My Art Blog

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Painting when you're colour blind

So, I'm partially colour blind (mostly red, green), and this can obviously lead to problems when mixing colours etc.

I've seen myself trying to mix some leaf green and then worrying it looks more like brown (even though I didn't use any red!).

My wife is my "go to" on any colours I'm struggling with and I'll harass her from time to time whenever I'm not sure on any colour.

I also now tend to buy more colours than I really need i.e. greens to save mixing them when my wife isn't around.

My third trick is to jot down my colour mixing successes after I mix them up - I have loads jotted down on my phone :-)

And my last trick, is that I've downloaded an app to my phone which tells me the colour of anything I aim my phone at.  It's a great little app from the Android Play store called "color blind".

I'm not completely colour blind, and I didn't realise I even had an issue till I took a colour blind test at school (the one where you see numbers in coloured circles) and only got 13 out of 25.

I did another colour blind test ( while writing this article and I only got 33%.  Looks like my son has it as well, as he couldn't see all the numbers either - although he did do slightly better than me.  My Wife got 100% in the same test. By the way, colour blindness affects more boys than girls (1 in 12 boys, and 1 in 200 girls)

Here's some the tests;

I could see the 26

I could also see the 29

Apparently this is 45 (but I can't see it at all)

And this one is apparently 73 (again it's just some random dots to me)

Now, you're probably thinking this restricts my art/painting quite a bit.  But with my 4 counter measures above (buying more colours, asking my wife, writing down all my colour mix recipes, and using the color blind phone app) I seem to manage okay.

One of my friends suggested I just paint as I see and this would give a unique look to my paintings - and most of the time I do paint as I see (until my wife says to me why are you painting that object blue when it should be purple, and then I change it)

There have been a number of famous artists that were colour blind, and it doesn't seem to have held them back

You can now also get glasses to "help" you if you have a particular type of colour blindness (chroma/patron).  I've never been properly tested, so I'll probably get this checked out on my next eye test.  They don't seem to fix your colour blindness though, but they can help


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