Archive for the ‘The Color Wheel’ Category

For All Artists Hint 4: The Color Wheel – Advanced Terms

Monday, February 28th, 2011


Well, we have almost made it through color theory. So far it hasn’t been too bad at all, and it won’t be anymore difficult today. We are almost done with color theory!

Again, it may be helpful to have your color wheel in your hands while reading these terms, but I will post the photos of the color wheel again in case you haven’t had a chance to get one yet.

Here we go!

Color Wheel Side One:
Side 1

Color Wheel Site Two:
Side 2

Advanced Terms:

Additive Colors – The combination of pigments which result in mixtures that are lightened; or, color mixing that utilizes light.
Ex: When blue is added to white the additive color is light blue.

Subtractive Colors – The combination of pigments which results in mixtures that are darkened.
Ex: Red mixed with white makes pink. (Pink is darker than white.)

Expressionistic Color – Color which expresses emotional qualities rather than visual truths about a subject.
Ex: Some artists use blues and greens to emote a calm feeling from their art.

Color Constancy – The psychological tendency to see colors as we think they are rather than as we actually perceive them.
Ex: After a traumatic incident some witnesses will say, “Officer, it was a black or dark colored car.” They know it was dark, but they didn’t see exactly what color it was.

Atmospheric Perspective – When distant areas loose color contrast and value contrast and may be tinted with a blue haze.
Ex: Mountains look blue-purple from a distance, but don’t up close.

Simultaneous Contrast – The tendency of complementary and strongly contrasting colors to intensify one another when placed side by side.
Simultaneous contrast may cause color to change in value, saturation, and hue.
Ex: Pale buttery yellow can look like a light yellow next to a middle key yellow, but if it is placed next to a deep dark purple, it can appear almost white.

That is it for color theory. I hope it was much easier than you thought at first.

Hopefully Helpful,

For All Artists Hint 3: The Color Wheel – Intermediate Terms

Monday, February 21st, 2011


I hope you have all had time to digest the basic color theory terms from last week. Let’s move on to intermediate color theory terms. Again, it will be quite useful for you to have a color wheel in your hands, but if you don’t have one, here are pictures of both sides.

Color Wheel Side One
Side 1

Color Wheel Side Two:
Side 2

Intermediate Terms:

Full Range – Colors from every range on the value scale.
Ex: Light, medium, and dark.

Achromatic – With out color. Black, white, and gray.
Ex: A black & white photo is achromatic.

Monochromatic – A color harmony that utilizes only one color.
Ex: a painting dome in all reds is monochromatic.

Tints – Adding white to a color.

Tones – Adding gray to a color.

Shades – Adding black to a color

Earth Tones – Colors which come from mineral sources.
Ex: Yellow Ocher is an earth tone.

Value Keys – Groups of value on a value (gray) scale.
Ex 1: To make a dark color look lighter in value, place it against an even darker background.
Ex 2: A light color against a dark background will appear larger.

High Key –The light end of the value scale.

Middle Key – The middle range of value scale.

Low Key – The dark range of the value scale.

High Contrast – Extreme light and dark colors.
Ex: Light creamy yellow and dark Iris purple is a high contrast color combination.

That is it for the intermediate color theory terms. Next week, we will be finishing up color theory terms. Remember, I promise they wont be too difficult to understand.

Hopefully Helpful,

For All Artists Hint 2: Using the Color Wheel – Basic Terms

Monday, February 14th, 2011


Now that you have had a chance to look at a Color Wheel, let’s discuss the Color Theory terms and their definitions. Some of these are on the color wheel. It may be very useful for you to have a physical color wheel in front of you when you read this post. I will provide pictures, but there’s nothing like have the real thing in your hands.

To make this a little easier to digest, I am going to break this down into 3 posts. This week will be basic terms, next week will be intermediate terms, and the week after that will be advanced terms. This does not mean that if you are a beginner to art that you should only read the basic terms. Oh no! You should really read all of them. The hardest theory will be looking at a distant mountain. Not so tough!

Color Wheel Side One:
Color Wheel Side One

Color Wheel Side Two:
Color Wheel Side Two

Color Theory Vocabulary List:

This list in tandem with a color wheel will give you a good understanding of basic color theory. These terms are from the book Color by: Paul Zelanski & Mary Pat Fisher. I do recommend it.

