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knowledge of it. Conscious that its tiny cup of tone-experience is filled to the brim, it drains the tasteless contents with relish and with satisfaction.
Here is found the origin of tiresome and monotonous misuse of color under conditions loudly calling for its skillful employment. And hence, as a familiar instance, we are annoyed by woman's wraps and ribbons selected from tints insipidly similar, or with the dull expanse of house outer-walls, cornices, doors, blinds, etc., all painted from the same pot.
There is, however, consolation in the knowledge that this kind of mistake declares, and may be considered to prove, an inherent feeling for color, ill-advised, because, as yet, imma
And there is reason to be thankful for the cheering fact, that the art-world finds no lack of bright students, who are less easily satisfied. Their more ardent characters already burn to explore the farthest limits of the widest range. They intend to learn all that may be taught; to experience every thrill that art-nature affords. Nor do they need to be informed, that even moderate color experience could never be gratified, or be satisfied, with abuse of one unhappy tone. Just as no one would undertake to regale a fastidious and accomplished palate with the contents of a single dish.
Nor can the well-schooled eye be easily humbugged. Much of the inner-self of a writer may be read between the lines of his book, so, every individual use of color exposes the art-condition of the user. A glance suffices.
The faithful student may console himself with remembrance that color, once put in place, allows neither indecision nor selfopinioned obstinacy. Tints, adopted without approval of Color-Law, or applied contrary to its advice, proclaim the fact as far as eye can reach. Monochromic or combined, they advertise both the omission and the ignorance.
Now for some practical hints.
Houses must be painted on the outside, and decorations settled upon for interiors-side-walls and ceilings must be tinted—wall and floor rugs chosen-woman's apparel must be made ready for all occasions. For obvious reasons, this last item ought to make a careful color student of every living creature of the gentle sex. Furthermore, woman must have
not only approbation and permission, but direct aid from Color-Law, if she wishes to appear to the best advantage.
Who does not recognize the fascinating room-charm belonging to the grateful atmosphere of some favored homes—the cordiality of welcome, plainly felt and positive if tongueless ? Even the happy furniture-given to hospitality-stands more than ready to greet the incomer. On entering, the
On entering, the very breath of the house comes to meet us at the threshold, with a friendly reception, that is not less unmistakably hearty because silent, and is scarcely less real, from being intangible. Here the lights burn brighter and look more cheerful-pictures seem painted for the places where they hang—the restful easy-chairs, as if anxious for the visitors convenience, offer themselves pointedly-luxurious comfort abounds.
Guests are few who are not responsive in the presence of such enviable household treasures--the value of whose attraction is not to be reckoned in weight of gold.
Can womankind imagine home environment more becoming than the one here enjoyed by the hostess ?
With congenial entourage, she breathes an atmosphere ever keenly desirable. She would be the last person to think or to say that matters such as these are trifles. And especially, the successful woman will never so speak, for she knows better. She has discovered the real importance of tasteful matters that minor experience may ignore.
With knowledge of color, but positively not without it, these ideal surroundings are attainable. And yet the coin appraisement of such priceless possessions is but a fraction of the monster outlay that flounders offensively in another tasteless home. There, non-acquaintance with Color-Law has failed to supply anything more enjoyable than multi-colored stiffness, and managed to furnish a costly, marrow-chilling drawing-room with nothing so conspicuous or so abundant as measureless starch.
But when Color-Law enters the unfurnished room, it suggests that the widest choice is allowable as to what shall be done with the naked walls, ceiling, and floor. Any preferred tint or tone may be selected, light or dark, cheerful or severe, and the appointments may be rich and elegant or simple and inexpensive. These effects are all desirable. If, however,
there is placed in the room so much as a chair, which is intended to remain, it becomes a note of the color-chord for that room.
Gay or sober, for whatever follows, the key is there and then decided.
Color-Law again asks if the walls are to be colored warm or cold? It explains the importance of the tints decided upon, by showing that their tone not only determines the final effect, but governs the arrangement of every detail. We may suppose a case where the color of side-walls is to be warm. Therefore, a cold tinted ceiling is needed for enjoyable contrast. Whatever tint is chosen may go shading on through countless gradations of cold grays, up to almost pure white. This tint forms part of the complete color scheme, which includes wall, furniture, and footing, that, by itself, almost perfects the intention. And with background like this, distinct pictorial finish may be confidently looked for, because it follows naturally. It may also be honestly enjoyed.
