Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to Develop Colour Perception

The article contains the theory of colour perception and a very useful exercise that anyone can use in order to develop this skill.

Every subject in the world has its own colour. We can recognize some of them thanks to their colours. We know that grass is green, the sun is yellow, sky and sea are blue. We know that ripe apples are red and unripe – green. Seasons can be distinguished by the colour of leaves on trees: light green in spring, deep green in summer and yellow or orange in autumn.

Scientists believe that ability of colour perception develops with evolution and age of people.
Thus, people of ancient Greece and Egypt recognized fewer colours. This theory is proved by the colour palette they used for their art that is usually limited by yellow, ochre, brown and red shades.

At present, eyes of a mature person can recognize up to 350 colours and shades. However the ability of colour perception is very individual. When children learn to recognize colours their colour palette is limited to the basic colours. It is clearly seen on children’s drawings. Many of them grow up with limited colour perception. For example, two shades of one colour that can be easily distinguished by a person with developed colour perception seem the same for a person with limited ability of colour recognition.

Consequently, two questions arise: why people need to develop colour perception ability and how it can be developed?

It is known that colours effect on people’s emotions, mental state and even physical body. The ability of colour perception allows people to fully enjoy the life in its beauty and diversity.

There are many ways of developing colour perception. One of them is to surround you with original art. It can be beautiful pictures, handmade souvenirs and professionally designed interior. That is why it is highly recommended for parents to decorate children’s rooms with original art instead of posters with cartoon characters.

Another way is paying attention to colours. See, how shades of the same objects are changing depending on light illumination and surrounding objects. For example, if you place a yellow lemon on red surface it will get reddish shades from down, on green surface – greenish. The same lemon illuminated by electricity light will have cold yellow colour with warm shadow, when illuminated by sun light its colour will appear warmer and its shadow colder. Pay attention to landscape colours in different times of day. In the morning colours are cold, illuminated by midday sunshine they are warm. In the evening surfaces and object reflect colours of sunset or night illumination sources (street lamps).

The following exercise is very helpful for those who want to feel colours deeper. Choose one word from each column and try to imagine a scene. Think, which colours can transfer the mood of the picture, time and idea. Paint of draw pictures using varied mediums, such as gouache, water colours, pastel, colour pencils, etc.

Feeling       Object            Time or weather          Place 
Happy         Cat                  Morning                       Garden 
Sad             Soldier             Rainy                           Castle 
Friendly       Horse              Sunny                           Forest 
Angry          Dog                 Snowy                          Desert 
Scared         Girl                  Windy                         Sea 
Mystery      Traveller           Midday                       River 
Calm           Old woman       Night                         Room 
Surprised    Sailor                Midst                         Road 
Brave          Bird                  Storm                        Mountains 
Confused    Boy                   Sunset                       Street 

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