Vibrancy and Saturation in Abstractions

DSC_5480 Kleur
DSC_5480 Kleur (Photo credit: Joop Reuvecamp)

I’ve been exploring the difference between vibrancy and saturation in digital abstracts.

Vibrant colors are very high on the scale of brightness. They are bright and striking colors that pulse with energy and suggest activity.

Colorfulness is the degree of difference between a color and gray. Chroma is the colorfulness relative to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions. Saturation is the colorfulness of a color relative to its own brightness. ”

march collageIn other words, saturation boosts all colors by the same amount but vibrancy only boosts the least saturated colors. And, I’m learning that how to apply saturation to digital paintings where I want to make softer colors look brighter, but don’t want to lose important detail in the already vibrant colors.

Artist Mark E. Mehaffey answers the question “What is abstract art?” and shares his advice which I find inspiring:

Find Your Path in Abstract Art
There are as many ways to paint as there are artists. What works for me might not work for you. Nonetheless, if you’ve tried painting nonobjective work or pushing your representational work into abstraction and you haven’t been happy with the results, try this approach:

  1. Start with an idea—a concept to direct your work.
  2. Build your abstract painting on a solid compositional structure.
  3. This is the fun part—use whatever materials and whatever technique you have at hand to support the first two steps.
  4. Finally realize, as with all creative work, there are no hard and fast rules, except the ones you make for yourself.

Hat tip to Jean:  Climbing the Skies, the Roughness: Painting and Cycling

Related posts found in this blog:
Distractions, Abstractions and Spontaneity
Beyond Fear: Creativity
Art Therapy: Abstract Painting
Art Therapy Abstracts: The Depths


  1. This is a very strange theme TiTi, when I move the mouse around on the screen, the text and images in the main bit and the sidebars alternately becomes dull and blurred and then dark and sharp: it is hard to read and all fuzz and the screen flashes. Is that what it’s meant to do? I find it very disconcerting and hard on the eyes. But maybe it only does it on a Mac? x Jo

  2. These are beautiful examples in your post. I’m afraid I’m not a right brain person to be able to do this kind of art myself. I like these guidelines as they give a context and a way to start.

  3. I am relearning these concepts as they apply to yarn and making fabric. It is very similar…all the yarn can be very saturated with color, but unless there is something vibrant as well, there will not be much life in the finished fabric. Interesting that the same concepts are used!

  4. I love digital art! I try to have a go now and again. I’m very colour oriented and to me is pure therapy at its best: keeps me sane.
    I really like the examples in your post.

    Happy creative DLightful moments to you! :)

  5. I can see why you’re having fun with digital art ..which I’m still trying to “get” the hang of it. I guess I find the mouse a little preferably than the paintbrush or ink pen. That’s just me.

    I took several art evening and weekend art courses to even restart any abstract art. Before such courses, I didn’t know where to begin…how to use tools, certain paints, gels and set my spirit free on canvass. A great art instructor teaches you foundational techniques how to combine different paints, textures from everyday materials and nature to lay them on the canvas in a composition that can evolve with your visceral senses.

    I realized that last time I bought the wrong types of tube paints: no wonder why the acrylic paints seemed too gluey for how I was using them for prints. Should have bought water soluble paints. Oh well, live and learn.

    Wishing you lots of innovative play and fantastical imagery.

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