Colour theory……what is it exactly? and how can you use it effectively and to your advantage when painting and creating art? Well recently I have been on a mission to find out more and I wanted to share some images and videos that have helped me understand it that I think will be of help to others. Having a good understanding of colour theory can help you when mixing colours for your art, craft or even other professions like hairdressing and interior design.
There are 3 primary colours red, blue and yellow. You cannot ‘make’ the primary colours. All colours are made from a combination of these 3 colours (which is why its really useful to know about colour theory!). From the primary colours, you can make the 3 secondary colours which are made by:
Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
Blue + Red= Violet
You can mix any colour of the rainbow, by using the 3 primaries in varying quantities.
How to neutralise colours/ or make a neutral brown:
Red neutralises Green (and vice versa)
Blue neutralises Orange (and vice versa)
Yellow neutralises Violet (and vice versa)
These colour combinations are also known as complementary colours (red+ green, yellow+violet, blue+orange). We use complementary colours to either enhance or minimise a colours presence.
If you mix red with green (depending on the individual shade/tint of colour) they will neutralise each other and you will get a neutral brown. That is, a brown with no tone. If you mix red and green together in unequal quantities you will get either a warm brown (if more red is added than green) or a cool brown (if more green is added than red), as to get a neutral brown, the quantities of each colour must be the same, otherwise one colour will dominate over the other.
Other images that are helpful…….
If you want a visual aid that will help you to understand colour theory more and also help you when mixing colours, get a colour wheel. They are easy to use and will last a log time if you look after them, plus you can purchase the pocket colour wheel as pictured above from Amazon here. The pocket colour wheels are a good size and cost less than £5! A very useful item that doesn’t cost too much and will help you in your art or craft when mixing colours.
I have included some good Youtube videos below that show colour theory in more depth should you want more information than what is listed here.
Hope this has helped you!