Everywhere we look there is color. Whether it’s a farmer’s field or a city skyline, every object appears as more than one color if you look close enough.
If we placed a red ball on a table and asked 20 people to name its color, odds are that everyone would respond “red.” However, in order to realistically paint the same ball, using only red paint results in a rather childish rendering.
The red ball is in fact composed of a whole array of colors. There are purples and browns on the dark side and in the shadows. The highlight consists of oranges and yellows, and the more intense the light source, the greater these contrasts will appear.
But yet, the ball is still just “red.”
In my opinion, this is a fallacy. Paint stores contain hundreds of sample colors with unique and descriptive names, yet we continually fail to recognize the complexity of color in our everyday lives.
I think the most interesting and honest paintings are done by Impressionists and those who communicate true color. These are the painters who aren’t trying to fool us into believing that the ball is only red or that the field is only green. They proudly brush every color they see across the canvas and allow are eyes to do the mixing.
Their red ball boasts colors from an entire palette, and by showing us true color, they are begging us to see like an artist.