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Are women superior?

July 1, 2011

Dear Artist,

Every day the news gets worse for men. More and more women are taking our jobs--mainly because they're better at them. Apparently, they have superior management, networking and focusing skills. As everyone knows, the wine industry has lately discovered that women have better noses than us--even though ours tend to be bigger. Yep, at tasting, testing and judging wine, women win nose down over purpose-trained celibate monks. Something in women's nosal evolution just turned more refined.

I'm sticking by my prediction that women are going to be the top refined artists by the end of this century. Statistics will prevail--there are now four female artists for every male--the highest percentage in history.

Women are apparently superior in how they see colour. According to X-Rite (the people who supply Munsell colour products), 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency. They've provided a free colour test online that you can access here. I invite you to take this test and send your result along to me at rgenn@saraphina.com (Please include your gender--apparently there are some men named Susan) Results range from 0 (top score) to about 90 (colour dunce). My score was an embarrassing 40, and so far every single one of the females I've asked to do the test have beaten me. Humiliating. We'll publish an overview of your results and male-female averages in the next clickback.

Networking may be the female trump card. If a woman doesn't know, she often asks someone who does. A man will make it up as he goes along. What passes for imagination in a man is sometimes just a case of stubborn resistance.

Female attendance in learning venues continues to go up. My daughter, Sara, and I are giving a four-day workshop at a trendy vegan retreat called Hollyhock from August 3rd to 7th. Reviewing the final list of our 38 attendees to "Colour, Commitment and Creativity," we find that every single one of them is a woman.

What does this mean? Are all the men too conservatively bound up in getting and spending to take time to bond, eat tofu and top up their latent creativity? What's the world coming to?

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." (Timothy Leary) "Well-behaved women seldom make history." (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich)

Esoterica: I asked my friend Joe Blodgett to give advice on the situation. "We've got to fight to maintain our place," he said. "How important is a colour test anyway? The main thing is that male artists have courage to paint with character and efficiency." I asked him what he thought were the greatest male attributes that might keep us on top. "Audacity, courage, bombast, guts," he said. "A lot of men have turned into namby-pamby wimps," he added. Joe and I would have followed the conversation further but he had to go home and mow the lawn.





Results of the Colour Test


Thanks to everyone who took the online colour test mentioned in my last letter. You can still take it here. It was a major job for Sarah Garland to go through and calibrate your results. As of Friday, July 1 at 5 pm PDT, 2989 readers had reported taking the test--2508 women and 481 men. There were 18 by the name of Sue, Susan, Suzan or Suzanne, etc., but none of them claimed to be men. Other readers reported they took the test but did not report a score. In our calculations we did not include those of unknown gender.

The average score reported for all the women was 18.28 and the average score reported for all the men was 35.44. Zero was the perfect score and 228 women and 42 men got it. According to our figuring this means that 9.09% of women got perfect scores, while 8.75% of men got perfect scores. Pretty close. We could not see a significant difference in scores between older and younger people. There were some very elderly people of both sexes with perfect scores. Anecdotally, elderly people did very well—perhaps because they patiently took their time. The four worst scores (900 or over) went to men. There were a few women with relatively poor scores as well. Further, many older persons who reported a lifetime of related colour judging experience scored well, in spite, in some cases, of also reporting macular degeneration, cataracts, floaters, etc. Further, most people who took the test more than once reported they improved on the second try.

Based on many, many remarks and observations, we think the quality of monitors may have an effect. Older, smaller monitors might not have been as clear or true as newer, larger ones. Some even tested themselves on two computers in their own homes and received better results on better monitors. ("My old one and my husband's nice new one") As well, we did not differentiate between Mac and PC users. I think we perhaps should have. Thanks to everyone who participated. As we watch this inbox, the results are still coming in. It's my sincere wish that the test was of value to you, and that you not get disgruntled if you scored poorly. If we get further significant input or statistics, we will report them to you.


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Where's the beef?
by Mike Barr, Adelaide, South Australia


I scored an 8. I am a 56-year-old male. You scored a 40 but I wonder what your score would have been Yachts in a storm<br>acrylic painting by Mike Barr Yachts in a storm
acrylic painting
when you were younger and, really, as your old 'friend' Joe has commented, "How important is a color test anyway?" I love Joe's comments. He is so politically incorrect - but so correct! There may well be 4 to 1 ratio of female and male artists, but there is also a glut of poor art in the world, like there has never been before, as well. As for no boys registered for the workshop vegan retreat - Robert, men need meat!!



There are 2 comments for Where's the beef? by Mike Barr

From: Doug MacBean -- Jul 05, 2011

Love your acrylic painting of the boats, here, Mike. It simply displays great colour and tonal knowledge ;) From an old male, 66er, scoring a "0" on the test. :D

From: Brian Bastedo -- Jul 29, 2011

Love your painting with the "weathery" sky, the sailboats, and spot-on colors...and yes, men would not usually be signing up for anything at a vegan retreat!!


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Men not confused by color
by Jane Angelhart, Denver, CO, USA


Loved your post today about women in art. I have been aware of men's inferior ability to discern colors Trevor<br>oil painting by Jane Angelhart Trevor
oil painting
for as long as I have been teaching and painting. I think this is why men have been historically stronger painters. They are not confused by color. Women looooove color... Look at the way we dress compared to the way men dress. Male painters are drawn to light and dark patterns (like striped and spotted animals lurking in the jungle... the old 3 to 5 values per painting idea... strong compositions) and women are drawn to the ripe berries and bananas (chaos... colors gone amuck). If women are able to shed the distraction of color, they will become better painters. I struggle with it daily... you men have it easy!



There are 4 comments for Men not confused by color by Jane Angelhart

From: Jennie Rosenbaum -- Jul 04, 2011

This is a really interesting observation.. they say artists are either tonally motivated or color motivated, that we choose one over the other. research has also shown that paintings with strong chiaroscuro and definitive values are more popular. Personally, I'm not a big one for color, I know it's a shock, I'm a woman, but I tend to think more like a man a lot of the time - I wonder if there is some relation there? somewhat similar to the spatial awareness men are supposed to be superior in. perhaps it all ties in, I don't know. I think if you may be onto something here...

From: Anonymous -- Jul 04, 2011

A beautiful painting, Jane. Illustrates your point re lights and darks making a strong painting.

From: Patsy, Northern Ireland -- Jul 05, 2011

Interesting indeed, Jennie. I also think more like a man than a woman most of the time (plus I'm an ace map reader!).
And when it comes to paintings my taste tends towards the drama of light against dark, rather than a mad mish-mash of bright colour.
So your painting appeals to me, as well as Mike Barr's above. Both are very dramatic.

From: Doug MacBean -- Jul 05, 2011

Excellent portrait, of "Trevor", Jane. Great tonal control.


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Some women have more color receptors
by Karen McLaughlin, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Not only do many men have dichromatic color deficiencies, it is also thought that some women have an Milkyway When We Were Young<br>acrylic painting by Karen McLaughlin Milkyway When We Were Young
acrylic painting
ability to see millions of colors through a phenomenon called tetrachromacy (four color receptors instead of the usual three). "The average viewer can see about one million colors," says Jay Neitz, a renowned color vision researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin. It may be impossible for us trichromats to imagine what a four-color world would look like. But mathematics alone suggests the difference would be astounding.



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Men have nothing to fear
by Brenda Hofreiter, Orlando, FL, USA


This news is, of course, no surprise to any woman who has worked or lived with men. Men know it, too, and Hawk's Nest<br>oil painting by Brenda Hofreiter Hawk's Nest
oil painting
have a deep fear-based inferiority complex about it. That is why women have been routinely repressed, subjugated and abused by primarily male-dominated societies since time began. It is amazing what happened when birth control was introduced into society. The world changed within one generation. Don't get me wrong. I think men are wonderful and I have life-long husband and son whom I adore, but the facts are the facts. That being said, I really don't know that color perception should be the ruler to judge artistic proficiency, but I guess it does explain the tendency for men to cling to the "school of gray" in their work. Every artist does know that just slinging color at it does not make a piece of artwork! Relax, I don't think men have anything to fear here.



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Preference for working with men
by Carole Dwinell, Martinez, CA, USA


Here I have to disagree. I have found that men are easier to work with, are more down to earth, Church on the Hill<br>oil painting by Carole Dwinell Church on the Hill
oil painting
have less baggage, and usually have a genuine interest in what one is doing rather than an pseudo intellectual version that has more to do with "What does this mean in my life" that seems to be inherent in the context of women. Men are more straightforward, say what they mean, for the most part, have no ulterior motives and generally are just more fun to be around.

What that has to do with the market place, I'm not sure. I think you are right in saying that "women have superior management, networking and focusing skills," but in the context of... what? And that, I believe, is a critical question. Does it come from the familial skills, the hunger to be equal to men, the 'proving oneself' attitude? I don't know. I just know that I prefer to work with men. At any level, any project. About your workshop: Maybe the men are at work.



There are 2 comments for Preference for working with men by Carole Dwinell

From: Anonymous -- Jul 04, 2011

I have never had a woman artist try to tell me how to paint. Most male artists have not hesitated to tell me how to paint, and it's always like they paint. (I can remember one who didn't.)

From: Darla -- Jul 05, 2011

When I was in my small town high school, I used to think that men were more straightforward and have fewer ulterior motives. It was frowned on for women to say what they think unless it was prejudged to be acceptable. Now most of my women friends are 50 or older, and they say what they mean, don't bad mouth each other as teenage girls were so fond of doing, and are fun to be around. As far as ulterior motives, both men and women have them, but I haven't seen any bad ones. My point being that as women get older, we learn that we don't have to conform to the "appearances over all" mindset and can sometimes even say what we mean-whether it is in words or art.


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Passion was doused
by Michele Bottaro, Santa Rosa, CA, USA


I am female, age 54, and according to the test, I have perfect color acuity with a score of zero. I didn't quite understand how to relate my score to others using the results page. Not sure if I'm average for women my age. I also wondered to what degree color correctness of one's monitor might affect the outcome. I have an i-Mac with good resolution.

