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Colors in Nature and Painting

Nikolas likes to study the border between colors of Nature and their human perception on the picture.

All Colors of Rainbow

The Moon Night on the Dnieper, A.Kuinji

The Moolight

The Moolight

The Light From the Sun and From the Moon

The Moonlight

In the spectrum of the Moon, the green and the blue rays possess the greatest intensity. That's why in the moon night we can see light green and light blue subjects, and red ones appear grey or black. This is because in the light of the Moon red rays are very weak. As a result, subjects painted in this color don't reflect this light. Many painters, f.e. A.Kuinji, were taking it into account.

The Daylight

The common lighting, characteristic for this or that daily light, brings together subjects according to the tone, throws on them similar glares. At the same time, those subjects which reflect falling on their light, modify the coloration of the adjacent ones, especially in shadow. New color combinations appear, the feeling of volume reinforces. So, as a result, during the cloudless summer day subjects will have a light silvery coloration of the well-lit side. For example, we propose the picture Haymaking.

The Cloudless Summer Day, A.Onyschenko, 2016

The Clopudless skies

The Clopudless skies

Haymaking, I. Plastov, 1945



The Role of Air

Being not far from a forest, we differ well the color of leaves, boughs, and trunks. As far we derogate from it as it will blend in common mass, taking blueish

coloration. The matter is that air holds and dissipates the part of violet, blue, cyan rays, passing without hitch other colors.

The far chain of mountains seems to be blueish, and snowy peaks, under the sunny rays with clouds near horizon do pinkish. This is because the bright light, reflected by the white surface, in a way to us is deprived a lot of short waves. Loss can't replace a small addition of blue color, dispersed in the atmosphere. The crystal-clear blue is capable to colorize relatively weak lighted subjects only.

An Optical Confusion

Our Perception

If we lay side by side small spots of red and green paints and look at them from a distance we will see the common grey tone; if we do the same and green color will predominate, as a result, will be beautiful grey and green color. Nearly located colors we perceive as one whole from a distance. This is an optical confusion, called a spatial one usually. Confusing green with orange we will receive yellow, orange with violet will be dark pink, and so on.

Light as an Irritant

You received the luminous circle rotating the simmering firebrand. It happens because the visual feeling disappears not just after the action of the irritant. The trace left after the preceding irritant is called the consecutive image or contrast. It may be positive or negative. A new trend in painting, light-painting, was born, due to this peculiarity of our eye.

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Francisque Millet, Mountain Landscape with Lightning

Consecutive Contrast

Every time after watching figures of certain colors the negative image appears consecutively. As a result, transferring the eye from the sheet of red color on a white background, we will see it as mint green; if to replace a white background for the blue, it changed and became the aqua. Moreover, if we have watched before the green, the additional red, the green would have been seemed more intense. This event called the consecutive contrast has great importance.

Simultaneous Contrast of Colours

When transferring our look from one part to the other, painted in the additional color, we can see that these and those paints light up more and more, producing the feeling of color harmony.' Let's place the similar small squares, f.e. grey, on the different color backgrounds. These squares will acquire different shades, which approach additional colors of backgrounds. As a result, a grey square on a red background will turn green, on a green one turns red, and on the blue turns yellow. A red square on a green background seems to be brighter and purer than on the yellow, because the additional one, the green, reinforces its brightness This is the so-called simultaneous contrast of colors.

In Paris, the famous artist Eugene Delacroix, painting the canopy of the library in the Luxembourg Palace, managed to create the exceptional rose tone of the human body. He bravely crossed with acute green touches the naked rose torso. At a distance, due to the optical mixture, the colors of these touches that sunk in addition to its tone, influenced it and promoted the appearance of a new shade, fresh and translucent. Without knowing the principles of the optical mixture and contrasts of color, E. Delacroix could not obtain such an effect.

Eugene Delacroix and Exceptional Rose Tone



Colors in Nature


For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What do colors form even in the advanced societies?
    • Identity
    • Differences
    • Both, identity and differences
  2. What part of female frigate attracts male frigates?
    • The exaggerated head
    • The exaggerated wings
    • The exaggerated pouch
  3. For what purpose do colors of crab's claws serve?
    • To attract females
    • To fight against rivals
    • Both actions

Answer Key

  1. Both, identity and differences
  2. The exaggerated pouch
  3. Both actions

Colors in Painting

How to mix Colors

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What are three primary colors?
    • Red, blue, yellow
    • Yellow, green, rose
    • Brown, black,white
  2. What are the secondary colors?
    • Brown, white, yellow
    • Purple, green, orange
    • Rose, violet, brown
  3. What colors make orange?
    • Red and blue
    • Red and white
    • Red and yellow

Answer Key

  1. Red, blue, yellow
  2. Purple, green, orange
  3. Red and yellow

How to Interpret Colors of Nature

My Favorite Colors Are in...

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