The Munsell Color System

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The Munsell Color System

The Munsell Color SystemAlbert H. Munsell (1858-1976), artistand teacher at the Massachusetts NormalArt School (now the MassachusettsCollege of Art) (Boston), wasparticularly interested in finding anappropriate method for teaching color tochildren. He devised a practical colornotationsystem that had a scientific basisto serve as a teaching aid. Within severaldecades his system assumed greatimportance in color science and in colortechnology.Munsell Color SystemThis color system was based on steps of equal visual perception with any colorbeing defined as a point within the three dimensional Munsell color space. Theattributes of this system are Munsell Hue (H), Munsell Chroma (C) and MunsellValue (V) and are written in a form H V/C, which is called the Munsell Notation.Because of its perceptually uniform property, it is recognized as a standard systemof color specification and has been widely used in many fields of color science.Vocabulary:Chroma- the degree of a color's vividnessHue- The name of any color as found in its pure state in the spectrum or rainbow,or that aspect of any color.Value- the lightness or darkness of a color64


THREE TYPES OF COLORSPrimary, Secondary, and TertiaryPrimary: The colors yellow, red (magenta), and blue (cyan) from which it is possible to mixall the other colors of the spectrum.Secondary: The colors obtained by mixing equal amounts of two primary colors. Thesecondary colors are orange, green, and violet.+ =+ =+ =66


Tertiary: Colors produced by mixing a primary with a secondary color. Tertiary colors arered-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet. Notice thatwhen written, the primary color is always written first, then the secondary.+ =+ =Neutral: A color not associated with a hue. Neutral colors include browns, blacks, grays, andwhites. A hue can be neutralized by adding some of its complement to it.Tints, Tones, and ShadesTint: A soft and light color — one to which white has been added.67


+ =Tone: A less intense color--- one to which gray has been added.+ =Shade: A color to which black or another the complementary has been added to make itdarker, tending to make them neutral in color.+ =+ =COLOR SCHEMESColor Scheme: A set of colors that are used in an artwork, and the way they are combined inan artwork; sometimes called a palette.Monochromatic: Consisting of only a single color or hue; may include its tints and shades.68


Complementary: Colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as redand green, blue and orange, and violet and yellow. When complements are mixed together theyform the neutral colors of brown or gray.Analogous: Any two or more colors that are next to each other on the color wheel and areclosely related. For example, blue, blue-green, and green all have the color blue in common.Families of analogous colors include the warm colors (red, orange and yellow) and the coolcolors (green, blue and violet).69


ACRYLIC PAINTINGCANVAS (stretched or board): Commonly used as a support for oil or acrylic painting,canvas is a heavy woven fabric made of flax or cotton.GESSO (PRIMER): A gypsum material mixed with animal‐hide glue and used as aground for painting. For this latter use, it is usually applied to the surface of a woodpanel or sculpture to become the surface on which an artist paints.ACRYLIC PAINT: Synthetic paints, with pigments dispersed in a plastic‐based material. Firstused by artists in the late 1940s, their use has come to rival that of oil paints because of theirversatility.PAINT BODY:Opaque: Something that cannot be seen through; the opposite of transparentTranslucent: Allowing some light to pass through, but greatly obscuring the image ofobjects on the other side. A quality that is between transparent and opaque.Quick drying: Acrylic is fast drying in comparison to oil paints, which take much timeto dry. They will dry in a matter of minutes.PALETTE: A slab of wood, metal, marble, ceramic, plastic, glass, or paper, sometimes with ahole for the thumb, which an artist can hold while painting and on which the artist mixespaint.BRUSHES: A tool used to apply paints and inks to a surface, consisting of hairs, or bristlesheld in place by a ferrule attached to a handle.PALETTE KNIFE: A knife with a spatula‐like flexible blade, for applying or scraping off aplastic material.BRUSH & palette knife CLEANING & STORAGE: All brushes and palette knives should be70


washed and dried thoroughly with warm water to remove all paint, and then places bristlesideor metal‐side up in their perspective container.PAINTING TECHNIQUES:COLOR MIXING: Applying one color and adding it to another color to get a differenttint,tone, or shade of a color. Refer to the Munsell Color Wheel packetfor more information.HARD EDGE: A definite division of color from one object to another in a painting.SOFT EDGE: A type of blending of paints that occurs at the edge of one object next toanother.BLENDING: A type of shading that can be created by mixing paint with another colorwhile it is still wet.LAYERING: Placing a colored layer or paint on top of or next to another color to createan optical mixing technique.WASH: A thin, translucent layer of pigment. Often it is the background of a picture,prepared using watery paint applied quickly using large, sweeping brushstrokes. A wetarea of wash can be made lighter by blotting.IMPASTO: A thick or lumpy application of paint, or deep brush marks (brushstrokes),as distinguished from a flat, smooth paint surface.71

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