Tuesday, August 27, 2013

COLOR, the basics

Hi there! This is a study break for me, while I let my brain absorb all of the acronyms and new vocabulary I have just stuffed in there. Classes started back yesterday...sort of...there was a problem with the server so only 1 of the 3 were uploaded and accessible to those of us taking online classes and HOLY EYEBALLS IS THERE A LOT OF READING IN GRAD SCHOOL.

But that has nothing to do with why we are here. We are here because of COLOR. Unless your eyeballs are also run through the television tubes of the 1950's color is EVERYWHERE. And everywhere you go it is intentional. Corporations, retail establishments and even schools are using color to affect you. You can learn to wield your very own wand of color to do your bidding once you understand how colors play together.

These are your primaries.
 That means that you can't mix them, you have to buy them
 (or mine them if you are hardcore into your art)

Mix your primaries together and you get secondaries.

Look at the happy color wheel! 
If you never did one of these in school you are missing out. 
This is the color-coordinators bible. Once you understand where 
these guys sit, you are ready to move forward.

Then you can add your primaries and your secondaries to get tertiaries. 
The color-math keeps going this way until you run out of colors. (I think a 24 bit RGB monitor can recreate something in the order of 16 million colors)
So now you can mix colors...

What about complementary colors?

Complementary colors sit across from each other on the color wheel. 
If you think of it as a clock face, 3 and 9 would be complementary. 
As would 12 and 6, 1 and 7, and so on. 
They are called complementary because they create a visual tension that we find pleasing. 
If you were to mix them you would wind up with brown.

This is a color wheel with primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries. 
Beneath the wheel is complementary color matches. 

Ready for some more? 
Using your color wheel isolate 3 colors that sit next to one another. 
This is called an analogous grouping. Once again this arrangement is visually pleasing.

By using three analogous colors, you can harmonize your pallet. 
Whether you are painting a still life or redecorating, 
understand color relationships can make your work sing.

We can talk a little about the meanings behind colors, but the meanings will change based upon cultures. 
All of the meanings I will share come from a Western European interpretation.

Exciting, hot, passionate or danger, aggressive, violent

Fun, happy, child-like or loud and over-bearing

Joyful, lively, enlightening or hazardous or cowardly

Fresh, trustworthy, prosperity, traditional, nature

Calming, cool, peaceful, faithful*, dependable

Meditative, sensual, royal, dramatic, mysterious

Powerful, elegant, mysterious, strong or death, mourning, and the underworld

Pure, clean, innocent, airy, ethereal, efficient or clinical, cold

Classic, timeless, neutral, logical, deliberate, and methodical

Next time you go shopping, or to eat, or anywhere pay attention to the colors. They are sending you a message! You can use the meanings behind colors to send your own messages in your home, wardrobe, and art work. 

What's your favorite color? Use that with it's complement and see what you think. Mine is BLUE so I would pair that with ORANGE. Not my favorite combination, but there is a reason so many universities use the blue-and-orange combo.

There are lots of little tricks that I like to use when doing art work or decorating. 
  1. Don't underestimate the power of a neutral color! I use tan, brown, and grey as neutrals as well as white.
  2. Contrast is your friend. It can be a little scary at first, but start small and work into it.
  3. Paint can always be painted over. I painted a brown accent wall in my dining room 3 years ago on a whim. I still love looking at it. I painted my kitchen a shade of yellow that has been burning my eyeballs this summer--time to repaint!
  4. Any color combination found in nature will ALWAYS work. Mother Nature is the ultimate designer!
  5. Ask small people what they think of your color choice. They will always be unabashedly honest.
  6. Make mistakes and learn from them
Now get out there and make color work for YOU!

*This is why brides carry "something blue" on their wedding day.

PS- there were a lot of references to eyeballs in this post. Completely unintentional.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love it! You truly missed your calling, you should have been a teacher! I love how simple and basic you break everything down to yet fill it in with humor and the technical terms and reasoning! Once again, THANK YOU Kara!