In higher and lower latitudes, seasons are associated with a dominant color palette: greens during the growing season; reds, yellows, and oranges during harvest; and shades of gray when the snow flies.
Olive Trees with yellow sky and sun
by Vincent van Gogh
Saint-Rémy, November 1889
Seasons also seem to affect our perception of color. Psychologists at the University of York have published research indicating humans see yellow differently in the January (winter in the UK), than in June (summer in the UK).
"In York you typically have grey, dull winters and then in summer you have greenery everywhere. Our vision compensates for those changes and that, surprisingly, changes what we think ‘yellow’ looks like."Yellow is unusual among the unique hues because most people, despite differences in retinal physiology, age, and culture, tend to agree on true or unique yellow. Subjects in the UK exposed to chromatically adjusted artificial light were asked when the light reached true yellow. Significant differences in the recognition of true yellow occurred depending on whether it was winter or summer.
— Lauren Welbourne, University of York, Department of Psychology
"What we are finding is that between seasons our vision adapts to changes in environment."Painters have long appreciated the changes in the quality of light over the course of a day or across seasons. It seems our minds adjust our perception of color to re-balance or compensate for some of those variations.
— Lauren Welbourne
Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.
— Pablo Picasso
- Changing seasons also change how you see color, Laine Bergeson, Discovery News, 5 August 2015.
- Human colour perception changes between seasons, Lauren E. Welbourne, Antony B. Morland, Alex R. Wade, Current Biology, Volume 25, Issue 15, pR646–R647, 3 August 2015.