SUGGESTIONS FOR EXERCISES IN THE USE OF COLOUR
THE method suggested in the section on Harmony is probably the safest to begin with Pairs of tints, closely related and in their natural order, should be chosen, and arrangements of designs should be made from each pair so chosen. Orange and red, purple and violet yellow and yellow-green will serve as examples A red figure may be arranged against an orang background, a purple pattern may be worked upon a violet ground, or yellow, sunlit foliag may be painted against a green hillside.
The same exercises should be worked using the colours in different strengths pale, medium, and rich.
Two strengths of each colour may next be tried in the same arrangement. For example, the red figure may have trimmings of orange (both being rich and vivid), the background of a lighter tint of orange may have some kind of pattern, or some other variation, in a correspondingly lighter red. In the same way the design in purple and violet may contain certain figures, or an underpattern, in a lighter purple and violet.
This is a most useful exercise, because of the variations of which it is capable, and because it suggests so many possibilities. It is by far the best way to work all the early exercises in pure colour if possible let it be taken directly from the colour-box, so that the student may be able, freely and fearlessly, to use bright, fresh, and strong colour, for, unless he does so, he will never be able to face the greater colour problems which he will be called upon to deal with later on. Broken tints are very attractive, because a certain harmonious effect is comparatively easy to obtain by their use, but such effects may often be obtained by chance and the student is none the wiser. Pure, strong colour is generally enjoyed by young students, and, if they are regularly exercised in using it, they should attain to at least some degree of certainty in arranging strong, simple schemes, while, if they have a natural taste for colour, this early exercise may easily lead to a wonderful mastery of the most difficult problems.
After a set of exercises in very closely allic:d tints it will be well to work some experiments with pairs of tints which are separated by a short interval in the colour-circle, such as orange and crimson, or red and purple. Thee increased difference between the colours used will produce more variety in the arrangement made from them ; quick steps will take the place of slow transitions. The longer tl^e interval between the selected colours the moiie energetic will be the effect upon the eye, bit if the interval be made very long, and yet net long enough to produce a true contrast, the effect will be that of a jarring note.
BECAUSE the problems of harmony, contrast, and discord are so interesting,, one is easily tempted to forget that when colours are brought together the effect depends greatly upon the way in which they are distributed. Large masses of colour placed side by side will appear altogether different from the same colours arranged in narrow parallel stripes, and the effect will be different again if one of the two colours is arranged upon the other in a pattern of small spots.
To test this, experiments may be made with any two colours. These should be arranged first in broad bands, chequers, and large spots. The stripes and spots should then be gradually reduced until the two colours are quite closely intermingled. After this, large spots of one colour may be surrounded by various textures formed as suggested above. It will be found that, when viewed from a sufficient distance:, these textures will appear to vary in colour. If three or four colours be used, instead of only two, the possible textures, and the corresponding possible new tints, are greatly increased in number.
This principle is of the first importance alike in picture painting, in decoration, and, particularly, in designing textiles and prints.
Nearly all surface decoration can be include]! under the two descriptions?stripes and spots? so that the probable effect of a propose arrangement may be tested without undu difficulty. By changing the textures a colour effect can be entirely changed, even though no alteration has been made in the colours employed. KEYNOTES OF COLOUR
WHEN it is desired to use a large quantity of a particular colour without giving the appearance of rawness, spots of the pure colour may be used and supported by broken tints of the same. Thus green spots supported by broken yellow-greens (lighter), and broken blue-greens (darker), will give a general effect of rich green, but much less raw than one plain space of unbroken green. Pure red supported by brownish reds and red-greys will similarly give a general effect of redness, but more or less sober according to the extent to which blue enters into the broken tints. The spots of pure colour have a stronger effect upon the mass than would the same amount mixed up in the broken tints.
Keynotes of pure colour are also of great value in refreshing a scheme which inclines either to dullness or heaviness. The numbc:r and size of the spots must be determined by experiment in accordance with the degree of brilliance required.