Ways to control intensity...
Intensity can mean Chroma, Saturation,
All of the above words describe the property of intensity as it relates to color. These are also words that artists and colorists use when describing the saturation of color. As stated above, intensity refers to the brightness or dullness of a color. Bright, dull, grayed, toned are words used when describing or referring to the intensity of a color.
Artists control the intensity of color to create depth, dimension and interest within a composition. The artist's eye must be trained to see the differences between mixing color for intensity and mixing for value. Reading information alone will not train the eye to see these differences. Only by mixing and training the eye to read the subtle changes as we adjust colors will we understand how to control color.
In the example above, the eye is drawn to the intensity of the green leaves in the frontal plane of the photograph. If we had to describe these bright green leaves we would call them intense.The objects in the background, by contrast seem to dissolve away because they are all similar in intensity to each other. The bright green leaves in the center of the image attract more attention and create greater contrast. If an artist was painting from this photograph, they could use the bright (intense) green areas as a way to draw attention to these leaves. By comparison, the rest of the composition appears relatively dull.
Below are colors that the artist can add to their mixes to help control intensity
Earth Color = Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber
Neighboring color on color wheel
Another duller or brighter color from the same color family
Tips to use when mixing to control the intensity of a color:
- When mixing to change the intensity, use small portions until desired intensity is achieved.
- Always keep a touch of the original intensity/color in order to compare how the intensity is changing.
- Mixing complements together will quickly turn to mud/dull if this happens, add more of the pure/intense color.
- As colors get darker intensity may be hard to see, if color is lost pure color can be added to bring back some intensity and color.
- Adding just a touch of background color will tone the color and intensity marrying the colors together.
- Having a common toner, meaning the same toner in each color will give each color something in common and result in harmony of colors.
- The same intensity of a color should not be used in the focal area as in the background area the ending result will be a lack of a strong focal area.
- The value will change depending on the value of the color used to dull or brighten the original intensity.
- The color family will change or shift to another color family if too much of the alternate color is added.
- The following painting lesson teachs the artist how to work with intensity. Several elements are based on differences between dull and intense colors. These lessons are e-packets and can be downloaded immediately.