At the time of the impressionists, some innovative
theory on color was being developed. Chevreul was
establishing a color wheel and Rood had just published
a work on the theory of color in 1881, The Impressionists
(and Neo-Impressionists) adopted these theories and
arranged their palettes according to the chromatic
tables furnished by the physicists. "Following
the theory that light, broken up in a prism, gives
off seven colors, they adopted these seven colors
on their palettes." They excluded black. Duranty,
a prominent writer of the time, felt that they were
handicapped by this. Unlike the "true" Impressionists,
Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Edouard Manet did not
exclude black, but used it richly. (Extracted from
Mary Cassatt 1844-1926, National Gallery of Art, 1970
If you get the opportunity, look at works by various
"Impressionists" and "Neo-Impressionists"
and compare the use of color.
Hue 1. color. 2. a particular variety of a color;
Chroma the purity of a color, determined by its freedom
from white or grey; color intensity.
Get the difference in meaning of these two words,
use them in some sentences, demonstrate with colors
until you feel personally certain of their difference.
3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it
Exercise: Experiment with only the colors
laid out in a limited palette (one warm and one cool
yellow, one warm and one cool red, one warm and one
cool blue) to get various hues and chroma.
Try to get some grays and browns as well as secondary
and tertiary colors by finding and mixing complementaries.
Specifically, see if you can mix a good yellow ochre
and a good earth red, since these are useful colors.
(Possible colors to use on your "limited palette":
Lemon yellow (a slightly greenish yellow), cadmium
or hansa yellow, cadmium red light or similar orangish
red, alizarin crimson or purplish red, ultramarine
blue or cobalt, and thalo or prussian blue.)