A side-wall, that is intended to be itself a decoration, may be ornamented at will. And it may be convenient to bear in mind the interesting fact, that, in the case of individual colors, reds have the perspective expression of advancing, as it is called; blues, greens, and grays, of receding; while yellows, wherever placed, may be relied upon to hold fast their own.
Tints of pink or of blue, so dilute and delicate as to be barely perceptible, when looked at separately, become comparatively brilliant when exhibited side by side. Under the same circumstances, stronger shades of these colors, entirely satisfactory when alone, act and react on each other with so much earnestness as to grow intense and even garish.
This fact illustrates the painters' axiom that “color is what it is, where it is."
Another wall, whose rôle is to afford brilliant relief by its own obscuration, and to play the part of faithful companion to some object in especial favor, as a statue, a bronze, or any variety of art ornament, should wear a subordinate tone, flat, and gray with the preferred tint. Grays appear to be largely misunderstood. They may consist of, and be tinted with, every color on the palette, and do not specially nor even generally refer to any variety of lead color.
When placed among tones both lighter and weaker, all bands of positive, bold color are to be particularly avoided. Besides being a deliberate defiance of Color-Law and of the values, as well as an offense to art, their presence ruins the integrity of every tone-combination where they intrude; their hardness isolates them from adjoining color as completely as if solid moulding filled the spaces they occupy; in studio talk, they “tear” anything they touch.
When matters of refined importance, such as these, are entrusted to the limited capacity of routine craftsmen, the dismal result, to be surely counted upon, seldom fails to appear. By their work, they are certainly known! Facts remain relentless in color-use as in morals. Sin is followed by retribution. The law-breaker must pay the penalty.
Repetition of ceiling tints on side-walls is forbidden. One reason is loss of dignity. A large, unbroken surface of some pleasing tint-not white—lends an effect that is impressive and restful. This same surface, like a picture, appears to better advantage in a frame. Hence the ceiling-border, the cornice, and the frieze.
It is not difficult to understand that a tone-contention of side-walls with ceiling must weaken, by diffusion, the individual power of color over-head. Reproduction of this special ceilingtint on the wall space of any room is sure to impair its original stateliness and distinction.
It is also desirable to remember that the result, as a whole, is more pleasing, and that the proportions of any room appear to better advantage, when the ceiling is lighter in tone than the adjoining wall, with the aim in view to reproduce, indoors, an indirect effect of sky in real landscape. Deep, strong colors suggest heaviness with solidity, and the converse is also true. For this reason, and because our ceilings can hardly rise too high, they may be made to appear to float above our heads, as far away as may be, by the use of colors that are light and atmospheric with blue and with gray. Skilfully chosen values in reds and yellows may itensify this eye-charm, without injury to the vaporous illusions.
The primal importance of preserving the values in every combination of color is once more insisted on. By the technical
term “values preserved,” the painter means to assert that colors light or dark in tone must be harmonized or contrasted with colors correspondingly light or dark. And the values must continue to be preserved, on the scale ascending or decending, as far as the eye can distinguish varying shades.
Sometimes it is desired to soften a given tone without disturbing its value or changing its note on the scale. In such case the effect is obtained by introducing the contrasting tone in quantity sufficient to neutralize to the point desired any color disposed to be obstinate or intrusive. As for instance, under certain circumstances, adjoining values call for—we may say-some plain blue, cold and low in tone. After this blue has been laid in precisely as wanted, it is found from tonereaction to be too energetic; its proportions become excessive; its voice also is too loud and must be repressed. To temper it with white, would carry it up too high on the scale and destroy its“ value;" to use black, would take it too low, with the same result at the other end of the scale. Experience, however, manages to obtain the desired effect by judicious introduction of the contrasting yellow.
It is well known that yellow can be added to blue until this cold tone takes on a greenish hue, and when the mixture is carried far enough, it becomes a positive, warm green. But in the example here made use of, such mixture is not wanted. Green is not the tone desired, but a subdued and softened blue. Therefore, instead of directly composing green by incorporation of yellow, the requisite amount of warmth and temper is supplied in spots or dots. These small magicians are introduced with prudence—nicely calculated to lose themselves in the local tone while producing the needed effect. Great care is taken to keep them in such complete subjection, that, while doing their whole duty and speaking as desired, they may only say precisely what is wanted.
Those sufficiently interested in the subject are invited to compare, side by side, a clear blue scarf with another of the same tone, but freely dotted with yellow.
It is thus made clear, how an over-prominent color may be restrained at will by the simultaneous exhibition of its contrasting color. The importance of the fact can hardly be exag