Color Theory II
Understanding How to Translate (or make) the Color:
From childhood art class we recall the three primary colors, red, and yellow, blue. They are the basis (or primary) for all colors (hues).
Secondary colors are orange, green, and violet.
Then there are ter’-tia-ry colors: (‘ter-she-,er-re) (containing a third) yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, and red-orange.
All the hues in the color world can be derived from ten basic families: Red, orange, yellow, green-yellow, green, blue-green, blue, purple-blue, purple, red-purple.
(10 basic hues plus black; and/or combined values of multiples = millions of colors)
Class Exercise: Create Your Own Color Wheel.
Complementary/Contrasting colors: Each primary, secondary, and tertiary color has its complement or contrasting color. When evenly mixed they produce a totally neutral color, in which neither color is distinguished; sometimes referred to as ‘mud.’
Complementary colors appear brighter when placed together. They complement each other, like vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. When painting with any one color, always keep in mind its ‘complement’ to strengthen your center of interest.
‘Saturation; A quality of color combining hue and saturation; Brightness or strength of a hue.’
(Blue vs. Light blue) Pigment from the tube is at its maximum chroma. Seldom do colors in nature appear at that level of intensity. The challenge for the artist is constantly weakening with water, or graying down their color to approximate what you are seeing.
Or tones, means the ‘value’ (think of money or jewels) the lightness or darkness of the hue. We change the value by adding water to the pigment.
Class Exercise: Create Your Own Value Charts
Starting with #9 as white through #1, black, create your own value chart using ivory black and water. Create a color chart using complementary colors to grey down each other. Using values of black combined with values of color to grey the color.
Color Temperature: Warm, Cool, Neutral
Color temperature has a lot to do with controlling ‘mood.’ Warm colors we associate with warmth; happiness, excitement; Red, yellow, orange, earth colors. Cool colors are moody, contemplative; blues and purples. Red-purples and green are neutral colors, but can easily be shifted to either warm or cool. Warms played against cools defines plane change; light and shadow, foreground against middle/background.
How do I find my ‘target’ color? (The color I see) Locate the two closest ‘neighbor’ colors among the ‘ten families’ on the color wheel. Determine the value (s) and paint a test sample.
Staining Colors vs. Sedimentary Colors:
Sedimentary colors tend to be opaque, lay on the surface where as staining colors tend to be transparent, settle deep into the paper. (Reference chart to determine) Advantages & disadvantages.
Class Exercise: Create your own staining vs. Sedimentary color chart.
There is no magic to mixing any of the ‘millions’ of colors. Each color is an extended member of the original ten families. Identify the color using the marvelous tools God gave you. Then with a little practice find the closest ‘neighboring’ colors and from that observation mix the color that you see. Remember; ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Water.’