Q Why are there no Summer/Winter, Spring/Autumn colour mixtures in the Certified 12 Tone Personal Colour System?
It is true that many personal colour systems, other than the Certified 12 Tone System (formerly SciART), offer tonal groups which include cool to cool and warm to warm colour pallets. Many people accept this thinking as it seems to offer a ‘logical’ expansion of the True Seasonal Groups so as to include the full realm of colour. The basic premise is as follows: take four tonal groups: Spring/Autumn (both warm) and Summer/Winter (both cool), then create new tonal groups by mixing them all together; mix warm with cool (winter/spring and summer/autumn), mix cool with cool (summer / winter) and warm with warm (spring / autumn).
If we accept that the object of the exercise is to expand the number of tonal groups from 4 to more, then we seem to have achieved our aim. Right or wrong?
Sometimes the easiest way to answer a question is to ask another question. So here goes, one questions which may help us to understand more.
Q What do we achieve by 1) mixing warm and cool hues together and 2) by mixing two cool hues or two warm hues together?
Art and Colour theorist have long since known that there are more hues available than those that are considered either warm and cool. One way to create new colours is by mixing warm and cool hues together. These new hue’s are called neutral; neither cool nor warm, but somewhere in the middle. The key word here is ‘mixing’. The hues must be mixed together, not simply placed side by side. The Certified 12 Tone System achieves this expansion accurately by mixing the warm with the cool hues; many systems miss this step and simply place the hues side by side in the same pallet. The result of this is colour disharmony; the subject of another blog post entirely!
Warm + Cool = New
So in answer to our question part 1): we can say that provided the warm and cool hues are mixed together, and not simply placed side by side within the one pallet, the result is the creation of new colours/new tonal groups. In other words, by mixing warm and cool hues together, we can create colours which previously did not exist within either the True Seasonal Winter/Summer/Spring/Autumn tonal groups.
Lets look at an example of this to see what some of these new hues might look like. Look at the three red and three yellow hues below. Can you see the difference between cool, neutral and warm? The cool red contains some blue (making it appear pinker), the cool yellow also contains some blue (making it appear a touch green or citrus). Now look at the warm examples. The warm red contains some yellow (making it appear more orange by comparison), the warm yellow contains some red (making it appear a more golden yellow). Now look at the neutral hues in the middle column. The neutral red is a mixture of both the cool and warm red from either side, it is a totally new colour. The neutral yellow is also a mix of the cool and warm yellow, it too is a new colour. This new red and yellow are neither warm, nor cool. They are a mixture of both warm and cool, which is called neutral.
Cool Neutral Warm
Cool Neutral Warm
Cool+Cool = ?
A colour is identified by three characteristics according to the Munsell Colour system: Hue – what colour is it, Value – how light or dark is it, and Chroma – how clear or dusty is it.
For our first example of a cool to cool mix, lets take a True Seasonal Summer Blue and True Seasonal Winter Blue; both 100% cool, no yellow or red to be seen!
If we mix a hue which is cool, low/medium in chroma and medium in value (True Summer blue), with a hue which is cool, medium/high in chroma, and either low or high in value (True Winter blue) we get…nothing new just more of the cool hues which are already present within the tonal groups!
The same will happen if we mix warm and warm together – more warm hues!
Now we have the answer to part 2 of our question – What do we achieve by mixing True Winter with True Summer or True Spring with True Autumn hues? The answer is we get nothing new, we just get more of the same. If, as stated earlier, our aim was to expand the original True Seasonal groups to create the missing hues, then mixing cool with cool or warm with warm fails to achieve this as it does not create a distinguishable tone in between.
In other words by mixing cool with cool, or warm with warm, we don’t create new tonal groups but simply recreate what we already have!
12 Tone Natural Colour harmony
The aim of the Certified 12 Tone System is to identify and re-create Natural Colour Harmony, between both the colours contained within each pallet, as well as between the colours and the wearer. To achieve this Master Munsell Colourist Kathryn Kalisz expanded Seasonal Colour Theory by creating new tonal groups which consist of mixtures between warm and cool hues; creating neutral hues, neither warm nor cool. By doing this Kathryn not only replicated the way colour moves within Nature, from cool to warm to cool back to warm again (as seen in the visible spectrum, the rainbow and the artists colour wheel), she also very cleverly created colour pallets which accurately incorporate the full realm of color; including warm, cool and neutral.