This has been an interesting question lately. I posed the same question to other teachers at the MAEA spring conference and got as many different answers as people. I didn't realize this was going to give me so much to think about.
In case you are confused, I wrote a response to the "Journeys in Art" blog http://journeysinart.blogspot.com/, and to my surprise was quoted and responded too in her next post. Wow that's never happen before. Cool.
Here is my response to her, but it was way too many words. 300 just didn't do it for me. Big surprise. Chatty Kathy.
After reading your response I agree that there are no absolutes in art and started thinking of why I say that artist call it violet. I came to the conclusion that it's because that is what my crayon box said. As far back as I can remember, pretty long, my crayons have always said "Violet" so I assumed everyone called it violet. Now the crayons say both "Violet(purple)" on them which I always thought was because so many call it purple. I never gave a thought to the fact that everyone already called it purple because that is the way they were taught. I know both are acceptable but at least while we talk about the color wheel we try to remember to use the word violet. So now what?
Now another question-- I use the term intermediate with my elementary kids and they are the ones with the primary color listed first. I give them a little pop quiz, which is correct? I hold up both an hide the labels, yellow-green or green-yellow? Yellow-green, they are both in the crayon boxes as is violet-red and red-violet. Or am I assuming again?
I went to college, I have my art ed degree. But how did I get to thinking this way? Am I stuck in a rut? Am I (gulp) wrong? I can't be. I've been doing this a long time. ?????????
I do tell my students when it comes to art terms, to call them what the teacher does. In other words, don't raise your hand and say "But Mrs. Z always said we had to call it __________!" I tell them if they say tertiary instead of intermediate then make your art teacher happy and call it tertiary. It's not the only correct term like other things in art.
What's a gal to do? So many questions.
I sure there will be more comments later, stay tuned.