I love, love, love color! Color mixing is a joy for me as I understand color very well. I also fall in the upper 90th percentile in mechanical abilities, or at least I did when I was in my 20's. I'm good at tasks such as "box folding" in my mind's eye. Very much a visual thinker to the point that I have to look away while talking to people because I often get utterly distracted by their eyes and facial features and lose my train of thought. I went through an art program that was run pretty much exclusively by very intense male art instructors. I have to say my experience there was harsh. At least 80 percent of the art students were female, and most of us came away feeling depleted. I felt utterly drained and disappointed in myself in the long run, as if nothing I did could ever measure up. I still feel ashamed of not painting after working so hard (magna cum laude with distinction) for my degree. I need a shrink, no doubt, but it galls me that my passion was doused so thoroughly when I'd started out so inspired.



There are 5 comments for Passion was doused by Michele Bottaro

From: Jackie Knott -- Jul 05, 2011

My God, woman, you're just 54! You've let men take that from you??! You don't need a shrink, you need to start painting. Now.

From: Anonymous -- Jul 05, 2011

I agree. START PAINTING! We have a woman in our artist's guild who was close to 60 years old and had not painted since high school. About 5 years ago, with encouragement from her friends in the guild, picked up a brush again. All she needed was a little coaching in technique and VOILE LA!!! She has become one of the best painters in the guild and constantly sells the most work at our shows. You may also find encouragement in the "Artist's Magazine's Over 60" competition. There, one artist in the las group of winners put it best when she said "JUST KEEP PAINTING"!

From: Pamela Lussier -- Jul 05, 2011

Hi Michele,
Your experience with art school makes me so sad. I hope you can take a workshop with some of the wonderful people who help grown ups to paint the second time around. There are many near you and if you ever want to come to New England my husband .David Lussier and
I would be happy to teach you in a positive way. He is a colorist also, though he hasn't taken the test. I think of myself as more of a tonalist who loves color. I got a score of 3, so I guess I see it fine.

From: Sarah -- Jul 05, 2011

Whatcha waiting for? I started at 66, and while I doubt I'll ever be monetarily successful, I'm loving painting, take workshops and really enjoy the process. Go for it.

From: Jackie Knott -- Jul 07, 2011

Follow up comment ... I've just returned today from Fredricksburg, Texas and drank in the fine work exhibited in both the Whistle Pik and Insight Galleries ... I was shown paintings by two working artists in their 90s and one in his late 80s. So you have thirty years of art therapy/hobby/and/or career awaiting you .... do not let anyone discourage you again.


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Really annoyed at being a woman
by Shirley Peters, Putney, NSW, Australia


You have touched a raw nerve for me here. You have pointed out how many more women are practicing artists Children of the Pantheon<br>oil painting by Shirley Peters Children of the Pantheon
oil painting
than men. "Statistics will prevail--there are now four female artists for every male--the highest percentage in history." So tell me, why are more men represented in galleries, art prizes and grants? Take our local Hunters Hill art prize. There were hundreds of works accepted, and I'd guess that 75% of the artists were female. Of the five winners, four were males. The Archibald Prize for Portraits (Art Gallery of New South Wales) had 41 finalists of whom 14 were female and 29 were male. (They don't advertise all comers, but my bet is that more women than men would have entered.) If all names were erased or covered, and the judges did 'blind' judging, like with wines, I'm sure that the male/female ratio would reflect the initial submissions. It's really annoying if you are a woman, because it seems you are not on the preferred list from the start. I don't think judges deliberately choose male artists, but I do think there is an inherent lean towards them. I'm almost at the stage of dropping my first name and becoming S. A. Peters, just so that I get a fair go.



There are 7 comments for Really annoyed at being a woman by Shirley Peters

From: Anonymous -- Jul 04, 2011

Hi Shirley, I think judging trends are annoying, full stop! If you are anything like a traditional artist it is almost impossible to get a nod at all the major prizes. 'Contemporary' artists have a head start when curators, and other 'art experts' are on the judging panel. Also earlier this year a rotary show in Adelaide gave all the prizes to women. It was a woman judge and quite frankly some of the works that won were the standard of a beginner. There is no justice anywhere it seems. Weve just got to plod on!
cheers
Mike

From: Marsha Hamby Savage -- Jul 05, 2011

Could it be that the male painters tend to paint stronger paintings? Of course, this is not always the case, but based on some of the comments here and Robert's letter about seeing color .... men tend to paint with stronger contrasts because they are not as "courted" by the colors ... maybe? And, the comments about women having a tendency to paint more details .... makes for maybe a less strong painting? I think these thoughts are worth studying. I was told once, and now believe .... women paint strokes with curves, while men paint with angles. Angles are stronger! I suppose I will get many arguments about this.

From: Loren Rademacher -- Jul 05, 2011

What qualifies a person to be an art judge?
Have you ever watched ice skating championships? Men and women don't compete against each other. In art, perhaps the only place men and women can compete fairly is in the marketplace; the same way authors do.

From: Anonymous -- Jul 05, 2011

Maybe they want to encourage men to paint,since we are slowly fading away as painters.I like the 4 to 1 odds,makes male painters more in demand..

From: Tania -- Jul 05, 2011

From: Frances Vettergreen -- Jul 05, 2011

Angles are stronger than curves, and painting with less colour makes a painting better? Huh. There goes Fauvism altogether. Oh, whoops, the Fauves were male, you say?

Oh, come on. Women see more colour subtleties than men because we physiologically have more colour receptors. One theory is that it's evolutionary -- men, being physically stronger, chased game; women were the gatherers and needed colour vision to help them distinguish one potentially poisonous plant than the other. One is not better, they are just different. And I'd apply that to tonal vs colour saturated paintings, too.

And yeah, I'm a colourist, when I'm not messing around with highly tonal black and white. With excellent spatial skills. And I can read a map.

From: Paula -- Jul 11, 2011

Tania, painful or not that's the reality. I have never been back stabbed by a male colleague. I work with mostly men and out of the very few woman I worked with, I had several experiences that made me physically ill. I would love that not to be true, but it is. If a woman thinks that you are in competition with her (even fictitiously), you better watch your back. Men will give you a hard time and be annoying, but women will make your life hell. I wish it wasn’t so, we would all be so much happier! But life is too short to change the world and I would pick a male to work with any day.


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Men in workshops
by Leslie Bishop, Fredericksburg, TX, USA


I have often wondered why the few workshops I've attended have been almost exclusively 'hen parties.' It's GOT to be greener<br>oil painting by Leslie Bishop It's GOT to be greener
oil painting
I've viewed the few males as brave, lonely and very self-conscious (maybe just a bit uncomfortable with their minority status) while the women are ready to pull out the bottle of wine and just have a paint party - whatever the results. This is not saying the women are not very serious about what they want to learn from the workshop. Quite the opposite. But they seem more accepting of their imperfections and a bit more relaxed about addressing them. These are gross generalizations, of course.

As a woman, I would feel very uncomfortable being the only representative of my gender in a class. Just old fashioned, I guess. But I'd love to see more men in the workshops. They could 'identify' with each other and appreciate some of the situations unique to their gender. They may be more comfortable and relaxed to have someone else from their tribe. And in general, it's just more interesting to have both sexes learning, sharing input, analyzing, discovering, etc. It's like mixing 2 primaries to get a secondary. BTW, I scored a 4 on the color test.



There is 1 comment for Men in workshops by Leslie Bishop

From: Anonymous -- Jul 04, 2011

A couple of years ago I was in a class of about 15 people - all women except one man. The teacher was a man - brilliant painter and teacher. Everyone worked hard in that class. Very little talking - all you heard was brushes on canvas. He was not a "task master" - the artists just took him seriously. I think a party attitude in a class has to do with the teacher.


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Is stubbornness a quality?
by Gerti Hilfert, Langenfeld, Germany


I agree with you about women and networking. But I also believe that the younger males are more open Aged 60<br>original drawing by Gerti Hilfert Aged 60
original drawing
than the older. Former generations were raised to be ideally perfect. From that point there happened too many tragedies around all areas of life. Including the funny stories about the stubborn ... I know a male who wanted to visit his old friend 120 kms far from his home. He went by car, arrived the city, but couldn't find the exact place. Instead stopping once to ask a passerby for the address or even start his try from a phone box (there were no cell phones then) he circled by car for about 4 times around that place. At least to find himself in big anger about himself, the whole world and that old friend, too. So he decided to resign his meeting, leave that "terrible" place, and drive back home - again 120 kms for nothing. As I heard he wasn't the only male who made such decisions. There were too many who were really scared about asking a stranger. Is stubbornness perhaps a preventing tool against fear?



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Men need to get the message
by Lis Allison, Ottawa, ON, Canada


Men have been coasting on the assumption that they were superior. For far too long, if a man decided Iris Teaset<br>original pottery by Lis Allison Iris Teaset
original pottery
to do something, other men, and all women, supported him and whatever he achieved was considered a wonder. Nowadays, he can no longer expect this. When are men going to realize that to 'win' they are going to have to compete? Don't just bitch that more women than men go to university - get busy and study and go there yourselves. Don't just bitch that more women than men take classes - sign up yourselves. The days of automatically being given status and support just because you are male are over!

When I was a kid (60+ years ago), adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I'd tell them firmly that I was an artist. They would chuckle indulgently and ask me, "Yes, but how many children do you think you'll have, dear?" No boy asked the same question would have had that response. Whatever he said, they'd take it seriously, and if he stuck to it for a few years, they'd start to help him achieve his ambition. Girls didn't get that; they were taught how to be nice to men.

This has all changed, and the sooner men get the message, the sooner they can start to compete and things will, I think, become more equal. Right now men are being sidelined because they are still expecting something for nothing. In the workplace, women will work harder, be more dependable, smarter and easier to get along with, for less pay. In education, men think they can party and then pass the exam... while women settle down and study. If you want to get scientific about it, the reason for the change is simple - birth control, available to and managed by women. Women have taken full advantage; it's time men did, too.

