Local color is an expression that has several meanings depending on the context in which it is used, as an artistic or literary concept.
What is local color in the plastic arts
In art, the expression local color is used above all in the field of painting to refer to the specific and specific color of something. That tone that is perceived when a matte object or surface is isolated and uniformly illuminated by a white front light.
The local color generally corresponds to what shade one knows to be characteristic of the object independent of variations in its color caused by light rays. For putting some examples that help to understand the idea. The local color of a ripe lemon will be yellow, that of a tomato is red, etc.
Factors such as the incidence of light, its quality, the reflection of other surfaces or atmospheric effects can cause areas or the total surface of an object to be perceived with a shade different from that of its local color. It is the case of the green mountains that in the distance are bluish, the chiaroscuro contrasts in an object of uniform tonal color ( tonal color ), the use of colored lights, the reflection of light rays that first strike a surface of another color ( reflected color )…
In the plastic arts, local color has been used more in those artistic trends that sought clarity in the dissemination of a message, giving priority to the communication of an idea over naturalism and the effect of representing reality. For example in the painting of the art of Ancient Egypt , of the Romanesque, in naive art, in children’s illustrations and comics.
Local color as a synonym for picturesque
In literature, the meaning of the expression local color refers to what is particular and popular about a place and its culture. A tale with local color is comparable to a traditional and folkloric scene in the plastic arts. However, this use of the expression local color as a synonym for picturesque is not used in the plastic arts.