Thursday, June 9, 2011

“Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green"

Recently, I read a book entitled "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green" by Michael Wilcox. It is fascinating. I agree with the author. The logic is rather simple. We know a yellow pigment reflects yellow light only and absorbs light of all other colors, and a blue pigment reflects blue light and absorbs the rest. If we mix yellow and blue paints together, the yellow light reflected by the yellow pigments gets absorbed by the blue pigments and vice versa. In consequence, the mixture will reflect no light, and we should see black. With the same reasoning, we can conclude that red and blue don't make purple, yellow and red don't make orange. They all make black only. The whole concepts of primary and secondary colors have been thrown out of the window. Isn't that bizarre? But, you know what, he is right. I can demonstrate this effect in front of you if I see you.


However in our experiences, we all know that blue and yellow do make green. I will talk to you more next time. After reading that book, I spent some time with my own color structure. I made this color wheel last night. The colors was arranged carefully such that the complementaries really make grays. I want to make sure this wheel does provide practical guidance, but not just an illustration of theories.



6 comments:

C said...

thank you for doing this. I have been meaning to read this book for a long time but have not had the chance- you have given me a chance!! thank you! I look forward to your comments tomorrow.

digitect said...

Definitely check out the Handprint site (http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/wcolor.html) regarding pigments and color relationships. It is more technical in nature than this book, but gets to the bottom of the science for predictably mixing colors.

MeeLi Lee said...

I, too have been intending to read this book. Looking forward to reading tomorrow's comments.

Gayle Bell said...

Interesting concept, but I'm not sure I understand. If yellow and blue are being reflected from each spectral(?) position, wouldn't they reflect into each other and make green and not be absorbed into making black? I'm interested in reading about your concepts further. BTW, I'm so into your blog and painting. Keep up the good work!

Sharlette said...

I haven't read this one, thanks for the tip. I really like the green I get mixing black and orange. I purchased Richard Schmid's Alla Prima, its my new read after I get through with grandchildren this next week. I havent even been able to paint for keeping them! I think I'll purchase this book also and those will be my reads for vacation at the beach.

I hope you've had a chance to check out Morgan Samuel Price, she is the Queen of Green. I noticed she has some DVDs on Ebay you might want to look into for $20. I really think you would like her.

CEC said...

Fascinating. I can't wait to hear this concept explained in plain English.