure colors brighten or darken, they lose their brightness. Colors can be darkened or lightened in four ways, with quite different, they react to the funds that are used for these purposes. Pure color can be mixed with white, which gives it a bit more cool character. Carmine red is off-white becomes bluish and abruptly changes its character. Yellow also gets a little colder because of the impurity of white, and the main character blue remains largely unchanged. Purple color is extremely sensitive to impurities white, and if the saturated dark purple color has something threatening, something of impurities becomes white lighter – purple – and produces a nice and calm and cheerful impression. Pure color can be mixed with black. This yellow loses its radiant lightness and brightness and gets some pain and insidious poisonous. This immediately affects the strength of its brightness. Géricault painting “Insane”, written in black and yellow colors impresses mental disorder. Black color purple color intensifies the inherent darkness, gives him some limp and leads into the darkness. When blended, black to bright carmine red gets the last sound, bring it to purple. Red cinnabar when mixed black gives a sort zhzhёnnogo, reddish-brown substance. Blue eclipsed black. It is enough to add a little black to its brightness quickly faded. Green color modulation allows more than purple or blue, and has many features your changes. Usually black color takes up the color of their lightness. It separates them from the world, and more or less quickly “kill”.

Deep Color can be diluted by adding thereto a mixture of black and white, that is gray. As soon as the color is added to a saturated gray, you get bright, lighter or darker, but in any case, a faded tone than the tone of the original color. Mixing gray neutralizes the other colors and makes them “blind.” Delacroix hated gray color in the painting and the possibility of avoiding it, because mixed with gray tones are neutralized by simultaneous contrast. Solid colors can be changed by adding the respective complementary colors. If a purple color to mix yellow, we obtain intermediate tones between light yellow and dark purple. Green and red are not very different in tone, but when mixed become the gray-black. Various mixtures of two complementary colors at clarification of white give the rare tone in its complexity.

If any mixture involving all three colors of the “first order”, the resulting color will be different weak, washed-out character. Depending on the aspect ratio, it may appear yellowish, reddish, bluish-gray or black. With three colors of the “first order” can be obtained all the powers blёklosti. The same applies to the three colors of “second order” or to any other combination, if only in this mixture will involve three basic colors – yellow, red and blue.

Action contrast “faded-bright” is relative. Some color may appear brighter near the washed-out tones, and washed-out – alongside the more striking. Basic exercises in contrast saturation can be carried out on a sheet lined with a checkerboard pattern of twenty-five squares. Pure color is placed in the center, and neutral gray of the same brightness in each of the four corners. Then mixed with pure gray, gradually getting four more or less diluted intermediate tone. To detect saturation of contrast, it is necessary to eliminate light and dark contrast in order to adjust the brightness of all the squares were similar.


Figures 38 … 41 give us an idea of ​​the possibilities of subtle contrast of light saturation in chromatic modulations. These exercises can be performed on the basis of placements instead of gray in the corners of the square color complementary to the color of the central square. At the same time everything will be much brighter than in the exercise with gray. If we want to achieve expression of the total composition, using only the contrast of saturation without any other contrasts, the faded color to be blended to a bright, bright red that is should contrast with the washed-out red, and blue with bright blue washed-out. But you can not put together a bright red with a washed-out blue or bright green with a faint red. Otherwise clean contrast saturation will be turned off by other new contrasts, for example, the contrast of cold and heat, and the effect of the saturation contrast with his quiet and calm expressiveness would be called into question.

Faded colors – mostly gray – seem alive thanks to the surrounding bright colors. This can be observed if one of the “chessboard” in each square of the second place a neutral gray color, and in the intermediate place squares of the same bright colors osvetljonnosti as gray. Then we see that the gray will get some liveliness, while close to them bright colors seem less bright and relatively weakened. Using contrast saturation can be seen in the paintings of Georges de la Tour “Newborn”, the Museum of Rennes; Henri Matisse (1869-1954) “Peon” New York, Museum of Modern Art and Paul Klee (1879-1940) “The Magic Fish”, Philadelphia Museum of Art.