Spin the wheel of color!

Hey guys. So as you all know, I’ve been studying color these past few weeks in my 2d drawing and painting class. We have spent a lot of time working on the color wheel, so here is a sampler of what I’ve been doing most recently. The top wheel is a scale of high saturation on the outside going to very low saturation on the inside. On the bottom wheel, complementary colors are being mixed, so that in each box going towards the center, more of the opposite complementary color is added to the box. In the top right corner, I had two mix colors in order to match the color swatch.

If you didn’t understand any of that, then it’s time for a quick lesson in color. Blue, yellow and red are primary colors. This means that there are no two colors you can mix together to create blue, yellow or red. Secondary colors are colors that are the product of two primary colors. Orange, green and purple are secondary colors. Tertiary colors are made when you mix a primary color and one on the colors next to it on the color wheel. For example, red-orange, orange-yellow, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet are all tertiary colors.

Are you still with me? Good. Now I’ll explain monochromatic, analogous, triadic, complementary and split complementary colors. First, monochromatic. That’s pretty easy. A monochromatic scale is just one color going from light to dark. I’m actually going to be doing a monochromatic painting later in the year, so watch for that. An Analogous color scheme has 3-5 colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. An example of that would be the colors red-orange, orange, orange-yellow, and yellow. Next, a triad. Three colors that are equidistant from each other on the color wheel can be called triadic colors. Complementary colors are opposite on the color wheel, and can be used to show stark contrast, like red and green or blue and orange. Split complementary colors are trickier. This color palette would include one color and the two hues on the either side of it’s complement.

So now you know, If you didn’t already. Notice that black and white aren’t present on the color wheel. This is because they are values, not colors.In art, black is the presence of all color, and white is the absence of all color. In photography, these roles are reversed.

I hope you liked this project and that you learned something. I am still working on another color project in class, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!


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