Basic Color Theory


Basic color theory is important to any artist because it gives you the tools to get the desired effect in your paintings and artwork. In color theory, we use something called the color wheel. This is a circle that has all colors on it. A man by the name of Isaac Newton developed the first color wheel in 1666. Since that time, both artists and scientists have studied the variations of the color wheel. Over the years, new designs were invented that improved upon existing color wheels. There are many opinions about the validity of one concept over another. The truth is, that any color wheel which presents a logical arrangement of pure hues is valid.

In color theory, there are primary colors. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. These are the three pigment colors that cannot be mixed. They cannot be formed through any mixture of other colors. Thus, they are called primary colors. All the other colors on the wheel are created from red, yellow and blue.

The secondary colors are known as green, orange and purple. You get green, orange, and purple by mixing the primary colors together. Next, you have tertiary colors. These are known as red-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, red-purple, and yellow-orange. You form these tertiary colors by mixing primary and secondary colors together.

When you have a pleasing arrangement of parts in art, you are creating what’s called harmony. Just like in music, your aim is to have harmony in a piece of music, in visual experiences, you also want something that is harmonic and pleasing to the eye. When you lack balance in your art, it can either be chaotic or boring. If your art is so annoying that that it does not engage the viewer, then you may find it art to experience success in the art world. The human mind tends to reject information that is just not stimulating enough.If your artwork is chaotic, you may still face rejection. The human brain also tends to reject things that it has a hard time organizing. By presenting a logical structure, you are creating color harmony and creating interest in your piece.

So how do you create balance in your art? There are various color schemes to help you create balance in your artwork. We won’t cover all over them here, but only a few. The first one is known as the analogous color scheme. This is where any three colors used that are side by side on the wheel. For example, you could use yellow and yellow-orange, yellow and yellow-green, just to name two. With this color scheme, there is one that will predominate. Another color scheme to help you achieve harmony is known as complementary color scheme. For example, you can use red and green, yellow-green and red-purple, blue and orange. With this scheme, your artwork would have maximum contrast and stability.

Having the knowledge of knowing your Basic color theory is important, and it is a sure fire way to experience success in your artwork. Remember, color theory is only a theory. These are principles and guidelines that you can use, but ultimately, you want to remain the creative artist that you are. That means you can always break “the rules” at times.

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