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  • Writer's pictureUshrayinee S.

How does the color of the sky affect how well your art is received by critics?

It is no secret to any artist that color plays an enormous role in how their art is received by any critic; be it a professional jury or just an overbearing uncle, the colors you pick during the completion of the piece are just as important as the final edits you make on your photo editing software of choice. With TERAVARNA’s color art competition quickly approaching, now is a great time to consider these factors!

The way an art piece looks on a digital screen is a problem that many artists in the modern age face. Many viewers of art have yellow light filters on their phones or look at their screens in overexposed light. How can you as an artist compensate for this? Is there any way to do this? And most importantly, how?

First, having a better understanding of color theory, of course!

To understand this, we can start with some basics:

Sometime in the 17th century, Isaac Newton set the groundwork for most modern theory on light and color when he discovered that prisms could disassemble and reassemble white light, originally dividing the spectrum into six named colors (orange, yellow, red, blue, green, violet, and later adding indigo as the seventh). Indigo as a color is relatively invisible to the human eye, so why did Newton include it, besides his belief that was shared by ancient Greek sophists that seven was a perfect number?

Maybe it’s the same reason why the Greeks used to describe the ocean as “wine-dark.” “Blue is the typical heavenly color,” said Wassily Kandinsky in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912).

There is evidence from comparing Newton’s observations of prismatic colors to a color image of the visible light spectrum showing that "indigo" more closely corresponds to what is today called blue, whereas his "blue" approximates to cyan. This brings up the matter of the elementary level knowledge of primary colors: red, yellow, and blue, which differs from what we know to print best from digital to paper transference: cyan, magenta, and yellow. What does all of this have in common? Color is always relative.

If the color “blue” is so variable from viewer to viewer, so indescribable to the human eye and psyche, then perhaps it’s also best to negate color altogether, if only for a second, to look at the forms of your piece. How well does the piece read? How well does it read as a thumbnail? On what size will it ultimately be displayed, phone screen, tablet, or desktop? And will it still be comprehensible? This is something that lies not in the color, but in the form and function of your piece, something that must stay resolute throughout.

Emerging artists have all surely looked through guides of hue/saturation adjustment to ensure for best art consumption, but in the end, it remains a fact that this is something that changes from screen to screen, from eye to eye. Of course, there is always a benefit to taking an extra second to learn the subtle nuances in exposure and luminosity. It is always recommended to digitally adjust any documentation you take of your art pieces for accuracy and readability! But in the end, given today’s variable social mediascape and art marketing world, the legibility of your art ultimately lies in the form and shape of your piece and how well the message and function are conveyed throughout the different sizes that it may be displayed at.

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