52.2 month 08 : color theory

Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Achromatic Color Schemes

This week we start our month-long study of color. An artist’s color wheel is the basic tool for combining colors to design pleasing color combinations. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with designing the first circular color diagram. The circle of colors starts with the primary colors of red, yellow and blue placed an equidistant from each other and is bridged by secondary and tertiary colors. Secondary colors (green, orange, purple) are a combination of two primary colors. Tertiary colors (blue-green, yellow-orange, etc.) are a combination of a primary or secondary colors.

Image source: New York University http://cs.nyu.edu/courses/fall02/V22.0380-001/color_theory.htm

Color theory is complex and includes the study of color and its affect on our mood and feelings. We are going to have a lot of fun playing with color this month! We begin this week by exploring analogous and monochrome color combinations.

Analogous colors are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. They are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. Red-Orange-Yellow combinations are considered warm colors. They are often vivid and energetic and tend to advance in a photograph. Green-Blue-Violet combinations are cool colors which appear peaceful and calm.

Monochrome schemes consist of a single color or hue with variation in tint, tone and shade. We can alter the hue, saturation and luminance by adding black, white and gray to the single color. The color can also be neutralized by adding its complement to lower the intensity of the color. A monochrome scheme includes all forms of black and white photography.

This week we continue our month-long study of color with complimentary colors. Complimentary color schemes are a great place to start with color theory, as they are easy to understand and fun to use. They help create cohesive and pleasing compositions.

Complimentary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue-orange, violet-yellow, or red-green. They work well in straightforward compositions where vivid and vibrant color combinations can create interest and contrast. Differences in brightness can also create contrast, such as a dark blue and a light orange or black and white. More subdued hues may also be used, such as pastels or a lighter toned combination, such as teal-orange. We can also use split complimentary colors where two of the three colors are adjacent to one of the colors that is opposite, such as blue, yellow-orange and red-orange. Flowers, sunsets, and holiday decorations are just a few examples of where we might find complimentary colors.

This week we continue our month-long study of color as we play with achromatic colors. By definition, achromatic means, “free from, or without color.”

An achromatic color scheme is one without color. Any color scheme that possesses no hue is said to be achromatic; these color schemes often involve black and white, with various values of gray. Achromatic colors are often used in kitchens or bathrooms-especially in modern or contemporary interiors.

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