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Optical Mixtures
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Optical mixtures refer to the Neo-Impressionists who purported that a brighter secondary color such as green could be made by putting a group of blobs of the two primary colors needed, in this case, yellow and blue. The two primary colors are not mixed: they are just mingled together and appear to the viewer (who stands at a certain distance from the painting) to be brighter than a green that is made from mixing yellow and blue together and then putting the mixture on the canvas.

As a result of this method, the Neo-Impressionists did all of their paintings by using small blobs or commas of paint, rather than pre-mixing their colors. The blobs would be done either by mingling them with white or with other colors, and the size of the blobs was determined by the artist's desire to influence the spectator at different distances. The Neo-Impressionists used the term Divisionism to describe their method.

Impressionism did not recognize the color of black in Nature; however, by using this method, the Impressionists were able to make grays in many tones. Degas' paintings show optical mixtures extremely well; however, his mixtures are more complicated than most Impressionists' work. Degas often used optical mixtures in order to portray depth in his paintings.

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