This blog is about painting and drawing. I post links to resources, tutorials, graphics software and interesting artist bloggers.


Color vision and Art

Color vision and Art is a site about color theory and the way we see and respond to color. It is fun to read and concise without being simplistic. There are also interactive examples so you can experiment with certain effects for yourself. I wondered who wrote all this and then found a credits page with art historians and neuro biologists. It's well worth a visit.
This site led me to another interesting one called Causes of Color. this goes into detail about why things are a certain color. Some of this involves a lot of physics which gets a bit complicated (well for me, anyway) but it's still fascinating.

1 comment:

brain - research neuroscience group said...

Indeed, sites you mentioned here are very interesting. What misses is a more detailed perspective on color perception at cortical level, because reading the site "color vision and art" one may say that color depends most on the eye. This is true, a normal eye is important for seeing, but perception is extremly important in art. It is known that in the occipital cortex (where signal from the retina arrives) we have neurons for colors that are tuned for a huge range of hues,each neuron with a limited prefference in the color space. So neurons in the cortex are not tuned just for the 2 main opposite axis of colors - red-green, yellow-blue as in the retinal neurons. Also it is possible to have more neurons for intermediate hues because in nature this intermediate hues are more frequently present. Without disscusing about shape represenation (which is in a tight correlation to the colors used), different combination of firing patterns of the "color neurons" in the occipital lobe and inferior temporal areas will influence higher brain areas, modulating what we consider beautiful or ugly. It is known that an abstract painting will activate a distinct area than a painting of a landscape will do. A line drawing (in black ink) with artistic value will activate other patterns and regions than the examples above. A gray scale image - the same. Also there are important overllaping areas activated when seeing images with artistic value. More, a painting representing an apple colored in blue will activate the brain similar to an abstract colored painting. The color tuned neurons from the cortex can change their color prefference whith some degree depending on the color of the background or in relation with the dominant color an so on... All this datas may suggest for someone
that color in art may be just an "unimportant add-on" and for other colors in art may be the first
and most important factor for a painting or photo to be considered beautiful (I used "beautiful"
because art may explore the ugly or even the horrifing aspects of life etc).This color tuned neurons are permanently modulated by attention, novelty discovering mechanisms, and under the pressure of habituation and many other factors and they provide inputs for higher brain areas, leading us to the perception of colors in art. Also see