ArtLex Art Dictionary




bolack - Like: This is rarely chosen as a favorite color because it is actually thea solid black square negation of color. The person who chooses black may have a number of conflicting attitudes. You may be conventional, conservative and serious, or you may like to think of yourself as rather worldly or sophisticated, a cut above everyone else, or very dignified.

You may also want to have an air of mystery, or, as in the language of the proverbial black negligee, be very sexy. Wit, cleverness, personal security and prestige are very important to you.

Dislike: Since black is the negation of color, it may be a total negative to you. It is the eternal mystery, the bottomless pit, the black hole, the Halloween witch and her black cat. It may represent death and mourning to you. Things that go bump in the night are black. Were you frightened by the dark in your childhood? That experience could be buried in the darkest recesses of your mind and may still haunt you when you look at anything black. Black may simply be too heavy or depressing for you to handle at this point in your life.

You are uncomfortable with the super-sophisticated and feel insecure in their company. You like real people and are not dazzled by dignitaries.


Very Basic Black

After several years of brilliant color, black is back with a vengeance. This year it's unadorned and painfully plain, displaying it's nuances primarily through texture: the shadings of slippery velvet, shiny vinyls and supple leathers; the ambiguity of heavy black rubber soled boots underscoring a long black lace skirt.

What has plunged many designers into darkness? Who turned off the lights? There are several answers--the first being pure practicality--its low maintenance yet hi-tech demeanor travels well. Black is the perfect background for all manner of accessories and makes the wearer feel wonderfully slim.

Black is not a color, it's an attitude. As a personal or fashion statement, black's message comes across loud and clear: I'm chic, I'm cool, I'm in control. It's the ultimate when-in-doubt, I never have to be worried clothing choice.

But is it technically a color? In terms of lighting it has been described as the negation of color; in pigment, it is said to contain all color. We do know that it is a strong psychological presence: powerful, dominant, pervasive, persuasive. Consumers buying habits and attitudes concerning black have altered drastically in the last decade. The "no--no's" of the past have gone away. Food is served on black plates, children are dressed in black and we are no longer obliged to wear black to funerals.

Occasionally we read that navy blue, brown or charcoal is replacing black, but this hasn't happened. Just as there are infinite shadings of red, green, blue, yellow, purple, etc., there is no generic, one-size- fits all, definitive black. Black can range from Raven to Phantom or Licorice to Caviar and just as the names imply, all very capable of creating a variety of moods, attitudes and ambiance.

Because the consumer continues to demand black, like the Ever-Ready battery commercial on television, "it just keeps going... and going... and going..."


Produced when light strikes an object and then reflects back to the eyes.

An element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the color name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a color, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a color.

When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colors are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colors; and also as warm and cool colors.

Colors can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed.

Some words used to describe colors are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, pretty, and sublime.

Sometimes people speak of colors when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc.

Photographers measure color temperature in degrees kelvin (K).






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Also see CMYK, local color, monochrome, palette, Pantone Matching System (PMS), pattern, pigment, RGB, saturation, spectrum, texture, and value.

Coming soon (available now only in early stages of construction): articles on individual colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, purple, brown, white, gray, and black.





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