P.S. Your finding the colour test humiliating is funny! For years I've said that while women see all colours, men only see three: red, black, and other.



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Woodlands Art League Workshops  <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>The Workshop Calendar</a> provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>here</a>.
Woodlands Art League Workshops

The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look here.



World of Art Featured artist Elaine Munro, Canada



You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Anna Morales Puigcerver of Barcelona, Spain, who wrote, "Thank you very much for the test. I took it twice (I couldn't resist a challenge like that, sorry) and the first time I scored 15 and the second 0. I'm quite happy about the results. They encourage me to carry on and trust in my visual perception of colour. I want to congratulate you on your inspirational and thought-provoking letters. I always read first thing in the morning when I am on my own, and I encourage you to keep painting and writing."

And also Dee Poisson of Canada, who drew our attention to this excellent video.

And also Bruce Argue of Lenham Heath, UK, who wrote, "Your funniest letter yet! I think women are delightful. They only made men to carry and protect the sperm and to put out the rubbish (then only when reminded). The only time a woman goes wrong is when she acts and thinks like a man.

I shall pass on your 'good work' to more readers. Your letters are a must read for artists and all the others who need to be connect to the real world."

And also Tricia Reichert who wrote, "Reading Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green by Michael Wilcox also helped me to better understand the leaning of colors and why color mixing is so important."


If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this material please feel free to forward it. This does not mean that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly Letter. They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about it by reading our Welcome Letter.



Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Are women superior?...

From: Rick Woods -- Jun 30, 2011

Hold a workshop at an Alaska Hunting Lodge and see who shows up!

From: gail caduff-nash -- Jun 30, 2011

well, what brought this on? pretty self deprecating.

I THINK, as a female, that (bottom line) IF 1 in 10 MEN have vision problems but the majority of successful artists the past several hundred years has been men, and most of the MONEY has been owned by men, and most of the ART has been sold TO men, then 1 in 10 art BUYERS must also have vision problems, wouldn't you agree? SOOOOOOOO, now that women have more of their own money, as well as buying power, they can afford to buy paints and canvases - and possibly sell to men. But what if the 10% of men don't like the women's work but they DO like the men's work? And how come it should take us women a whole 88 years to be out-selling guys? Don't we own most of the galleries now? All of this is tongue-in-cheek. I don't believe a word of it.

My guy is a screenprinter. He knows he doesn't see color the same as I do. I read years ago that men see colors much more strongly than women do - so a soft colored pink dress on a woman looks much more dramatic to a guy, generally speaking. I also painted houses for some years - and found that men are afraid of colors in their houses as a rule - ranging from white to white usually, while their wives (my clients) would go for some strong colors.
I wouldn't put much into this stuff. It mostly concerns clothing choices.

From: Eric Armstrong -- Jun 30, 2011

If women comprise the majority of "refined artists" (whatever that means) by the end of the century, it will likely be the result of more galleries being owned by women; the already enormous disparity of sheer numbers of retired women compared to men taking up painting; and more art agents being women. They're already outproducing men in terms of tedious, repetitive ornamental work. They already have no problem openly promoting group gallery shows of exclusively female painters or supportive of women's causes. Having an ostensibly superior ability to "see" color is probably not a predictor of the intrinsic merit of a finished work; if anything, it likely accounts for the florid, often garish, imitative work produced by the masses of women who flock to workshops conducted by artists who they seek to emulate. Seeing the development of originality of subject matter, subject treatment, and handling of color among women "artists" over the course of the 90 or so years remaining in the century is not inconceivable; it would also be surprising were it to occur.

From: Suzette Fram -- Jun 30, 2011

My score is 4 (female).

From: Faith P. -- Jun 30, 2011

All this might just be a latter day smoke signal for help, of course. Throughout history the male SPECIES has gone to extraordinary lengths to uphold male domination. You can still see it in many parts of the world. Dress codes are one good example. I don't just mean head coverings and other pseudo religious trappings (who invented religion as a form of suppression?), but all the ruses to emphasize the secondary (but indespensable) gender features of the female SPECIES - or protect them from being seen by males outside the intimate sphere ( N.B. women don't usually find male nipples sexually exciting).
But the unreliability of male multitasking also includes failure to recognize the cunningness of the female SPECIES in most cultures to outwit or at least profit from socalled male dominance. Even in today's "civilized" society it still frequently pays a female to pretend she is subservient to the male. But this is a vicious circle. Men, lacking multitasking skills, also fail to notice this charade until it is too late.
Fact is that when females (women, heroines) are given enough rope/space, they will emerge dominant - and that's exactly what males (men, heroes) would prefer not to happen.
I just achieved a score of 11 on the colour scale - that means I noticed almost all the gradations on the colour chart (zero is perfect colour detection), but I can't lift a crate of beer without discomfort. Brawn is still mightier than brain in many areas.
A universal fairytale is all about a ruler being persuaded that his birthday suit is the latest fashion and then being outed by a child. A woman might go for that fashion trend, but she'd at least know why!

From: Daniela -- Jun 30, 2011

At this important junction, your friend Joe goes home and unashamedly mows the lawn....it not only keeps the wife off his back but - isn't green supposed to be good for the eyes?!?!? I am a female myself, but my experience is that good painting technique is predominantly the domain of male artists.

From: Daniela -- Jul 01, 2011

...and, I agree with a lot of what Eric says here. Men appear to have the ability to wield a brush in a way that seems arbitrarily crazy to women, and yet they come up with inimitable and brilliant work, throughout history, color or no color.

From: Dave C. -- Jul 01, 2011

I don't know about that Daniela. Maybe it is true that good painting technique is the predominantly the domain of male artists, but all I know is that I've taken half a dozen workshops over that last year and every one of them was taught by a woman. I would say that good technique is the domain of the person willing to put the time into learning it, be they male or female. If I wanted to learn to paint portraits, I'd probably start with a workshop taught by Susan Lyon. Paintings of people in everyday settings? Probably a workshop with Karin Jurick. Don't sell women short when it comes to technique.

From: Nina Allen Freeman -- Jul 01, 2011

this is really interesting. Maybe men have always suspected this because of the way The male portion of the world have tried over the centuries to keep their females quiet and out of the way. It was simply survival! They would be over-run by women, the world run by women in a much better, more efficient and peaceful way and they knew it all along! I have 4 brothers and learned a long time ago the way to get along is to use my wits and humor, multi-task better than they can and run fast!

From: Mary Jane Q Cross -- Jul 01, 2011

female score 12 Creativity and inspiration are right up there with color acuity. Actually that is what separates the technicians from the artists.

From: Sheila Minifie -- Jul 01, 2011

31 which isn’t brilliant. Female. How is colour relevant to successful artwork? The relationship of colours is the important thing. Design principles, imagination, courage, vision, technique, and unique perspective.

And this old chestnut again? :D

I don’t think there’s much point in judging the aesthetics of artwork done by the mass of people to try to define who is better – male or female. There is an internet-full of both professional and amateur artists, showing abysmal and boring art done by both genders, churning out stuff that make me want to slit my throat. Aesthetics and evolving aesthetics, ideas and vision seem to be ignored by most artists working happily away. I might hate your work and you might think I was a pretentious ass - or vice versa, but I would defend the right of anyone to do whatever they feel is important to them.

I think that the differences often come down to confidence -not only about oneself and one’s own vision but confidence about how one is seen and the potential or otherwise, that is likely to be seen by the outer world. I learned early on that an important aspect of being regarded well by dealers etc. had to do with their own perception of whether you were likely to be what they defined as eccentric enough, whether you were likely to be a winner as an entertainment or not and whether you were a party person or pooper. I’m a pooper hermit.

Traditionally and still to a certain extent, many women don’t have as much confidence for historical reasons and are still internally divided between artwork and giving their thoughts, time and energy to others. I do feel that some artists are hell bent on keeping to their personal philosophies about Art and Nature to the detriment of their development. Many women have the great ability to be open and listen more than many men, but get confused by the overriding confidence that some male artists seem to have, by the conflicting advice and personal visions of those influential individuals. Many are trying to be perfect and be all things to all people in their world. Many women, particularly of a certain age, are afraid to step out of the conventional, so there are hoards of them asking themselves ‘what am I supposed to do?’ and ‘how am I supposed to do it?’ ‘What will the neighbours think? What will my husband/children/friends think? They’ll think I’ve gone off my rocker and they’ll be carting me off to the funny farm.’

Successful professional female artists are a different breed. Some fit in with a more assertive masculine style like Tracey Emin (like her or loathe her) who speaks artistically from a female perspective in a ‘Personal is Political’ - feminist philosophy mode, but comes across as an indomitable, highly intellectual, focussed, highly professional, eye wateringly honest and powerful individual. She is a worker – a self proclaimed workaholic with, it seems, little desire to nest.

Some others are more sociable, do ‘nice’, give workshops, have nested or do nest, have adoring, often female fans who can relate because of the ‘humbleness’ and astonishment of the artist at their popularity and financial success. They of course serve as role models to women lacking in confidence. Others hide away from any spotlight. All are workers – and many have a supportive partner or family.



As a female artist, I can’t help but envy those male artists who, whether truly confident or not, display that characteristic and have a mission in life which must not be denied by anyone. In their lunge towards being a super-artist, they defy what their parents, peers and society thought to go their own way and will sacrifice anyone to do that. Monet after all starved his family and he wasn’t the only one. Their vision is therefore unique and powerful because they listen to their inner voice, work hard to achieve it and have obliteratingly high standards. The best learned from others or stole from them. Spouses, lovers, friends, teachers or family supported them psychologically throughout and from whom the artist fed. That is a description of an extreme Romantic, but I think this characteristic is often alive in a less dramatic way. No one truly does it alone. I don’t truly admire this kind of person; it’s just a rebalancing response from someone who could do with some of that unification of belief. Women are changing, but while they are often still do most of the care-giving, it’s that much harder to believe in one’s own voice. Maybe that will change too.

