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Hue, Value, Intensity and Color Temperature

~Important Color Characteristics To Remember~

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~Hue, Value, and Intensity~

As with sound - there are various ways of describing color. You start by naming it. A color described as blue or red-orange is known as hue.

When describing a color as pale or very dark, you're referring to its value. Imagine a scale of color without the hue. It's in shades of gray - very light to very dark. This relative lightness to darkness is called value. A color of very low value is almost white. A color of very dark value is almost black.

A colors brightness is known as its intensity. I understand that this is difficult to visualize. So, imagine this analogy... Your lamp has a dimmer which allows you to brighten or dim the light. The color of the light bulb is red. As you increase the illumination, you're increasing the intensity of the
red light. As you turn down the illumination, the hue or value are not changed - the intensity is altered.

~Color Temperature~

Painters often refer to color as warm or cool - hot or cold. The warmth or coolness of a color is known as color temperature. Some colors seem to be quite hot and others very cold. Most colors are warm or cool. Reds, oranges, yellows and violets are in the warm category. Blues and greens are usually classified as cool. However, color temperature is a bit more complicated than that. Each color category has its hot to cold temperatures. Within the reds, you will find hues that are brilliant, hot red and on the other end of the scale; a very cool red. When placed side by side, one sees a striking difference - the cool red contains blue in it, which makes it cooler. Cool yellows contain a hint of green, i.e., yellow oxide (yellow ochre).

I hope that this very brief description of color temperature clarifies your thoughts regarding it.

Hue, value, intensity and color temperature are important to remember because these are the four basic qualities of color that a painter must learn and recognize. These idiosyncrasies of color are seen in nature and all around you. When mixing colors and applying them, it is of great value to understand the four main characteristics of color. I will go more in depth regarding this topic in future newsletters.

More Tips:
Introduction Page | Optical Mixing | Color Contrasts
Translucent Water | Composition | Technical Tips | Translucent Water | Value Scale
Red Power | Keeping Acrylics Moist | Brush Care | Color | Young/Helmholtz | Book Excerpt

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