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Color Play

Some of my favorite parts of being artsy is playing in color.  I love color.  It seems like such a strange thing to say but I do.  Sometimes, I will notice the color before I notice an image or object.  It’s color that appeals to me.

I love Color Theory and Color Meaning.  Since I am behind in some of my picture taking for projects, I thought I’d talk about color today.

In the picture above is the Color Wheel.  It’s one I created using six colors – primary and secondary.  Color Wheels commonly come in 3, 6, or 12 segments but some companies might offer a color wheel based on their line of colors.

Primary colors are all complementary in their original hue.  Once you start adding degrees they can be complementary or clash terribly.  That is where the larger wheels come into play.

My colored wheel is 6 but hand written about that is the 12.  Starting with yellow the colors are: yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, red, red-purple, purple, blue-purple, blue, blue-green, green, yellow-green.

You can find colors that work together in two ways – Analogous or Complementary.

Analogous groupings are in threes and always connected.  So an analogous grouping would be red, red-purple, purple or green, yellow-green, yellow.

Complementary colors are diagonal.  If you look at my color wheel above – red and green are complementary.  For the 12 color wheel the complementary colors are: yellow & purple, yellow-orange & blue-purple, orange & blue, red-orange & blue-green, red & green, red-purple & yellow-green.

The white notes over my color wheel are typical meanings for each color.  The goal is to be able to use color not just to make something attractive but to evoke an emotional response.  It’s also to help me understand what emotions might come across with a certain color scheme so I am communicating correctly.  I’d hate to create a serene picture to have the viewer feel angry.

Here are some of the basic meanings:

Yellow: happiness, optimism, enlightenment, creativity, cowardice, betrayal, egoism, madness, caution, illness

Green: growth, renewal, fertility, nature, luck, young, envy

Blue: trust, dignity, intelligence, authority, clean, strength, cool, peace, serenity, loyal, understanding, sadness

Purple: rarity, royalty, supernatural (energy), magic, mystery, creativity, divine, floral, romantic, intelligence, decadence, conceit, mourning

Red: passion, seduction, violence, danger, anger, fire, blood, stop, sex,

Orange: vibrant, healthy, fruity, energizing, abrasive, crass, energy, warmth, excitement, good health, cheap (good deal), comfort, soothing

While it seems contradictory, remember that these colors come in a variety of hues and densities.  A softer/lighter color will be more positive than a dark/bright color.

I’m not sure this actually fits into this conversation but I wanted to share my pencil swatching with you.  Lindsey over at The Frugal Crafter is often making swatches of her various mediums.  I love her blog, it’s very entertaining but I rarely use the information.  One day, I am just having fits because I can’t find a color in my pencils.  I had two boxes of pencils with multiple sets.  My newest set has the color on the end of the pencil but it rarely matches the actual color of the lead.  Suddenly, I realized I could swatch it.

Not only does this make using my pencils so much easier and accessible but I love the look of all that color on my wall.  You may notice the cycle starts over part way through.  I have two sizes of pencils.  The larger ones now live in clear cups and are numbered.  The smaller ones are back in the box and lettered.

My swatches aren’t perfect but I think I did a fairly good job of lining them up according to the color wheel.  It makes me happy and makes working with the pencils less stressful.  I, highly, recommend it.  Some day I’ll do it with my other mediums.

In the meantime, I hope this inspires you to play in color.

Color Play