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Colory Theory-What is Color?

Updated: Oct 3, 2023


Hi! I can't believe we almost have a month of homeschooling on the books. I hope that all is well on your end. Art Fridays have been a staple in our homeschool since day one. It's a great way to end the week. I often find ways to tie lessons from other subjects into our art lessons. This lesson begins in art and ends with science. Be sure to check out How Do We See Color? For an extension of this fun color lesson. Okay, Let's get into it. What is color? Color Theory helps us explore the world of color. Color is defined by three dimensions: hue, intensity, and value.


Intensity is known as saturation or chroma. It represents the degree of brightness or dullness of a color.

Hue is a particular color family with degrees of warmness or coolness.

Value is the degree of lightness or darkness in a color.


Color Mixing
Primary, Secondary and Intermediate Colors

Primary Colors


Now that we know how color is defined. Let's discuss primary colors. There are three primary colors: yellow, red, and blue. These three colors can be mixed to create secondary colors: green, orange, and violet. You can combine these colors further to create intermediate colors. Ari had so much fun mixing these colors. When we were done, she created art with all the colors she made. Unfortunately, she is shy about me sharing it.







Tints, Tones, and Shades


Now we know how to make so many colors! If we want to achieve a tint, we add white to a color. Tones are created by adding gray to a color. Finally, shades are achieved by adding black to a color. The amount of color added to a color determines the intensity of the tint, tone, or shade.




Warm and Cool Colors -How Color Theory Can Make You a Better Artist or Designer

Create a Mood
Warm and Cool Colors

Let's talk about warm and cool colors. Warm colors are yellow to red violet, and cool colors are yellow-green to violet. Warm colors are associated with joy and excitement. Cool colors are calm and are also associated with sadness.


So, the next time you are creating art, consider how warm and cool colors can convey the mood of your piece. Color is a great way to express oneself. Whether through art, fashion, interior design, or hair. All the most significant artists, like my favorites, Salvador Dali, Georgia O'Keeffe, and many others, have utilized color theory to create unique works of art. Take a look at one of the two artists mentioned. How does the work make you feel? Create something inspired by Dali, O'Keeffe, or one of your favorite artists. Remember to use your new color-mixing techniques to create a mood. Have fun experimenting with color mixing!







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