Color is everywhere. In the sunset of yellow, orange and red, the sea of blues and greens and the shadow's of purple. It is part of our life. We see it and have emotional responses to it but we don't really think about it. What is it? How does it change and how do we use it. This discussion will talk about color and give you a better understanding of it's characteristics and how to use it in your art work.
Technically, Color is the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way in which the object emits or reflects light. When light shines on an object some colors are absorbed and others are reflected. What we see as the objects color is what is reflected.
Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary/ Archive.cmx.org
Color was organized into a color wheel in the 18th century by Sir Issac Newton. He arranged colors in a circular format. If you look at a color wheel and move from green to red. You will notice the hue becomes less intense. Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary colors. Adding a hue's complementary color reduces the intensity of the color. Mixing two complementary colors gives you a neutral color like brown or gray.
Source: chart from Exploring Art Mittler and Ragans McGraw-Hill, New York: 1992, pp56.
Hues are the color name. Blue, green, red are hues.
The PRIMARY COLORS or hues are RED, YELLOW and BLUE. The primary colors are the hues that all other colors are created from but can not be made by other colors. GREEN,ORANGE and VIOLET are refereed to as the SECONDARY COLORS. THe secondary colors are created by mixing the primary colors on either side of it on the color wheel.
RED + YELLOW = ORANGE
YELLOW + BLUE = GREEN
BLUE + RED = VIOLET
Some colors seem lighter or darker than others, this is referred to as VALUE. The value of a color or hue is its lightness or darkness. A change in value can be made by adding white(to lighten the value) or black (to darken the value)
RED mixed with WHITE = PINK( A light value of red)
RED mixed with BLACK = MAROON(a dark value of red)
If you look at a color wheel and move from green to red. You will notice the hue becomes less intense. Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary colors. Adding a hue's complementary color reduces the intensity of the color. Mixing two complementary colors gives you a neutral color like brown or gray.
Colors can be combined to make dramatic statements. Look at the following as ask yourself why these works of art are successful from a color perspective.
Pablo Picasso, Family of Saltimbanques 1905
Elizabeth Murray, 2005, Do the Dance
Max Ernst 1940-2 Europe after the rain II
MONOCHROMATIC COLORS are different values of a single hue. Light, medium and dark blues. A painting with only monochromatic colors can be quite boring.
ANALOGOUS COLORS are colors that sit side by side on the color wheel and share a common hue. Yellow-green, green and Blue-green are analogous colors. Analogous colors tie shapes to one another.
Colors that elicit the feeling of warmth are referred to as WARM COLORS. RED, ORANGE, YELLOW. COOL COLORS are those that make us think of coolness. VIOLET, BLUE and GREEN
You will notice in paintings,those objects painted in warm colors appear to move the object closer to the viewer and those painted in cool colors move the object to the back.
Vincent Van Gogh, 1888 Cafe Terrace at Night