I think what you're dealing with here is more an issue of semantics
than science. In other words, I think your question has to do more with
the definition of the word "color" than with how light is actually
absorbed or emitted. If you were to define something's color as the
colors of light being absorbed
by the object at any particular
time, than your description would be completely correct. However, this
is not the definition of "color" that is typically used.
We see most objects only by reflected light. So what we mean by the
color of the object is the color of the light that it reflects when
it is bathed in ordinary white light (a mixture of colors), not the
color of the light it absorbs.
objects emit light- say if they're very hot, like the burner of a
stove- and the color of that light is usually a lot different from the
color of the light that object would reflect.
Usually, though, when we talk about the color of an object, we usually just mean the color of the reflected light.
-Tamara & Mike
(republished on 07/27/06)