Color Schemes

The use of colors in an artistic composition are much like that of the relationship of instruments in an orchestra. When they are warming up, without any sense of direction or organization, they can sound confusing, even unpleasant. However, when they are playing together, under the direction of the conductor, they make beautiful music together.

Handout Here

Achromatic – The use of black, white and grey – ONLY.

Frank Korb – Covid Quilt Piece. A Chromatic: Blacks, Whites, Greys

Monochromatic – One hue PLUS the tints (white), shades (black), and tones (greys) of that hue. Blues, light blues, dark blues and all the other levels of blues in between n are examples.

“Mark,” Elizabeth Peyton (Tints, Shades and Tones of Red)

Complimentary Colors – Hues that are directly across from one another. Red and Green are examples.

“Blue and Orange” Mark Rothko (Blue and Orange)

Split-Complimentary Colors – A hue and the two hues that are next to its compliment. Red, Blue-Green and Yellow Green are examples.

“Yellow House,” Vincent Van Gogh (Blue, Yellow-Orange and Red-Orange)

Color Triads – Three colors that are equally spaced from one another on the color wheel. Primary Color Triad, Secondary Color Triad and 2 different Tertiary Color Triads. Red Yellow and Blue are the Primary Color Triad.

“Broadway Boogie Woogie” Piet Mondrrian (Red, Yellow and Blue)

Analogous Colors – Colors that are side by side by side on the color wheel that share a common hue. Yellow – green, yellow, yellow orange, orange are examples.

“Sunset at the Cliff in Etretat” Claude Monet Analogous: Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green) – (except for the sun)

Warm Colors – Hues that remind one of warm things such as the sun, fire, hot coals, stove-tops  – These colors tend to move forward in the picture plane. The warm colors are: Red-violet, red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, and yellow.

Helen Frankenthaler – Warm Colors

Cool Colors – Hues that remind one of cool things such as the grass on a summer day, reflection of the sky on snow, cool dips in the pool on a hot summer day. These colors tend to move backward in the picture plane. The warm colors are: Yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, and violet.

Interior with Book – Richard Diebenkorn

Tetradic Color Schemes: Pairs of Complementary Colors – Can be SQUARE or RECTANGULAR.

Van Gogh – Again – Still Life in Tetradic colors (Oranges, Greens, Blues, and Reds)
Color SQUARE: Four Colors evenly spaced on the color wheel.
Color RECTANGLE: Two colors side by side and their compliments OR two colors (with a color between them) and their compliments.

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