In January some of my students have moved into the “Big Kid” section of the world of painting, painting in color. Since then I have been repeating color theory ad nauseam, while they are learning to control the whole new set of paint on their palettes. I also have been promising to post THIS post about color theory.
My color theory has been given to me by the awesome Timothy Jahn and Brian Townsend. Where they received this incredibly useful information, I am not sure. I have heard MANY, MANY different versions of color theory through the years and this one works the best. This color theory is very logical and straightforward, it has always gotten me where I needed to be, efficiently and effectively. Hopefully it will do the same for you.
First, there are only six colors in the world. Everything we see can be broken down into one of these six colors. If you are having difficulty identifying what color something is, start by identifying what it isn’t, this will narrow down the selection.
There are three things that make up a color, they are; value, temperature and chroma. Hue is not one of the things that make up color. Hue refers to the color name i.e. blue, red or green, therefore it would be redundant to be a component of the color, since we identify that in step one.
Now to make a color, that takes time and knowledge of your palette. To make something lighter or darker you can use any number of things. To make something warmer or cooler, again, any number of things can be used. Use your discretion to figure your way through these two. To neutralize a color, you add its compliment to it. The compliments are the colors directly opposite of each other on the color wheel; Red-Green, Orange-Blue, Purple-Yellow.
Good Luck and Happy Painting!