Men have their own challenges naturally. I do get the sense that some professional male artists are happy with doing something not that imaginative, but concentrate on well crafted because that puts them into the category of a ‘worker’ and not a flim-flam hobbyist (either male or female - mostly female) However, the worker can justify his profession and be respected because he is doing something worthy in society, can be a painstaking craftsman while bringing in a chunk of the bacon for himself as responsible person or as family supporter.

Horrible generalisations of course. Plenty of people completely different.

In all honesty though, nearly all my artist heroes are men:

Redon, Howard Hodgkin, Tooker, Balthus, El Greco, Cranach etc.

Exceptions to the long list of men: Kathe Kollowitz, Ana Maria Pacheco, Cornelia Parker.

Not keen on Tracey Emin’s work, but love her intellect, spirit and honesty. She’s a bit scary though.

From: Robert Redus -- Jul 01, 2011

Male- 8…the idea of knowing anything and knowing it well is via familiarity…I took this test last year when I was painting about twice a week and scored 39…I’ve been painting every day now for the past 8 months and my score is 8… certainly men and women see color…not to mention many things differently…but everybody sees everything differently…within a group of women who take this test…the range of results will be low to high just as it would with men…and as Marilyn vos Savant said “Be able to analyze statistics, which can be used to support or undercut almost any argument.”…

From: coraki@embarqmail.com -- Jul 01, 2011

Ah but Joe goes home to mow the lawn, shepishly like it is the wife's fault. Really? Secretly we all know it is a man thing. That big beast and the wide open raceway of grass to conquer. I couldnt take it on my IPad. It is time for people to stop believing what society says. Women were not recognized as being worthwhile. I am glad that has changed. When I was a child after the Apollo missions, I wanted to be an astronaut. No chance there. Today it is all possible. The woman's movement while beneficial has its drawbacks. This situation is one of them. Someone voices the creed that women are better, and society as little sheep will say, "why yes thats true, I can see that". Some day we will learn to be individuals. I dont know when. It is however time we stop being little sheep led by current fashion.
If I muddle up the typing, its because of the dumb Ipad my husband was persuaded to buy.

From: Susan Avishai -- Jul 01, 2011

In my studio complex there are 14 females to 1 male. That ought to prove women are taking over the scene, but there are just too many other factors which are missing here. Some of the women are not the primary breadwinners of their couple. Many of them earn their living at other low-paying jobs in the arts and are happy to live with less and do without a car, etc. Some are combining raising kids with their art practice. Some have changed careers in midlife to paint. I think fewer men would be satisfied with or able to pull off this model.

Both my husband (male) and I (female) scored 8. I remember doing this test a while back with him and he scored much worse. But his computer monitor is higher quality now and he said he saw the differences more easily. Surely the quality of the computer has to be factored in as well.

P. S. We both really like tofu.

From: Dwight -- Jul 01, 2011

A male of nearly 80 my score is 7. This will probably make my day until I have a barbecue with some grandkids and great grand kids this evening. Robert, some days you pick a subject that gets only a few responses and other days are huge. This looks to be huge!

From: Dwight -- Jul 01, 2011

And I forgot to add that I'm still suspicious that Joe Blodgett is Robert's invention, secret pal, fictitious alter ego...whatever.

From: Darla -- Jul 01, 2011

Robert, Robert, Robert -- Of course any time you compare men and women as groups you are going to get lots of posts! There are so many lurking variables here, such a comparison is just about meaningless. Most of the painters I know are women, but I think that's due to demographics and social currents rather than any innate difference in ability. Women are encouraged from the time they are kids to be aware of beauty (and sometimes overconcerned about their own beauty or lack of it) -- and little boys are often made to think that it's unmanly to care about beauty, much less produce it. And there are a lot more women of retirement age than men, which is when many people take up painting.

From: Fredericks -- Jul 01, 2011

Male, 4. Yes, women outnumber men in painting by a long shot. But there is more then numbers to it. There is tenacity, desire to push the horizons, and will to make it happen. And, lurking somewhere in the periphery is interest in subject matter. From the workshops and painting groups I have sat in on, over 90% of the women were floral artists. Oh,when all this is stirred into the pot there is one more thing that has a profound affect on whether a woman or a man grows in art - that being, inherent motivation. Its one thing to want to paint nice flowers but its another matter to hunger so much to become a good artist that you see your journey through tunnel vision and will commit yourself to that end with a fierce determination and unswerving work ethic. I have no idea if this is the domain of either sex. Likely not.

From: Linda Forey -- Jul 01, 2011

Well, I scored 7, and I'm female. Interesting test.

From: susan -- Jul 01, 2011

I am tired of artificial boundries like gender, after all arent' we all made up of male and female genes? the boundries between art/craft.( art being more prestiges)'Even our modern day about illegal aliens from mexico contains ambiguous boundries. when gold was discovered in calif we chased the long standing mexican ranchers out and now treat them so poorly. Ah what short memories. both women and men can paint all you have to do is look at monet, picasso, mary cassatt, georgia okeef ect ect ect.men cant see all colors, but that doesn't mean women are more talented at the use of color and besides color is only part of a painting... composition, depth feeling are important. what about gay men painters??? do they have more femal genetics vision? I don't think women will rule the world of art ever. . Humans will each of us a brother and sister and healing and helping all. love susan

From: Marvin Humphrey, Napa Valley -- Jul 01, 2011

It's true. Working at a winery, I know first-hand. Our "Wine Master" is a woman who has won many awards. Women's senses are generally more refined. By the way, I scored a 4.

From: Sheila Minifie -- Jul 01, 2011

Oh Coraki, I so loved your comments. I did really laugh out loud.

From: Marion Bronw -- Jul 01, 2011

Female - 39. I thought I had a handle on colour but found the test difficult as some of the hues are very close to each other. Interesting though.

From: Kim Overall -- Jul 01, 2011

My score was 83! 99 is low color acuity. Pretty close to that I'd say. I'm a 57 year old female. geeeezzzzz

From: Catherine McLay, Cochrane, Alberta -- Jul 01, 2011

My score is 4. I am female and 76.

A qualifying note --there is some basic biology involved with this test. The colour-blindness factor is similar to male baldness pattern. My father discovered he was red-green colour-blind when he joined the navyin the 40s. Since the problem is in the X gene, his sons did not inherit it but his grandsons, my sister’s sons, did. Daughters pass on one of 2 X genes so there is a 50% chance that any son will inherit the pattern. Since females carry 2 X genes, they are only affected if both carry it. We don’t yet know whether my sister’s two grandsons have inherited the gene though their mother.

From: Carole Belliveau -- Jul 01, 2011

I found Gail's comment interesting "so a soft colored pink dress on a woman looks much more dramatic to a guy". That makes me think of our feathered friends and other species- could it be a gender attraction thing? If they see pink more sensitively would not skin be the target attraction, specifically female skin? Just musing....After all we have all those gorgeous nudes through the years courtesy of the male persuasion. Give us another generation or two- we are hot on their heels.

From: Emily -- Jul 01, 2011

Let's just say that women and men have interesting differences. As to attendance at learning venues, it is my experience that many men like to work things out by themselves.
Female: 12

From: Richard Medlocke -- Jul 01, 2011

If biological evolution kept pace with sociological evolution, could asexual reproduction be far behind? Thank goodness I'm old and won't have to deal with and such new revoltin' developments!

From: Susan Susan -- Jul 01, 2011

Different doesn't necessarily mean superior. It depends what set of qualities you're looking for. If you want to maximize chip, beer, and professional sports consumption, then clearly men are superior. If you want to maximize chip, soda, and video game consumption, the clearly young men are superior, even to older men. I'd love to say that women are more empathetic, but, candidly, my experience is different. If you want to maximize having notions of style, then clearly women are superior. This is a loser's game, trying to figure out who's good at what. You can't write anything that doesn't have some annoying aspect to it. It might be that society is tailoring its needs and perspectives toward the burgeoning population of women, now that women are slowly becoming the majority gender.

From: Eliza Bethany Wells -- Jul 01, 2011

I work in a materials lab at a plastics molder which concentrates on personal care product packaging. In fact, I use an X-Rite device daily. When I attended a recent X-Rite seminar, the class was comprised prodominantly of women, by a ratio of about 6/1. I suspect that isn't because women are inherently better at color discrimination-- and I think there is no doubt we are-- but that the plastics industry pay scales are so incredibly mediocre, that the jobs are filled with women. This too will change-- not the pay scale, but the sex ratio-- now that that the population is increasing, but well paying jobs are not. It's a good thing we women have this solid experience in the low paying jobs, because the men booted off the gravy train won't be able to compete! (Don't get upset with me. That was meant as a joke.)

From: Bill -- Jul 01, 2011

32. I'm an older male.

From: Seth Bernstein -- Jul 01, 2011

There seems to be a presumption with the online version of the X-Rite test that all monitors display similarly, and do don't themselves have areas of "color space" where they do not reproduce accurately. I know this to be untrue, though the variations in monitor response across the spectrum are not particularly excessive for everyday use. There are color corrected monitors, and even they are imperfect.

From: Wolf -- Jul 01, 2011

Normally I would not respond to ..........., but this needs some comments.

For many years we 'All' worked together for equality for women. We try to stay away from comparison, and understand that there should be an equal balance between men and women. Each one of us has a purpose on this planet, and many men tried very hard to give women equal rights. Women are found now in leading political roles, in all professions and are awarded for their accomplishments in the society as well to the very prestigious Nobel Prize Award. This was accomplished not only by women efforts, but also by men recognizing their talents, their wisdom, intelligence and great God given gifts.

We finally are on a point where a change took place ....... at least in the western world, where the understanding of equality between women and men is recognized and respected. We finally overcame the movement of fanatic women, where even level headed women took an opposed position. Finally we work together in many areas where before men were dominant. This I call progress, and I know the movement to equality is not finished yet, but we all work on it.

Then here comes an ....... with an inferiority complex, bringing the competitiveness to the table again, starting a new controversy and making the men who worked so hard for equality looking like fools.

