Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Color wheels

This is the standard color wheel, with Yellow, Red, and Blue as the primary colors. No doubt you remember from elementary school that mixing yellow and red makes orange, mixing red and blue makes purple, and mixing blue and yellow makes green....

Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are called complementary colors (not because they compliment each other). When you mix complementary colors, they make neutrals (browns and grays). And when you put them side by side in a painting, they create color contrast that draws our eyes.

Yellow and purple (or violet) have the greatest contrast in value, followed by orange and blue. Red and green are closest in value of the complementary colors. (So what's with the arrows in the diagram above? Oh, well.)

The mixing palette, or printer's palette, used by professional printers as well as your inkjet printer, has different primary colors, and mixes differently. The yellow is a little lighter, the red is not red but magenta, and the blue is the warm and turquoisey cyan. Here, yellow and cyan still mix to make green. Cyan and magenta make purple. But to get a true red, you mix yellow and magenta. To get orange, you use a little more yellow and a little less magenta. And notice how they all mix together to approximate black?

How your colors mix will depend on the colors you choose to work with, but they will look something like one of these two color wheels. Why does this matter? And how does this apply to creating a painting? That's a whole 'nother bunch of posts....

No comments:

Post a Comment