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Les R*ves Canadiens Itten, J. (1970). The Elements of
Colour: A Treatise on the Colour System of Johannes
Itten based on his book The Art of Colour (E. Van
Hagen, Trans.). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

The bases of the colour theories are that two or more
complimentary colours when mixed yield gray. When one
colour is viewed, and then the observer looks quickly
at a gray or white surface, its complimentary colour
will be revealed as an after image. Any other colour
combinations that don't yield gray when mixed are
expressive or discordant. The colour wheel is the
method used to aid the artist in mixing his colours.
Twelve colours are placed on the wheel so that the
compliments are opposite each other.

The next important consideration is luminosity. The
colour yellow is more luminous than blue; when blue,
yellow, and red overpower the yellow's luminosity.
This factor extends further. The darker a colour gets
the more it disappears into the black but before that
happens, orange, and red turn brown, green goes
olive, etc. More striking to me were the productions
of brown out of warm colours. Of course it follows
that the lighter a colour becomes, the pinks and
light blues and greens meet to become white.

When colour is in harmony there is a completeness and
order to a work. If the artist chooses to imbalance
this harmony then the painting becomes more
expressive. We all have preferences of colour and
have varying degrees of subjectiveness that affect
the way we view and produce art. This choice of
colour takes one into the psychological realm and
into aesthetics, which are touched on briefly in the
book. After this necessary overview the author takes
us directly to the intricacies of the seven kinds of
colour contrast: 1. Contrast of hue 2. Light-dark
contrast 3. Cold-warm contrast 4. Complementary
contrasts 5. Simultaneous contrast 6. Contrast of
saturation 7. Contrast of extension
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