Perhaps this person real name is Roberta, or 'he' likes to impress his wife or girlfriend. Whatever it is, he/she needs the help of a good female shrink. This are not the Olympics anymore between women and men, there is no reason to "proof" anything. We are what we are, and we all are allowed to bring our best performance on the table without being judged, criticized or compared to anything or anybody.

This person needs a mental adjustment. Controversies are not helpful, they bring only conflict and harm. I hope my note finds its way back to the writer ............... Wolf

PS.: I will forward this letter to all the women I know, and ask them how they feel about this nonsense........... and NO I am not signing up to this .....

From: doris -- Jul 01, 2011

Wow! I'm 75 and scored a 0. I paint every day!

From: daniela -- Jul 01, 2011

Dear Robert, I have an image of Joe Blogett - dishevelled hair, possible a bit of a beard, and, he smokes a pipe?

From: Kas -- Jul 01, 2011

From: Beverley -- Jul 01, 2011

The person above--Wolf--not clear whether it's an angry he-wolf or an angry she-wolf, has popped off prematurely without thoughtfully reading Robert's excellent material. If there is anyone who has brought together the Brotherhood and Sisterhood, it is Robert.

From: Carol Edwards -- Jul 01, 2011

That was a fun exercise. I am a 51 year old woman and my colour test score was 3 - almost perfect! Not bad for doing it on a small laptop screen. It would probably be easier to do on a bigger high quality monitor with better colour definition.

From: Teresa Graham -- Jul 01, 2011

At First I scored 64. Then, sipping on a glass of wine and trying it again I scored 25. The conclusion must be that drinking wine improves your ability to distinguish hues or really, you just don’t give a dam! Lesson learned: being freer, looser, more at ease with your subject matter brings better results.

From: Lynne Patrick -- Jul 01, 2011

I just took that very interesting X-Rite color test and my score was 13. I am a woman. I plan on inviting my husband to take it too with, I am sure, hilarious results. I am the member of our family delegated to making final judgments in attire, particularly clothing matches, before we go off to our various work sites for the day. On the other hand, he is the resident expert in all things sound related. Fun.

From: Guy Pondrom -- Jul 01, 2011

My score was a perfect 0. I'm a 52 year old male! I wouldn't have guessed it. Love your letters and your wonderful paintings!

From: Anna Reynolds -- Jul 01, 2011

Yes. Women are superior :) . My name is Anna Reynolds, 16 year old female. I scored a perfect 0 on this colour test. Thanks for suggesting it. It made my day.

From: Suzanne Osuna -- Jul 01, 2011

I am a 54 year old female and I scored an 8..... I am also an artist and cannot balance my checkbook...

From: Karen Rand Anderson -- Jul 01, 2011

From: Anita Stephenson -- Jul 01, 2011

I did the test and I got a 3. I am female, and I have to say that it was such fun. I love the fact that they tell you where you are deficient! It was also really good for me because I could use a little more self confidence in the colour department!!!

From: Gene Martin -- Jul 01, 2011

Thanks for the laugh. There is a lot more to art than just seeing color.

From: Katie Hoffman katiehoffman65@msn.com -- Jul 02, 2011

From: Vicky Fletcher, New Zealand, strathcorran@xtra.co. -- Jul 02, 2011

I've just done the colour acuity test and scored 7, I'm a glass artist and sometimes get very frustrated when trying to find just the right colour in my stock of art glass ... this test explains my frustration and why my husband says "oh that colour is close enough don't you think?" and I protest "no it is not". I should have chosen an easier medium but when glass works it really works for me and people seem fascinated by it; as I live near a small tourist town in the South Island of New Zealand it is good to be working in a medium that stands out from the many painters who exhibit here. I'm also a Sagittarius so have I put my foot in my mouth (yet again) here?

From: Christina Troxel -- Jul 02, 2011

Girls rule boys drool!!!
I am female (50 years old) and I got a perfect 0 on the test.

From: Hugo -- Jul 02, 2011

You are too easily embarrassed: My score is 230, so I am the twelfth guy - in my case I have known since I was administered a simple colour test during a doctors screening test in my bid to become an apprentice as graphic artist for a printing firm. A career path that was cut short some 45 years ago. Interesting, now that I am more and more comfortable with my path in the arts I am turning my work toward printing. Struggling with my own high tech colour printer and a 100 year old letterpress alike. Full circle of sorts, maybe that is why I like spirals...

From: Celeste Friesen-Nikkel -- Jul 02, 2011

Loved this article!! Hilarious and of course, no surprise to us (women). We are just wondering why you guys have taken so long to figure this out.........HA!!!

From: A J Meek -- Jul 02, 2011

Your latest message was great! Of course women are superior. They would be the first to tell you that. They are genetically stronger. Just take a visit to an old persons home and they are full of women maybe 9:1. They live longer. Art schools today are mostly women from my experience, a long time Professor of Art (photography). As I say, God made man (the proto type). He said "I can do better." Then he made woman.

FYI:
I scored a 11 on the color test and my wife scored a 9. We are both 69.

From: Deborah Weinstein -- Jul 02, 2011

Fun! OK, I've done the test three times in succession. I did my best each time, and my scores, in order, were: 23, 19 and 8, so apparently color discrimination can be learned. Perhaps if I were male, or a more competitive female, I'd keep at it until I got a perfect score. However, I'm feeling rather cross-eyed at the moment, so I'll just take my 8 and call it a night.

From: Lyn L'Ecuyer -- Jul 02, 2011

This letter was hilarious. Thanks for that.
My score was 8, my age : let me think, I'm losing track these days
1964 so that makes me ... 47 :0)

From: Julie Banks -- Jul 02, 2011

Thank you for your twice-weekly letter! No matter what my score says, that was a very difficult test as it's very tiring on the eyes having to stare that long and hard at the screen.

My score was 4. I'm a 41 year old female.

Thank you again for your wonderful letters and taking the time to write them!

From: Suzanne Prendergast -- Jul 02, 2011

My score was 7 and, being of a fairly competitive nature, I wanted to take it again to get 0. However, I did not. My score is 7. My husband thinks I'm HIGHLY competitive. This should prove I'm not!

From: Kim Varey -- Jul 02, 2011

From: Anna Reynolds -- Jul 02, 2011

Yes. Women are superior :) . My name is Anna Reynolds, 16 year old female living. I scored a perfect 0 on this colour test. Thanks for suggesting it. It made my day.

From: Allen Springer -- Jul 02, 2011

My score was 0. I am male, age 73. The trick that worked for me was to quickly put the chips in approximately the right order, give or take a few shuffles. Then I would proceed from one end to the other exchanging pairs, which gave me a better sense of which chip was closer to the group to the left or right than just eyeballing it. I think I also dodged an optical illusion or two by doing it that way.

At one time I indulged in amateur drawing and acrylic art. I was limited by not being able to visualize, unless I was in a deep dream state, which was hardly useful! So I made decent pictures only by painting or drawing what I saw, a situation I ultimately found frustrating.

Another frustration with the personal operation of my brain was with musical composition. I can do the auditory equivalent of visualization to my hearts content. I can create music in my head, or dialog or sounds, with the ease that visualizers can see pictures. But the frustrating thing is that I cannot repeat music enough to be able to write it down! I wonder to what extent visualizers have this problem for images. However, I can capture dialog and such because I am a fast typist, and words are less complex than music, at the level of placing them on paper. I can capture scenes in words, rather than pictures.

Thanks for the very stimulating twice-weekly letter.

From: Roy Boston, Shaky Isles -- Jul 02, 2011

My score was 0 - I am 83, so in the over 70 range.

Thank you for your news letter - as a keen New Zealand watercolourist, I really enjoy reading it.

From: Joseph H Melançon -- Jul 02, 2011

I am a male, life long professional artist and teacher 71 years of age and got a score of 8. Even so I think color acuity pales in importance compared to creativity, composition and skillful brush handling.

From: Rod Morgan -- Jul 02, 2011

I have enjoyed your comments on a wide variety of topics and, after reviewing the “100 Hue” colour vision test you recommended, I felt that I should add a few pertinent comments. I practise ophthalmology and deal with patients who have a wide variety of colour vision defects.

The test you have recommended is based upon the “100 hue Farnsworth” colour vision test. There are a variety of others, but the Farnsworth test is the world standard. Wool fibres are pigment dyed and are scientifically controlled by spectroscopy analysis.

In responding to this test, many “normal” people fail, but generally minimally. The reasons include mental issues (inattention, haste to get on to something more interesting, mental analytical problems), physical problems that can be associated with a wide variety of mental diseases associated with damage to the visual conducting and interpretive centres, genetic eye disorders that impair the appropriate cones that are responsible for the wave-length analysis, and degenerative and toxic eye diseases that damage colour analytical cells in predictable patterns. Toxic problems are rare; most are genetic; the widest variety of problematic and variable responders, are associated with central, mental problems.

Another contributing factor is the ambient lighting that illuminates the wool fibres. As you know, fluorescent and incandescent lights are not “natural” sunlight. Also, intensity and contrast variables come into the game. Even old wool fibres, subject to quality testing failures, can be responsible.

And, finally, any test completed on a computer is fraught with problems that I have already indicated exist above. In the computer’s case, the quality of colour blending in the electronic system of the screen (LED, plasma, and the others), plus quality of luminance, and much more will make hue discrimination tough.

Having enjoyed your work, and having studied your painting technique for several years, I doubt that you have any colour vision problem.

Life is full of these wonderful ideas, and computer colour vision testing, is a good start for anyone who wants to learn a bit about how colour works physically, and more important, how the nervous system puts it all together.

I hope that this somewhat detailed note isn’t “too much”. Keep up the good, and interesting, work in teasing your readers on to more knowledge and better insights in the subject of painting and all other nature subjects that use colours as part of their expression.

From: Denise Elizabeth Stone -- Jul 02, 2011

My score was 15, and I am female. It was interesting that the hues I had the most problems with are in the range I really love to paint - the cool blue to magenta area. Wonder what that means?

