Art in a Box: Color. Public Programs and Educational Services Utah Museum of Fine Arts

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1 Art in a Box: Color Public Programs and Educational Services Utah Museum of Fine Arts Fact Sheet Color Basics In the visual arts, color theory is a guided practice involving color mixing and the visual impacts of specific color combinations. The color wheel visualizes this relationship and acts as a comprehensive tool for artists to mix color. This quick guide will breakdown the color wheel into its basic color components and illuminate how colors relate to each other. Color Vocabulary: Value How light or dark a color appears. Intensity The brilliance or dullness of a color. Gradation - a gradual change between hues, tones, or shades. Art in a Box is funded in part by the Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools (POPS) through the Utah State Office of Education 6

2 Primary Colors Red,Yellow, Blue These are pure colors that cannot be made by mixing other colors together.they can be combined however to make a useful range of colors. Secondary Colors Green, Purple, Orange Colors made by mixing two primary colors together. 7

3 Intermediate (Tertiary) Colors Red-Violet, Red-Orange,Yellow-Orange,Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet The colors created by mixing primary colors with secondary colors. Complementary Colors These are colors that complete or complement their opposite color.they are found on opposite sides of the color wheel.when placed next to each other, complementary colors make each other appear brighter, more intense. Depending on what color they are placed next to their value and intensity will change.the complementary color of green is red, of orange is blue, and of purple is yellow.when you mix complementary colors you get a neutral color of gray or brown (you also get neutral colors by mixing black and white). 8

4 Cool Colors - greens, blues, and violets Warm Colors yellows, oranges, and reds Warm Cool Tint A gradation of color made by adding white. Shade A gradation of color made by adding black. White Tint Pure Red Shade Black 9

5 Art in a Box: Color Public Programs and Educational Services Utah Museum of Fine Arts Fact Sheet Using the Color Wheel Student Handout What is a color wheel and why do artists use a color wheel? The color wheel guides color mixing. Artists mix colors for many reasons: To make a new color To make a color lighter To make a color darker To change a color from bright to dull In addition to color mixing, it is important for artists to understand what happens when colors are placed next to each other.the way colors are arranged changes the way we see colors.this is what artists call the color relationship. Artists may place two, three or more colors next to each other to create a desired effect. Artists arrange colors in different ways for different reasons: Similar colors agree with each other and create harmony Opposite colors clash with each other, and make each other seem brighter Bright colors stand out next to dull colors Warm colors appear closer and cool colors seem far away Now let s learn how to use the color wheel. 1. Look at the front of the color wheel, where it says Pocket Color Wheel. Look at the colors on the outside of the wheel.these are the pure colors. List all of the colors found on the outside of the wheel. 2. Also on the front you will find the Gray Scale. The Gray Scale shows dark to light, from 100% black to 10% black. How many Values of gray are on the Gray Scale? 10

6 3. Look at the front of the color wheel and find the windows.the windows show what happens when two colors are mixed together. Find the color yellow on the outside of the wheel. Now turn the inside wheel until adding red lines up with yellow.you should see the color orange appear in the window. Now turn the inside wheel, until adding red lines up with blue, what color do you see in the window? 4. Look at the back of the color wheel.this part of the color wheel shows us what happens when colors are arranged in different ways or the Color Relationships of each color. Red and green are opposites on the color wheel. Artists call colors that are opposites on the wheel Complementary. Find the window, on the outside of the wheel, labeled Key Color and align it with red.without moving the wheel look at the color green, it should be in a window labeled Complementary. Now place violet in the Key Color window, what is the Complementary color of violet? 5. Continue to look at the back of the color wheel.the windows on the inside of the wheel show three rows of colors.these windows show what artists call the Tint, Tone and Shade of each pure color.the Tint row, on the outside, is lighter and is made by adding white to the pure color.the Tone row, in the middle, is dull and is made by adding gray to the pure color. Now look at the Shade row, on the inside, and describe how they look? How do you think the Shade colors were made? 11

7 Art in a Box: Color Public Programs and Educational Services Utah Museum of Fine Arts Fact Sheet Using the Color Mixing Guide More information can be found on the backside of the Magic Palette Color Mixing Guide in your Art in a Box: Color. The guide works on a simple grid system. Dominant colors are shown in the left margin and Mixing colors are shown at the bottom. Where the two colors intersect on the grid is the Target color that you achieve by mixing both colors. Each Target color mixture contains only one Dominant and one Mixing color, plus titanium white. Let s mix it up! Divide your class into groups of 3-5 students. Tools needed from your box: Color Mixing Guide Palette knives Palette paper Tubes of titanium white At least three tubes of color Have your students begin mixing small amounts of color at a time to try to match target colors found on the color mixing guide.they will first need to match the dominant and mixing colors by adding tiny amounts of white to each.then they will add small amounts of the mixing color to the dominant color to achieve the target color. Once students have achieved at least 3 target colors using the color mixing guide have them experiment with trying to achieve a target color when they only know the dominant color and have to guess at the mixing colors. 12

8 Art in a Box: Color Public Programs and Educational Services Utah Museum of Fine Arts Fact Sheet Prisms What is a prism? A prism is a transparent object that refracts light into a spectrum.traditionally prisms are made of glass but can be any transparent material.they sometimes come in the geometric form of a triangular prism a triangular base and rectangular sides that is why they are called prisms. Other types of prisms can also refract light; a crystal from a chandelier makes many spectra when light shines through it. What is a spectrum? A spectrum is a display of the distribution of colors produced when a prism disperses white light. A color spectrum has a continuous change in wavelength from red, the longest wavelength, to violet, the shortest. Seven colors are usually named: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet. Spectrum used to mean phantom or apparition. but Isaac Newton gave a new meaning to the word when he used a prism and discovered that sunshine (white light) is made up of many colors. 13

9 Using your prism You can create spectrum by using the two types of prisms in the Art in a Box: Color. Hold the prisms up to a beam of sunlight and you can see the spectrum refracted on the walls.you can make a more intense spectrum by focusing the light.try this activity. What You'll Need: * Scissors * Cardboard * Prism * White paper Cut a slit in a large piece of cardboard. Place the cardboard in a sunny window so that a beam of sunlight shines through the slit. In one hand, hold a prism in front of the cardboard so that the sunlight passes through it.with your other hand, hold a sheet of white paper so that the light passing through the prism shines on it.you will see a color spectrum on the paper. 14

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