I'm not a physicist. So mathematics probably wont help me understand this issue. However, this has been troubling me for the past week or so and I would really like to get to the bottom of it. If someone could provide a plain English explanation of what's going on I would greatly appreciate it. If I have a red wall (no gloss, just a dull red) and I shine a white line on the wall I get back a brighter shade of red where the light illuminates the wall. If I increase the intensity of the light source I will eventually see white light being reflected off this red surface. Why does this happen? My intuition, obviously misguided, tells me that I should be getting a neon red back from the wall. In other words the red surface will keep absorbing all wavelengths of light except red up until the point where the heat generated burns the surface. What instead happens is the surface appears to lose its ability to absorb non-red wavelengths as the light intensity is increased and I slowly get more and more white light. This confuses me because I can't find any literature describing this phenomenon. Everything I can find simply says that light is either absorbed or reflected, but nothing about an absorption limit.