Just a comment - I agree with your friend Joe about what men have to offer in art terms. I've learned painting skills, how to see, lots of other, immensely valuable how-to things from my female teachers. It has been the male teachers who model the audaciousness, the don't-hold-backness, the confidence in the stroke approach that pushes me on at times.

Thanks for your twice-weekly letter, one of my favorites in the don't-hold-back category.

From: Rick Rotante -- Jul 02, 2011

The truth is men know that being an artist isn't going to earn any serious dollars. Being an artist isn't what it once was. Today, men need be getting computer jobs, office work or blue collar jobs, you know, serious work. Art for many men is well...girls stuff, akin to baking. Nothing to get too serious about. If you want to be a painter, it's like a cold, it will pass. The really important thing women have over men is camaraderie. They can talk to each other and share thoughts and recipes. Men (artists) are secretive and hold their cards close to their chest. Women don't conceive of another women being a threat. But just wait until the stakes get raised. One thing I know; and my wife backs me up on this is; women are just the same as men when it comes to being competitive and as good as men when it comes to 'subterfuge' and 'subversion' in getting what they want. If men were to step aside and give the field of art to women, in time, there would be little difference in how they react to fame and fortune.
I am not being my normal cynical self here. Up to this point in history women have been willing to stay in the shadows, so to speak, of their 'successful' husbands. Now that has all changed. If women have all these "abilities" that you state in your comments, they would have been the dominant creator of art from the Renaissance to modern day. I concede there are differences and women may have more aptitude in some areas that are superior to men. No argument. They have yet to show they have the wherewithal to commit to the being an artist with all that entails. Many throughout history have made the sacrifice - Mary Cassatt, Annie Louise Swynnerton, Berthe Morisot, Lilla Cabot Perry, to name but a few. When that happens, real change will occur.
As for men becoming artist, they now come from China.

From: Lina Jones -- Jul 02, 2011

I did the colour test as you suggested and surprisingly got a score of 14. I am a female of 64 years of age, and was very surprised by the result. I guess that means I should be a far better artist than I am at present! I always feel I have trouble getting colours right when I paint, so it's good to know that at least I do have the capacity to do better. And as we know, there's far more to becoming a good artist than merely being able to identify and reproduce colours.

I enjoyed this exercise so thanks for letting us know about it. Always enjoy reading your letters, hope you and yours are well.

From: Rachel Kelly -- Jul 02, 2011

I took the color test . My score is also my lucky number - 7. I am 34 years and female.

" A man who works with his hands is a labourer; a man who works with his hands and his mind is a craftsman; but a man works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist."
St. Thomas Aquinas

From: Amy Mann -- Jul 02, 2011

I took the test alone, on my laptop, in daytime, with my back to a window.

I was frustrated by after images that hovered around the edges, because I stared at the colors for so long. Blinking and looking away from time to time helped.

I am a painter who is very interested in color, and I make my own mixtures from a very limited palette.

From: Nadine Hergenrider -- Jul 02, 2011

Took the test twice. The first time (already sent msg to you with score), I scored 16. The second time around, I scored 4.

What does this mean...we can learn to see colors more discriminately with practice?

From: Rex White -- Jul 02, 2011

Could not resist...gave it 200% on the second attempt and scored a 3. Thanks Robert for your letters.

From: Jen Lacoste -- Jul 02, 2011

Have just taken that wonderful colour test, and scored 36. (Big sigh of relief in reading that the lower the score, the better!!) (I'm female, by the way)
The graphs following the test showed that mid range blues seem to be a big weak point... yet when I paint, blues are not nearly as big a worry as greens or reds.
Perhaps we analyse too much and dont paint nearly enough!

From: Lisa Bachman -- Jul 02, 2011

I am 53 years old, and scored a 15 on the FM 100 color test. Biggest color problems were in the blue-green (center of graph, and a little right of center) and the goldish-green (towards left end, between lt. orange & green-gold). Looks like I'm okay for heavy traffic, unless the caution light is lit. Happy driving!

From: Earl E Murphy -- Jul 02, 2011

Excuse my French, but this is a too test. I didn't figure it be like this, but to choose which color is red compared between yellow and blue!

Believe I did good with a score of 15, gender is male, age is 58. I know my eyes are getting bad when my style of painting has gone from sharp details to softly modeled features. Plus I've gone from canvas to panels. Now learning how to get paint to do what I want it to do. Also my income took a dive from 800 a week to 200. Stretching my oils to do as many paintings as possible. Thinly applying paint with a oil medium with a hint of color.

I was accepted at The Herron School of Art and Graphics, with portfolio. I was to become one of the only artist in the class to be a teacher. My late ex-wife wanted a house. "Wait until I finish and get a job teaching, then we'll buy a house in that city." She went behind my back and bought a house. She got 'fired' from the state. I had to dropout and get a job to pay bills. I basically quit painting for almost ten-years.

Now I'm back in it. With 6 easels, 45 canvases (stretched, primed and toned) and thirty-some panels (half primed and toned) ready for an idea. Got some catching up to do on a starving salary.

Read all your letters, many I've saved because of how you 'explained' a theory. Thanks Robert. "Women superior"? Actually hard for me to believe cause I'm not sexist and I feel we're all the same except for experience or abilities.

I gave myself problems to draw or paint. Draw a person upside-down. On the same paper, draw the reflection (mirror image) of that person.

From: Z'Anne Keele -- Jul 02, 2011

My husband, whose hobby is to tie tiny and beautiful fishing flies (and actually fish them), took longer to do the colour test, but scored 3(!!!) to my 11. Humph. But there's one for the boys.

From: Linny D. Vine -- Jul 02, 2011

From: Victor Wren -- Jul 02, 2011

On the Xrite test, I scored 12, which for a male on the sunny side of fifty isn't too shabby. I seem to be weakest in the greens, which is typical for males. May explain why I never did like painting grass. I believe that what Xrite is really pointing out is not so much the difference in the genders, but the value of having a well-calibrated high-quality monitor (no surprise that they sell monitor calibration!).

It scarcely matters if you have perfect color perception if you are peering at approximations of colors on a mediocre TN-LCD monitor that shows each eye a slightly different color (and whose colors shift as you move your head around). Since I do a great deal of color work on my monitor, I invested in a good eIPS monitor, which has the best color rendering I could afford (there are better available, but the price goes up precipitously). I have not yet calibrated it, and I have no doubt that would help. So before you decide that you may not be qualified to tell whether traffic lights are green or red, you might try taking the test with a good monitor.

I can't comment intelligently on the male vs. female question. Networking is a fine thing, but as in so much of art, it is the individual strengths and idiosyncrasies that make an artist compelling. Being that art is often a solitary profession, a strong urge towards sociability might even be a detriment. Too much community consultation might also lead to a derivative style. There's much to be said in favor of "making it up as you go along." In fact, I think you've said much of it yourself!

From: Gerald Dennis -- Jul 02, 2011

I think you're getting carried away with the "feminism" propaganda. I know of specific instances where females are placed in positions where their qualifications and subsequent performance are below what is required. You may have heard of "affirmative action" and "gender norming". These two unfortunate political actions are demeaning to males who are qualified for these positions and should have been promoted to those positions. However, "political correctness" requires that we don't use common sense but be "sensitive" to the plight of those who are less qualified. The EMS has females who can't carry their end of the stretcher, requiring hiring additional males to do their work.
And as far as the female artists go, what a crock!

From: Victoria Armstrong -- Jul 02, 2011

Love your letters - look forward to them as a thought provoking and inspiring interlude in the midst of a busy week.

Took the test - scored a 3! It was a fun challenge and I'll pass it on to all my painting buddies. Sorry, yes, I'm a woman.

I honestly don't think it has anything to do with women or men being more successful painters, any more than realism trumps abstract. The successful painter is the one who is able to portray their passion (for anything) in their work, is such a way that the observer will be moved by it in some way. Anything else is just puttin' on airs. 'Nuff said.

From: Gilda Pontbriand -- Jul 02, 2011

I am a female and my score was 8.

I was brought up in Mexico and I learned to paint there. Years ago during the opening of one of my exhibitions in Ottawa, Canada an art critic said to me: "Wow! You see color in a different way. It must be because you grew up surrounded by tons of color all year round and that affected the way you see color and your relationship to it". Do you think that it is true that people in different places in the world see color differently or is it that I am a woman?
I would love to have your comments.

From: Terry Woodruff -- Jul 02, 2011

Just to see if doing the test indoors versus outdoors on laptop made a difference:

60 year old female indoors: score 7
60 year old female outdoors : score 23

From: Clickninny -- Jul 02, 2011

male -/ score- 26 - / age 55

I thought for sure I'd have a perfect score...I shoulda known better...lol
A little color dyslexia is par for the course i guess.

Thinking about a sex change now but I'm not attracted to men ...Tough choice!

From: rkms -- Jul 02, 2011

So...I just had my husband take the color test and he actually got a ZERO!! I'm the artist and got a 9 but he scored a big fat 0!!! Oh the humanity! We are in our EARLY 60's.

From: William Hall -- Jul 02, 2011

Having read your latest letter, I was disappointed in my male gender group’s apparently low ability to discern colour values. I wanted to determine my own, and so I tried the test.

To my amazement and pride, the results told me that I have perfect colour vision- Score 0! Is this a gimmick to make me want to buy Munsel’s products, or am I an exception to the general rule? I am a seventy- nine year old male, with no special colour training apart from a BFA (Painting) from UBC. I am a retired Naval Officer who did not follow a career in art. I simply paint for pleasure (oils and water colour) from time to time. I love colour. It is the most rewarding and satisfying aspect of my painting.

I thoroughly enjoy receiving your twice weekly letters – they help keep up my interest in my ‘avocation’.

I will be interested to hear the collected results of your survey.

From: Lois Gruberger -- Jul 02, 2011

Been receiving your letters for forever. Always enjoy them!

I rated an 8 on the test. I am a female aged 60.

