There are just Two things to know, just two, about color

And here are the games to let you play, so you can learn color grammar.

When Monet created “Impression Sunrise”, he made the sun vibrate, and he did it by matching the brightness of the dark orange orb so that it equaled the brightness of the morning purple sky.

Equal luminance can create awful visual effects when trying to state text clearly.

You will be transformed by color in relationship!

We are here to inspire, educate and beautify. In short, we evangelize color relationships. Something extraordinary happens when colors come together, when they relate to eachother. For better or worse, in harmony or ecstatic clash, colors in relationship are often misunderstood and more often under-leveraged. Get to know the power of color relationships.

Colors change dependent on their context. Or at least, our visual perception that generates color in our experience, sees color differently in different context. When we challenge and expand this process of visual perception, we improve it, and sometimes, we transform ourselves.

We seek to create that “pop” of recognition when a color reveals itself as more than it appears.

In the 1920’s, Josef Albers created a series of paintings homaging the square. In most cases, the colors were made from arrays made from two parent colors, thus creating halations.

In the 1950’s Dick Nelson went to Yale and took a course with Josef Albers. Fifty years later, after learning to work with and mix colors on a computer, he had an epiphany while flying from Maui to Oahu to create a matrix of color from four parents.

Inspired by the lessons, inspired by the colors themselves and inspired by the notion that color is relative, I took the matrix and made the background interactive.

The matrix inherently creates harmony because every color is aware of every other color in the matrix.


The eyes have it.

Play may be the best way to bring more color to your life.

In the classroom with Dick Nelson, we played with color swatches for hours and when we’d leave the world was alive with color. But it’s not just enough to move color around, it’s got to be done with an objective in mind.

 Mantis Shrimp

 Mantis Shrimp

That’s why these are called games, while they could be called exercises or even animated optical art (my favorite). They incorporate optical illusions but they also

Color is Relative:
The flagship website. Thanks to you (and stumbleupon) this is the core traffic driver having received over 200,000 visits since it’s modest inception a year and half ago. The original idea was to take the Dick Nelson Matrix and make it interactive. This leveraged what was possible in the digital age with Albers concept of color field artwork. Then it became obvious that an even more simple example of poles would get traction, and it did, now this is the most popular page.

Same Same or Different:
Video for Same Same or DifferentDecide before you Smoosh! It is important that you commit whether the two swatches are the same color or whether they are different. Half the time the two swatches will be the same and the other half they will be different. But it happens at random and if you don’t commit (it helps to commit outloud) you don’t get the benefits (and you can’t keep score). There are a couple of tricks, you can sort of rewind to see again by SMOOSHing again and then mouseover the middle array (to the right of the SMOOSH button). This was all designed as mouseovers so it could be content for the color box.

Complementary Color Healing:
[requires java and is slow on Google Chrome]
Easily the most challenging of the bunch, we’re tackling two tough concepts at once– and keeping the whole thing in motion while you try to pin down values!!! What does that mean?!

Ok, first off, the concept of values: each color has a hue and a value- the value is the luminance, consider it a level of gray if a black and white photo was taken of it. If you can match two different hues of the same value, something magical occurs. This technique has been employed by artists since at least Monet’s Impression Sunrise.

Second, the make things even more challenging, the two colors (the one in the square and the one as the background) are animating through the full color spectrum and are always the complement of eachother. Boom! Yes, complements.

What’s so important about color relationship! (and what’s the point of this website)

Halation is better than a Magic Trick. You explain a magic trick, it no longer works. However, with Halation and with much of the COLOR insight you can experience here (that may lead you to your color epiphany), the explanations only make it better- the explanation improves the experience.

It actually allows you to see more, deeper. Your new found distinctions within the subtle scale of color change will enhance your sense of color in general, everywhere. As you learn more, you see more.

The history of color is splattered with color legends both on the science end of things and often crossing over to the artistic. While not seeking complete coverage, we are more interested in coloring in the areas that may have been overlooked by many traditional color sites, or just areas that are particularly interesting.

My own roots of color knowledge come from Dick Nelson (the artist) and Margaret Livingstone (The Scientist). I had my own color epiphany after taking Dick’s color class up on the volcano. I would leave his class and the whole world would be vibrating. I became obsessed with color.

While traveling in Amsterdam, I found that Van Gogh was also pretty thrilled about his discoveries abot visual perception. On the way back to Maui, I was in New York City and came across this book by Margaret Livingstone. It proceeded to lay down a phenomenal amount of research on how the eyes see. Her work is referenced quite a bit in my videos and website.

Understanding how the eyes see encompasses more than just explaining optical illusions.

This is also about how to leverage these ideas to create beautiful artwork and see more color not just in artwork but in your life.