Well not really. I think we all know that this debate is superfluous. An art teacher showing students how the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) create 3 brand new colors (orange, green and violet) for the first time is pure magic. Period. And the discovery doesn't get old when they go on to do the same thing over and over again.
But there's always at least one student...
"Mrs. Haggerty, don't you get white when you mix all the colors? (That's what my ________ said...)"
I actually love that question because it gives me the opportunity touch on this concept (because you never know who is going to take an interest in physics) and because students are so accepting. I usually answer, "yes, that's correct if you are working with light rays but now we are talking about paint.." And we move on.
Truth is, I really didn't have a whole lot more (other than Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon Album Cover) to offer my students. But then about a year ago I discovered Colm Kelleher's TedEd talk, What is Color? and it does a super job of visualizing some very complex concepts. So I began showing it my Art, Design and New Media students when we explore color temperature and how it makes objects, shapes and text appear to advance or recede.
At some point everyone begins comparing scores and it becomes very obvious that the perception of color is highly individualized. To my great relief, Colm Kelleher comes to the rescue with another video that gets to the very heart of how we perceive color.
I highly recommend watching it but here are a few highlights:
And here are links to the online color scheme designers we use:
Adobe Color CC
These are so much fun - it's almost like playing a game! Only now we're using them with a deeper understanding than before...
So yes, "white objects reflect all colors of light while black things do exactly the opposite and absorb at all frequencies. This, by the way, is why it's uncomfortable to wear your favorite Metallica t-shirt on a sunny day."
- Colm Kelleher