Shadows are never gray!
During visit to the American Women’s Club in The Hague this summer, I was invited to give a lecture on Color Theory to members interested in how to use light and color. The ladies had varied skills from painting to quilting, embroidering to interior decorating and fashion. I used the Munsell color tree to explain how our human eyes see and process color using value (tint, shade, tone) and saturation (color intensity with no black or white). I asked an innocent question – “What color are shadows?” Everyone in the room thought about it and the most consistent answer was … gray. Wrong! We discussed how different light sources can change the color of objects and shadows. In our experiment, members of the clubs held red, blue and green spot lights on a series of objects set on a white tablecloth. Much to their amazement, each light produced a clearly visible colored shadow based on the opposite from the color wheel illustrating the additive and subtractive processes.
Do you ever wonder how an apple would look in the morning sun? How about that same apple in the mid-day sun or Evening sun? How about the same apple by incandescent, fluorescent or candlelight? I think the results would surprise you. Remember Johannes Itten’s advice: He who wishes to become a master of color must see, feel, and experience each individual color in its endless combinations with all other colors.