Basics Terms:

7 Visible Colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet (ROY G BIV)

Primary Colors – Red, Yellow, Blue

Secondary Colors – Orange, Green, Violet

Tertiary Colors – Red-Orange, Orange-Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green-Blue, Blue-Violet, Violet-Red

Analogous – Hues lying next to each other on the color wheel.
Ex: Red and Red-Orange are analogous to each other.

Complementary – Colors that lye opposite each other on the color wheel.
Ex 1: Red/Green, Yellow/Violet, Blue/Orange
Ex 2: Red will look most saturated against green.
Ex 3: The result of mixing complements is a middle value color (brown or grey).

Split Complementary – A color combination whereby a hue is used with the hues lying to either side of its direct complementary.
Ex: Red/Yellow-Green and Blue-Green.

Double Complement – A color combination in which hues adjacent to each other on the color wheel are used with their respective complementary.
Ex: Red and Red-Orange/Green and Blue-Green

Triad Color Scheme – The use of three colors equally spaced from each other on a color wheel.
Ex: Orange, green, violet

Warm – Red-Violet through Yellow (see color wheel)

Cool – Yellow-Green through Violet (see color wheel)

The 3 Properties of Color: Hue, value, and saturation

Value – Lightness or darkness of a color.

Hue – The name of a color, where it’s placed on the color wheel.

Saturation – intensity or purity of a color.
Ex: A dull color can be made to appear more saturated when placed next to a dull color.

Next week we will tackle the intermediate terms.

Hopefully Helpful,

For All Artists Hint 1: Using the Color Wheel

Monday, February 7th, 2011


Aaaah! The Color Wheel! Some artists get totally freaked out when someone mentions Color Theory or using a Color Wheel. This is perfectly normal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Color Theory and using the Color wheel is actually quite simple. A bit long to explain, so we will be breaking it up into a couple of posts, but once you get it, you get it forever. To show how easy it is, let’s jump right in!

I do recommend you go and get a color wheel. I’m sure you’ve seen them in the art stores sitting there on a hanger or a shelf. You’ve looked at them and wondered what on earth they are used for. A lot of artists and designers use them to determine color combinations, what a color would look like darker or lighter, or if its complement were mixed into it. It also has color theory terms and definitions on it front and back.

The small ones tend to run $5 or $6, and the large ones are about $10 or $11, or sometimes you can borrow one from a friend. You can get them at almost any arts supply store. The color wheel can help you learn the relationship that colors have to one another, and can be a great help when mixing your own colors. This is a great visual aide for color mixing, and choosing color themes for your projects.

There are 3 wheels on the color wheel that you turn to get different information. A central wheel that has all the colors printed on it. The side one wheel has a gray scale, which is helpful if you need to know if a color is dark, medium, or light, and mixing information. The side two wheel has color theory information.

Side One of the Color Wheel:
Side One of the Color Wheel

“How to use a color wheel” (Yep, it’s printed in plain English right on the front.) “Select a color on the outside wheel. Align it with a color on the inside wheel. The mixture will appear in the window.” (Note: not all shades of the same color of paint look the same, nor do they mix the same. Your end product may not look exactly like the mixture in the window.)
Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Warm and Cool colors
Hue, tint, tone, shade, Key color, Neutral gray, intensity or chroma, and value
Gray Scale: 10% black to 100% black
Colors with what happens if you add red, yellow, blue, white and black to them.

Side Two of the Color Wheel:
Side Two of the Color Wheel

“How to use the Color Relationships Wheel” (Yep, it’s printed right on the back.) “Turn the dial so the arrow points to a Pure color in the outer row. Color Relationships are shown using the diagram in the center.”
Mono-Chromatic, Analogous, Achromatic, Color and Light, Color and Distance
Complementary Colors, Split Complements, Diad, Triad, Tetrad
Illustration of Color Relationships
How the color looks when you add a Tint, Tone, and Shade
Diagrams to find complementary split complementary, triad, and tetrad of colors

I know a lot of these terms sound way out there to you, but they’re not. We will be discussing these Color Theory terms next week, and I promise you won’t be too confused when we are through with that post.

Hopefully Helpful,