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The colors human eyes see

Library of Spectral Reflectance Curves of Commonly Used Artists'Oil Paints

Click on the solid color in a hue family below that you wish to examine.

Spectral reflectance curves show how much of each color is contained in a hue.  Our eyes only perceive the dominant hue that is reflected when visible light illuminates a color.  However, all of the colors (Violet, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red) reflect a bit of their hue in every color.  In the world of visible light, the colors we don't see in a hue have an impact on the color we obtain when we mix two hues together.  For example: A significant amount of red is contained in the pigment Ultramarine Blue. When Ultramarine is mixed with a yellow pigment, such as Cadmium Yellow, the red component in the Ultramarine will dull the intensity of the green mixture so it never achieves the chroma that the mixture of Phthalocyanine Blue and Cadmium Yellow displays.  Phathalocyanine Blue has very little red reflectance thus making a more intense mixture. The term used to describe the "hidden" secondary hues that influence a color mixture are called "bias."

Explore the collection of spectral curves that are provided.  See the bias of the pigments you may be using and how they influence  mixtures that you are making when you paint.

Note:  More Pigments will be added periodically.

Violet Pigments


Pigments Cataloged:

Cobalt Violet

Permanent Mauve

Green Pigments


Pigments Cataloged:

Chromium Oxide Green


Cobalt Green

Phthalocyanine Green

Cadmium Green

Sap Green

Orange Pigments


Pigments Cataloged:

Cadmium Orange

Mars Orange

Blue Pigments


Pigments Cataloged:

Ultramarine Blue

Cobalt Blue

Yellow Pigments


Pigments Cataloged:

Cadmium Yellow

Indian Yellow

Naples Yellow

Red Pigments


Pigments Cataloged:

Cadmium Red

Alizarin Crimson


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