crayons, paints, and colored stuffs, so as to test the growth of perception, and learn by simple yet accurate terms to describe each by its hue, its value, and its chroma.
(28) Pigments, rather than the solar spectrum, are the practical agents of color work. Certain of them, selected and measured by this system (see Chapter V.), will be known as middle colors, because they stand midway in the scales of value and chroma. These middle colors are preserved in imperishable enamels, so that the child may handle and fix them in his memory, and thus gain a permanent basis for comparing all degrees of color. He learns to grade each middle color to its extremes of value and chroma.
(29) Experiments with crayons and paints, and efforts to match middle colors, train his color sense to finer perceptions. Having learned to name colors, he compares them with the enamels of middle value, and can describe how light or dark they are. Later he perceives their differences of strength, and, comparing them with the enamels of middle chroma, can describe how weak or strong they are. Thus the full significance of these middle colors as a practical basis for all color estimates becomes apparent; and, when at a more advanced stage he studies the best examples of decorative color, he will again encounter them in the most beautiful products of Oriental art.
- When recognized for the first time, a middle green, blue, or purple, is accepted by most persons as well within their color habit, but middle red and middle yellow cause somewhat of a shock. “That isn’t red,” they say, “it’s terra cotta.” “Yellow?” “Oh, no, that’s—well, it’s a very peculiar shade.”
Yet these are as surely the middle degrees of red and yellow as are the more familiar degrees of green, blue, and purple. This becomes evident as soon as one accepts physical tests of color in place of personal whim. It also opens the mind to a generally ignored fact, that middle reds and yellows, instead of the screaming red and yellow first given a child, are constantly found in examples of rich and beautiful color, such as Persian rugs, Japanese prints, and the masterpieces of painting.