That said, what is wrong with this test? (I get to comment because I have taught Color Theory for a very long time….currently a professor of fine arts – foundation studies - at Savannah College of Art and Design.) The squares are too small. In order to analyze color correctly, especially when you have so many, you need to view them larger. Also, while looking at one row of colors, the rows of colors above and below buzz and distract your vision and it is difficult to concentrate on the row you are working on. Lastly, this is not accurate on a monitor. Having swatches of real color in front of you is truly the most accurate way to determine color content.

From: Wendy Klein -- Jul 02, 2011

From: L A Colbeck -- Jul 02, 2011

Thanks for this! It's a confidence builder for those of us concerned with values and gradations (and with eyesight starting to weaken.)

PS - A question for you. I am a confirmed painting bookaholic. I love collecting them and can't seem to get enough of reading and pondering techniques and styles of other painters. Besides the motivational aspect, I am always looking for that tip or technique that will take my artwork to the next level.

Regardless of the book or tip, I find it difficult to turn that left-brained information into practical techniques during the art making process. I try to consciously remember what my aim or goal is, but soon find myself into the process of making art and forgetting all about the technique. What say you?

From: Jim Cowan -- Jul 02, 2011

I started to move those coloured chips around but after five I gave up and said something like “This is womens work”. Wolf Kahn figures he paints better now that he has macular degeneration. So much for colour chips !
Don’t much care if women take over the world as a matter of fact. In most cases they couldn’t do worse than men have so why not give it a try ? As for wine tasting,I’ll put my nose against any other. Mind you my mother once told me I had a woman’s nose..so you might have something there.
OK back to painting.What’s a nice colour to go with radiant green ?

From: Chuck -- Jul 02, 2011

As a man, I agree with a lot of what you say, Women are better at "following rules" and adhering to "procedures" in bureaucracies. That is what is required in the 21st Century. Men are effective in jobs that require physical strength and endurance and involve accepting dangerous working conditions. Fewer and fewer of those jobs are available. Men are more willing to take risks, whereas women seem in general to prefer safety and tranquility. Men are explorers and adventurers, like the ones who crossed the oceans in past centuries and explored the West. Those skills are not in demand. NOW, you just are supposed to go by the rules, follow directions well, not question authority very much. sit in the cubicle with the computer and type away.
When I was an Army officer, I learned when NOT to follow the regulations. If your unit needed something, filling out a supply requisition and waiting for delivery did not lead to much success. You just took a truck and a couple of soldiers, went to the supply warehouse, acted like you were SUPPOSED to be there, and just TOOK what was needed. If a colonel gave you a stupid order, you did not argue with him. You just saluted and then modified or ignored the order, did what made sense. WOMEN are not likely to do this kind of thing, but, these days, THEIR way of operating is in vogue.
I am wondering if, at some point, the women will kill or exile most men as being too much trouble to have around..

From: Frances Poole -- Jul 02, 2011

Wow, what a hot button topic this is. Mr. Genn, I think you are having a little fun with us; setting a fire under our sorry "you know what's".

I'm no expert on this subject, but I have noticed in my rather long life that men tend to have more endurance and women tend to be more detail oriented. Case in point; in that color test, I wonder if women do better because it requires more patience and attention to detail than actually seeing color more accurately. Perhaps that at least plays a part in the results.

From: Warren Criswell -- Jul 02, 2011

From: Brian McPartland -- Jul 02, 2011

It would appear that a color vision deficit would be the most damning argument you have made for the case of women becoming the art world's future best. As a retired optometrist, I can tell you that those with color perception deficits are not color blind, and, in fact, do not have to have a significant effect on one's artwork--unless, of course, they want to copy other's paintings exactly or paint in a photorealistic style. Most color confusion on the part of those with Red/Green deficits (the most prevalent type in males) can easily be overcome with a knowledge of their confusion, a bit of education, and the avoidance of wrong primaries when color-mixing. Further, the artists of the real world do not always paint in a representational or realistic style. Right? Perhaps of greater importance would be an argument made concerning which of the sexes is better able to judge value! For the vast majority of artists of the world, color perception is not an issue. I imagine many individuals with significant color confusion tend to find art not to their liking early on in life, thus abandoning any interest they may have had. (That's what sculpting is for! :-) Suffice it to say, I was not impressed with your color deficiency argument.

Your comments fail to focus on something of far greater importance, Robert, namely visual perception, visual-motor processing, visual memory, and the integrative processing that must take place in order to be successful in art. Furthermore, visual processing and cognition change with age, and unevenly so between the sexes* (see study below). Since so many take-up, or resume an interest in art while in their middle years or beyond, this is arguably a much more salient topic to address.
Merlin, OR

From: Sarah Lynch -- Jul 02, 2011

I took the test, twice. I am a female of middle years.
The first time I took the test while my laptop was running on battery (power-saving mode) and I got a humiliating 51. I took it again with my laptop plugged in and got 11. As my laptop screen colour is always a bit washed-out anyway, I think this could make a lot of difference to results.I may try again at work, where my monitor is slightly better. Although I think 11 is probably quite respectable, it would be interesting to see the different results that can be achieved with different viewing options. I always enjoy your letters, all the best.
St. Catharines, Ontario

From: Elizabeth Wiltzen -- Jul 02, 2011

From: Ann-Louise Beaumont -- Jul 02, 2011

I recently emailed you with my score of 19 for a female, 60-69 years. I just asked my husband to try the colour test, and he scored 68 for a male, 60-69 years. This explains numerous discussions in our home about the colour of my suitcase, and laundry sorting. Thank you for directing us to this test.

From: Anon -- Jul 02, 2011

male, age 71. Score 153, off the chart!

From: Mary Beth Frezon -- Jul 02, 2011

Mid-50s female with a quickly-done score of 13. What was most interesting to me wasn't how low the score was but that all my errors were in the blue-green range. I looked at my fabric stash and the results and thought how my stash has a really large chunk of blue-green. Over compensation?

From: Doug Mays -- Jul 03, 2011

Male - 64, I scored 41. Was sure I would score 0, now terribly depressed and going to the garden to eat worms...big fat , juicy worms, long slim.......

From: Karen Dawson -- Jul 03, 2011

Color test-- 4, female. really really hard, and I kept switching things until I was completely bleary eyed. My deficiency was in the sea foam area.

From: Judi Birnberg -- Jul 03, 2011

I did the test two days ago and scored an embarrassing 44. Just tried again and got 16. I feel better. I know I have some problems in the blue/green area because what I call one of those colors the world insists on calling the opposite. But as so many have said, more than color acuity is needed for art to stop people in their tracks. Creativity, energy—good stuff, but I also think everything has been done and we all are doing variations on a theme.

From: gail caduff-nash -- Jul 04, 2011

82 the first try; 84 the second. was it supposed to be graduated from one color to the other? i spent 20 years in printing and another 20 painting houses. and painting pictures between. i haven't seen color right all that time? hmmm.

From: Marlene Kinkelaar -- Jul 04, 2011

I scored 12 and was surprised I did so well! Thank you for this test as it boosted my confidence! Maybe I am not so dumb after all! I love your letters, keep up the good work and my best to Joe! Ya gotta love him!

From: Becky Joy -- Jul 04, 2011

There may be a much higher ratio of women artists than men, but I do believe there are more men that are great artists, proportionally, at least. I think as a whole men that have followed their dreams of being an artist were taken more seriously and put in the time to hone their craft. The reality is that a lot of women have had to juggle art time with raising a family. I think this has contributed to the desparity in the numbers and a lot of mediocre art out there. I envy a lot of young women out there now working hard and doing some wonderful work. I think that the gap will close as women are taken more seriously by others and themselves as artists and in other careers.

From: Kathleen Lenshyn -- Jul 04, 2011

I am sorry to say that I did not understand how to do the colour test. I just moved 2 colors and I obtained a score of 843. I am known to have excellent colour decision. I worked for Sun Ice one year in their excess fabric department teaching people what colours and hue would look good on them. I invariably am able to know if a colour goes with another colour without having them close together. This test just confused me.

From: Ron Stacy -- Jul 05, 2011

Humans haven't really evolved since the cave. Men and women have different brain functions. They communicate differently. Women can multi-task more easily than men. Men deal in projects and women in detail and maintenance. Men only need to deal with several colours. (if it's brown and fuzzy, kill it and eat the red parts) Women need to know that one red berry is food, and another similar but not quite the same red will kill you. Men compete with other men to attract women so they can propagate, and women do the same with other women. Women recognize a plethora of colours while men recognize a few and add -ish or -y to their basic colours, as is "red-sh browny sorta colour" where women would say, "robin's breast". That may seem simplistic, but essentially it's true. And, of course it's a generalization, but why not?
Incidentally, I use a very limited palette, with which i can make any colour that I can buy. I'm also simplistic. I'm a guy.

From: Bruce Barlow -- Jul 05, 2011

As a lurking "traditional" (not digital) photographer, we love to have women in our photography workshops! They are often more attentive students, work harder, and show more "heart" in their photographs. Us guys struggle with heart. We can get the head and hands parts down pretty quickly, but that last, most crucial bit seems more elusive for men. Vive les femmes!

From: Fredericks -- Jul 05, 2011

I was hoping Bob, that you would receive a flood of survey results, but if letters are any indication, it didn't happen. So, I guess there can be no effective summary of male/female results.

I suspect that those who got good scores rushed to their computers to let you know while those who were frustrated by low scores, buried it.

I tried the test three times. I had been told by my wife for 40 years that I have "no colour sense" at all. So, over the years I deferred to her colour decisions. When I scored 4, I wondered what I did wrong on the test to have an incorrect score. I tried it a second time in late evening using indoor lighting and got 35. I returned a 3rd time in regular sunlight and scored 4 again.

Its too bad that you didn't get 300 people of both sexes sending you their "as it happened" scores and not the results of those who found the cracker jack at the bottom of the popcorn box. (that dates me)

From: Eileen Belanger -- Jul 05, 2011

I scored a 20. Female, 67. I think that was pretty good.

