The debate on black and white being colours is huge, yesterday I focused on black so naturally I need to talk about white also, so lets clear that little mystery up! White is the blending of all colours and therefore is actually a colour. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colours of the spectrum. A rainbow is proof. You can't see the colours of sunlight except when atmospheric conditions bend the light rays and create a rainbow or artificially by using a prism to demonstrate this. So basically the sums of all the colours of light add up to white.
White is the colour of purity, cleanliness, and innocence. Like black, white will go well with almost any other colour. Since white objects such as clouds, snow, the crest of a wave, down of a feather and flowers appear often in nature, human culture has many references to white and they are usually to do with its pure clean fresh innocence. The high contrast between white and black is used to represent opposites.
In most Western countries white is the colour for brides. White is also often associated with hospitals, especially doctors, nurses, and dentists. Angels are typically depicted as wearing white floating around on fluffy white clouds. And to continue the ‘Good’ connotation of white, like yesterdays post on black and bad, in early Westerns the good guy wore white while the bad guy wore black.
In most cases white is seen as a neutral background colour and other colours, even when used in smaller proportion, are the colours that convey the most meaning in an artwork. Use white to signify cleanliness or purity or softness. Some neutral beige, ivory, and creams carry the same attributes as white but are more subdued and less brilliant than plain white. Use lots of white for a summery look. Use small amounts of white to soften a wintery palette or suggest snow.
When used with light or pastel tones, white is soft and Spring-like and helps to make the pastel palette a more lively combination. White can make dark or light reds, blues and greens look brighter and more prominent. Its ideal for highlighting and suggesting where light hits on things.
Shades of the colour white - snow, pearl, antique white, ivory, chalk, milk white, lily, seashell, cream, linen, ghost white, beige, alabaster, paper, titanium, whitewash and zinc.
And while you’re here - Touching on Colour Mixing
Posted: Thursday 1 April 2010