Parents Corner

Know your color wheel

Do we all know about the primary colors? Do we also know that all colors can be created using these three colors? This is one of the best exercises with children, to mix and create colors and know our color wheel. To begin, let’s visit the color wheel.

What is the color wheel?

The color wheel is a circle where different colors are painted side by side in sectors to show the relationship of colors. It is a tool which will ultimately help us combine colors. The basic color wheel model has 12 colors.

The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. These form the base colors from which other colors can be obtained. 

Each of these above colors can be combined with each other to give three more colors known as the secondary colors. These are green,  orange and purple.

So blue and yellow makes green, red and blue makes purple and red and yellow gives orange.

Another six colors of the color wheel are created by mixing the primary with the secondary colors. These are called the tertiary colors. They are also called as intermediate colors.

So we have 

  • yellow and orange (amber)
  • red and orange (vermilion)
  • blue and green (teal)
  • yellow and green 
  • blue and purple
  • red and purple

Many other color combinations are possible by mixing these colors.

For painting in acrylic, the closest colors to the primary colors of the color wheel is Cadmium red for the primary red, Ultramarine blue for the primary blue and cadmium yellow as the primary yellow. The colors should be opaque.

Now a Complementary color is a color that combines with another color to make colors close to white and black. It is created by mixing primary colors with secondary colors opposite on the color wheel. Also, if you want to darken a color or shade with a color, add the complementary color and not black.

Analogous colors are groups of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, sharing a common color.  The dominant color is the primary or secondary color, and then a tertiary color. They usually match well and are comforting to the eyes.

Triad and split complementary colors combination gives a vibrant look to the painting.

Watch the video on the color wheel to know more about the color theory. This is from simple art tips.

Also, watch some videos of Merv Moriarty to understand color mixing.  Watch him demonstrate Simultaneous Contrast.

Hue, tint, tone and shade

A tint is a color formed by mixing the color with white, thus making it light. If we add black to the color, thus creating a darker color, we get a shade. Adding gray to the color gives a tone of the color.

A hue in art terms is a pure color without mixing any black and white. Value refers to the darkness or lightness of a hue.  Saturation is the intensity or purity of the hue.

Warm and cool colors

Blue, green and purple are considered cool colors while yellow, orange and red hues are considered warm.  Cooler colors seem to recede and take us away in the background while warmer colors bring subjects to the foreground. Warm and cool colors are also used to show the mood of the picture. Orange and yellow give a happy impression. Paul Klee experimented with his colors to choose his right color scheme for his paintings.

The saturation, value and the temperature are important to create the contrast in the painting. Watch Simple Art Tips to see how she chooses a color scheme.

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