Thursday, January 27, 2011

Near Neutrals

As part of my color study group, I did something interesting yesterday with my Munsell color chips.

I created a palette of colors which are near neutral - just this side of grey - with just a hint of hue.   And included a full range of values.   Here is a color photo of the result; which is not quite true.  It looks richer and greyer in person.  Also I took a photo in black and white so you can see that this is a full palette of values.  What the colors have in common is that they are the lowest chroma/saturation in their respective categories.

Here is how I did it.  First I created a column of chips (on the left) that ran from white at the top to black at the bottom - a typical gray scale.  Next I selected the chips with the lowest chroma/saturation from my Munsell Color Handbook.  Since the Munsell color tree uses 10 hues; I ended up with ten columns of differing hues (red, yellow red, yellow,  green yellow, green, blue green, blue, purple blue, red purple, purple).  I lined up the chips within each hue in value order; lowest at the top and darkest at the bottom.

I find this palette absolutely fascinating.  The values are the same across the rows.  Each column is a different hue.  It never occurred to me the breadth and beauty of a palette of near neutrals.  Just the term neutral makes it sound dull and boring.  But there is enough value distinctions and color differences to create wonderful designs for a lifetime.