The Art of Color

July 12, 2022
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If you are interested in art or are a student of art, then it is vital to have a strong knowledge of color theory. This is the art of combining colors that are seen on the color wheel. The color wheel is an organized visual representation of the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Combining them in the right way and understanding how colors relate to each other is important in many professional fields, like marketing, advertising, and visual artists. 

The color wheel

Often called the color circle is the arrangement of colors in a concentric way. It shows the relationship between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, and others. 

Primary colors

These include yellow, blue, and red. The colors cannot be created by combining other colors. These colors are likewise needed to create the secondary colors, and ultimately to create tertiary colors. In general, all colors are derived from all three primary colors. 

Secondary colors

Secondary colors are orange, purple, and green. These are derived from mixing equal amounts of two primary colors. For instance, combining equal amounts of red and yellow produces orange; purple is created by mixing red and blue; while green is by mixing blue and yellow. Hues, on the other hand, are produced by considering the ratio of each color. For example, combining 1 part red with 1 part blue creates a shade of blue, while combining 1 part red with 23 parts blue will create a darker shade of blue-tinged of purple. 

Tertiary colors 

These are known as intermediate colors and they are created by combining equal parts of primary and secondary colors. In many instances, the name of the two colors is based on the two colors combined. Examples are magenta (red-purple), violet (blue-purple), teal (blue-green), and amber (yellow-orange).

What are complementary colors?

These are hues that contrast with each other and are located exactly opposite each other on the color wheel. This is one of the reasons why understanding the color wheel is crucial because it helps in creating harmonious color schemes. These colors feature intensity when placed next to each other. 

How about the analogous colors

Analogous colors are those that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. When combined, they look appealing and produce a calming effect. This definition is in contrast with the intensity produced by complementary colors. In analogous colors, there is the dominant color with the second color supporting it, and the third one acting as an accent. These colors are often used in artworks with the objective of evoking a calming effect.