From: Doug MacBean -- Jul 05, 2011

I hate to brag ( actually I love it ) but I did this ColorIQ test in less than ten minutes. I just thought it was some vague, funny deal, so I did not labour over it. When I clicked for my results it stated “You have perfect color vision!” OK, I figured most people got that. Then others stated numbers. I did not realize, there where numbers from 0 to 99. I suddenly feel very competent, in that I have always prided myself with good colour and tone rendering, in my paintings. This helps prove, to myself, I knew my stuff, all along. :)

From: Sheila Davis SCA -- Jul 05, 2011

I scored a 4 in under 1 minute...girls rule...boys drool!

From: Valli Thayer McDougle -- Jul 05, 2011

I just took the color test. I am 70, a female, and work on a new iMac with a large screen. I have floaters and have had cataract surgery on both eyes, which has made my color recognition so much better than it had been prior to surgery.

From: Valli Thayer McDougle -- Jul 05, 2011

PS: I scored 24 on the test.

From: Ginnie Conaway -- Jul 05, 2011

Quick results from me and a few friends:
62 yr. old female, me, scored 0, using a one year old Dell laptop
47 yr. old female friend scored 0, using same computer
68 yr. old male, my husband, scored 12, using an older laptop
61 yr. old female, friend, scored an 18, using a new flat screen desktop.
Fun and informative. I was surprised that I did so well since I've always felt I lacked the ability to discern fine color differences. I'm a self-taught watercolor/acrylic artist who teaches same in our local community college. ginnieconaway.net

From: Kathleen -- Jul 05, 2011

Great letter Robert! I scored 7 (female age 46)

From: chipmunk -- Jul 05, 2011

A perfect 0, but I took it on a decent large color monitor that was color calibrated a year ago, in a darkened room. I am a 59 year old female who is a graphic designer by day so I have spent many hours matching colors on screen when retouching photoshop files over the course of a long career in graphic arts. I really believe an accurate high-resolution color monitor is necessary to achieving best results in this test. My technique was to adjust the browser window into a horizontal slit so I was only viewing one color strip at at time. Next, I roughly sorted the colors in that one strip. Finally, I swapped each color with its neighbor to see which was warmer or cooler until I was satisfied with the sequence. It was hard, but not very time consuming. I was totally astonished to have gotten a 0 however! (I e-mailed my results just this morning.) Thanks, this was fun!

From: jill bukovnik -- Jul 05, 2011

I'm a 57 year old female who scored 0. I use a MacBook Pro. This was quite fun to do...I love a good color challenge. I found your letter interesting and it got me to thinking about my Dad.

Dad looked perfect when mom was at home to help choose an outfit. However, when she wasn't home she'd say to me "Now check your dad before he goes out the door in the mornings". Strange I thought. Until one day I had to check him out before he left... I was amazed at his outfit. He chose two stray socks that didn't match, mint green pants, an argyle orange & navy shirt, and a turquoise sweater that came up in the back because he left it bunched up around his neck (the sweater was designated only for fishing because there was a 1" hole in the sleeve). He was on his way to visit mom in the hospital.

I said " You look great dad, say hello to mom for me".

From: Larry Murphy -- Jul 05, 2011

I'm a 75 yr old geezer, got a 36. This is fascinating stuff, but doesn't change the fact that composition trumps color in a successful painting.

From: Terry Fancher -- Jul 05, 2011

I started to receive the "twice weekly" when my daughter, a successful artist, advised I might enjoy it...and I have. When I saw the link to the color test I did it myself, just for fun. I scored an 11 which I learned was "pretty good" for an old geezer of the male persuasion. emailed my daughter and challenged her to do better. She emailed back that, by George, she got an eleven, too! Momma Bear overheard our messages and asked what was going on. We told her and she took it as well.

Guess what she scored?

Let me put it this way. Ain't genetics wonderful!

What are the odds of three people taking a test with a scoring range of zero to, apparently, 1500 plus and coming up with the identical result???

Ted Fancher

From: Nancy Wylie -- Jul 05, 2011

LOL at Jill's story! I have always told my family and friends not to argue with me about the color of things or matching colors, etc. Now I know why. I scored zero, and I'm 57 female. That was a fun test!

From: Jannie Kelvin Martinson -- Jul 05, 2011

Renoir painted pretty well even with his incipient blindness. Evelyn Glennie plays pretty well even though she's stone deaf.
I don't think we need to feel bad if we don't score well on the X-Rite test. Even the X-Rite people will tell you their machines have a hard time competing with a trained person, I think the number is something like 80% accuracy. Additionally, just imagine how irrelevant the color issue is to those using charcoal or doing ink etchings. Not only that, it's entirely possible that some of the post-impressionists and fauves had real sight issues. It in no way invalidates the work.

From: Chris MacLeod -- Jul 05, 2011

My mother started painting at the age of 70. When she was asked what she wanted for her birthday she replied,
"Watercolour paints, brushes and paper." She sold many paintings and painted until the day she died at 82. She had already raised six kids and run a family bakery. Stop fussing and do what you want. Paint. Paint every day! Fifty six is young! Have fun and enjoy your life. It's not over until it's over.

From: Peter Kiidumae -- Jul 05, 2011

Go figure. I'm having my best year ever for sales (so far this year have quadrupled last year's sales) and many people comment about how much they like the colours in my work. So I took the colour test and scored a whopping 269 points! Obviously I must be almost colour blind. But it seems to be working anyway. Male - almost 65.

From: Bruce Miller -- Jul 05, 2011

Do you know why men are attracted to a woman in a black leather outfit.....because she smells like a new high end pickup truck!

From: Kathleen Scott -- Jul 05, 2011

My Score: 26 on the Colour Acuity Test - Female

I have to say in defense of men, I suspect that since men have never been big on tests, they are choosing to spend lest time on the test, or any tests. Also, men beat women in depth perception. I know you were being somewhat facetious in your letter, (was that to get men to try harder on the test?), but you make a scary point. Many Feminists believed equality would only be realised after the pendulum has swung past center. It's why many women in my age group won't call ourselves Feminists.

Maybe more women paint than men now because more men 'paint' in circuitry now. Graphics are pretty important to men and modern video games are works of arts. All the scenes start out as drawings and paintings and they are predominately done by men.

From: Mike Schick -- Jul 05, 2011

Are woman superior?
The answer, when all things are considered, is probably no. Who knows, there may be some evolutionary value to stubborn resistance.

From: Lana Schuster -- Jul 05, 2011

Well my poor dear color blind husband couldn't even finish the first line of the test. In his words: "I just find that too frustrating." Not surprising.

Thanks Robert, for all of the encouragement that comes through in your letters. Sometimes I hear your voice in my head telling me to not be so critical and suggesting ways to let go and go for the joy of doing it. Really helps. Please keep them coming.

From: Susie Cipolla -- Jul 05, 2011

My husband and I have renovated a number of houses and we do really well until we come to the picking of colours for the paint and decorating. If I say something like "that green has a bit too much yellow in it" or "it is a bit too grey" his eyes roll back into his head and he's tuned out on me. Well, I just did the test and I got 3 and I feel GOOD.

From: Tim Schriever -- Jul 05, 2011

I scored 7. And no women are not better, unless you are talking to a women. But they are different from men.

From: Sidney Roberts -- Jul 05, 2011

I'm 56, female, and scored a zero. Funny thing is that I'm not good with color in my work, but I'm strong with composition. I like problem solving relationships between shapes which includes color, and since color doesn't come natural to me, working with analogous colors helps. So, I think that my scoring a zero doesn't mean that I have a talent with color. It means that I can sort out colors that are close in value and hue. The test was fun.

From: Stephen( Steve) S. Austin -- Jul 05, 2011

I have enjoyed your newsletters for several years and have benefited greatly from them,Thank You. I try to avoid reading blogs but this one is compelling,terrific. My first score was 19. My wife's was 23. I waited a couple of days ( took more time ) and scored 0. I'm 73 this month, cataracts that are little past due for surgery. Cartoonist/Illustrator, Plein aire, Figure,Portrait. I started in my late thirties.

From: anne o'malley -- Jul 06, 2011

i am mid sixties and scored a similar number. do you think with this lesser colour sense could make my paintings are less bland and more individual?

From: Rene W -- Jul 06, 2011

I really think women have the best color sense and you don't have to take a test. Just go with your wife or girl friend to the department store and just watch them pick the right lipstick or eye shadow to match their complexion. I tell you it is in the genes. I know of a female artist who has at least 3 or 4 watercolor palettes with each having 54 wells of different watercolor hues. The color has to be there or she can't finish the piece she is working on. I use perhaps a total of 12 different hues, maybe few more exotic hues but that is it. I mix my own colors and call it good. Who cares if it is not exactly the right color? I sure don't. I go for value rather than color. Color depends on the light source as some have mentioned above.

From: Xscar10 -- Jul 06, 2011

Well women do have things that can be cosidered better than men... but men are great at things too. Being able to see colors better, and smell wine better are great, but men have qualities that are great too. For example men have better large muscle movement, and therefor grow muscle faster; usually bigger too. Each side has things that makes them better, meaning we are equal.

From: barb -- Jul 07, 2011

Do you suppose if you put make up every day you would score better? practive makes perfect?

From: Uka Meissner uka_2002@yahoo.com -- Jul 10, 2011

I am a middle aged female and only scored 42 - wonder if I could have done better on my big MAC with the calibrated screen and if I had only one instead of four glasses of wonderful Bio Merlot - enjoyed it , though. One needs to down the big pieces of humble pie with a very good wine !

From: Magag Matapele -- Jul 12, 2011

I am a male in my twenties and I got a "0" perfect, but I really, really wanted to get it right so I did. Thank you.

From: Fred Hulser -- Jul 17, 2011

I've been thinking about my score - way higher than your embarrassing 40 - and I'm thinking your friend Joe Blodgett must have had a similar experience and has his logic backward. "Audacity, courage, bombast and guts" may be needed when the sensitivity for anything else is lacking.




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