Color Theory

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Information about Color Theory

Published on April 10, 2008

Author: bbray


An Introduction to C O L O R T H E O R Y by Lawrence Montgomery artist in residence S O T A , school of the arts All graphics by Lawrence Montgomery©

Color is one of the most expressive elements because its quality affects our emotions directly and immediately. In representational art, color serves to identify objects and to create the effect of illusionistic space Orange Bowl and Yellow Apples 1980, Oil on canvas Janet Fish

Color is one of the most expressive elements because

its quality affects our emotions directly and immediately.

In representational art, color serves to identify objects

and to create the effect of illusionistic space

Red , Yellow & Blue

Roy LICHTENSTEIN (1923-1997) Untitled 1974 Silkscreen 82/100 113 cm x 90 cm Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art Primary color scheme

When you mix a primary color with a primary color next to it on the color wheel you get a secondary color. Red + Yellow = Orange Yellow + Blue = Green Blue + Red = Violet

To achieve Tertiary Colors you mix the primary & secondary colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Warm and cool color schemes Warm colors Cool colors

Henri Fantin-Latour French, 1836 - 1904 Still Life , 1866 oil on canvas, 62 x 74.8 cm (24 3/8 x 29 1/2 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington Local color (objective color)

Subjective color Subjective colors are when the colors do not represent the actual local color. Marie Laurencin, 1925 Mother and child Oil on canvas

Poplars on the Banks of the River Epte, Sunset Claude Monet, 1891 The Athenaeum Local or subjective?

Andy Warhol Elvis I and II 1964 silkscreen on acrylic, on aluminum 208.3 x 208.3 cm Complementary Color scheme Complementary colors: colors opposite each other on the color wheel Red / Green Orange / Blue Yellow / Violet

Conditioned color & atmospheric conditioning- colors appear more intense in the foreground and have a lesser value in background Conditioned color & Neutralized Color

Neutralized color - color intensity is neutralized by adding its complement or a neutral color, white, black or grey. Conditioned color & Neutralized Color

Local color: the actual color of an object Tonal color: the color variations that result from the effects of light and shadow. Reflected color - any object you look at is influenced by the color of the environment. These colors are reflections of surrounding objects. Local Color Reflected Color Tonal Color

Atmospheric conditioning Neutralized colors The Wolf River, Kansas Albert Bierstadt c.1859 Oil on canvas 48 1/8 x 38 1/8 inches (122.5 x 97.1 cm) The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, USA Warm color scheme

Color evokes mood Cool color scheme Pablo Picasso , The Tragedy , 1903, oil on wood, 1.053 x .690 m (41 7/16 x 27 3/16 in.), National Gallery of Art, Washington,

Light intensity a color appears lighter when the color around it is darker Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio Madonna dei Palafrenieri (1605) oil on canvas cm. 2,92x2,11 Borghese Gallery

a color appears lighter when the color around it is darker

Liubov Popova Sitzender weiblicher Akt, 1914, Oil on canvas 106 x 87 cm Museum Ludwig Analogous Colors Analogous Colors – colors that have ‘neighboring’ hues, contain one common color from the color wheel.

Warm or cool color scheme? Paul Cezanne 1839-1906 Landscape , 1900 Oil on canvas h62.2 cm , w 51.5 cm Analogous or complementary color schemes?

Georges Seurat French, 1859-1891 A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884 Oil on canvas 207.5 x 308 cm Optical color mixtures are when the artist depends on the eye to mix the colors.

Local color? Chuck Close Lyle , 2002 Chuck Close (American, born 1940) 147-color silk screen 65 1/2 x 53 7/8 in. Edition of 80 Optical color mixture Complementary color scheme?

Henri Matisse: Portrait of Madame Matisse. The Green Line,1905. 40,50 x 32,5 cm Oil on canvas What are the color relationships in Matisse’s painting of Madame Matisse?

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