You who are practiced artists will already know this, so enjoy the pancreas pictured above and humor me, there are people following this blog who may not. A note, or a spot on a traditional painters canvas has three attributes, they are;
- Value, that is the degree to which they are light or dark. Value is of transcendent importance. A practiced artist might choose to alter this, but it is essential to know exactly what value things appear.Value is a part of drawing. Generally I work with the knowledge of ten values. I may choose to not employ them all but I parse values to that degree. Beginning painters look at the darks and say "there's a dark", I say "which dark is that?" beginning students lack enough separate values in their quiver to describe the darks. The same is true of their lights. I think learning to see values is best taught in the studio, painting still life or drawing casts under the correcting eye of a teacher who has acquired the ability to see values accurately.
- Hue. That is what the color is named, Is it red, yellow or blue, or some note including all three. In practice I think in the colors on my palette. That is burnt Sienna or this is cadmium yellow. Doctors refer to the assemblage of bones held together with ligaments as the inominate bone, the bone that has no name. I often think in inominate colors. Many of the colors in nature are inominate, that is, they aren't red or yellow but a gray with a little blue and warmed with some yellow or some such combination. If you don't know what color it ids it probably contains all three primaries. Color temperature is part of this division, some hues are warm and some are cool.
- Chroma, this is I think, the hard one. People don't usually deal with this unless they paint or do some color matching activity. Chroma is the amount of purity or strength of the color. Sometimes, when describing chroma, people will ask "is this a bright color or a dull one?" I usually express this as highly colored, or grave (lacking in color). The students problem I described a day or so ago was a failure to understand the difference between this and value, as a note became more colored they mistook it for becoming lower in value. Chroma and value are different things.