My musings. Possibly, background information about my life and some over sharing.

Color Intro

| 28 January, 2014 21:32


Color is a direct way to express emotion in artmaking. The expressionists are known as the first to reject realism and embrace emotion in the way they used color. They used colors that 'felt right' and not the colors that are supposed or typically used to portray, say, an apple, for instance.   


It is sometimes said that the self-trained artist uses color naively or intutitively and I am slightly offended by this supposition. I believe that we are all self-trained artists. You don't go to school forever nor do you always have someone over your shoulder watching and instructing you throughout  you art career. At some point you take your coloring mechanism in your own hands and check it out--for yourself. This is the time to do that-take color in your own hands. 


This lesson is fairly free flowing and I will not make you study the color wheel just yet and I may never even bring it up again (fat chance) but I request only one thing before you practice this introduction lesson. Buy yourself a 24 pack of colors--either colored pencils or oil pastels. 


Materials needed: 

24 pack of colored pencils 

Large piece of paper

a room where you can turn the lights down but not all the way off


READY? ....


Take your package of colors and dump them out of the container they are in. Try not to let them roll all over the place and/or get lost. You will need each one of them. 




there are three terms that you will need to understand: 

1. Hue - the name given to a color: blue, green, yellow

2. Value - the lightness or darkness of a color

3. Intensity - the saturation, strength or purity of a color


These are each important terms that play a part individually allowing us to speak about color effectively with one another. But the most important for an introduction lesson in color is VALUE. 


 Your exercise for this lesson is to arrange the 24 colors by value. Let me put this into persepctive for you. We all know of ROYGBV but ROYGBV is a very general arrangement of the intensity of color. It is difficult to separate value and intensity at times, but, for this exercise you must. You will need to arrange the colors from light to dark. 


First, throw out the black and the white if there is one in the pack. 


Second, go by the color of the actual material (colored pencil or oil pastels) and not the color of the wrapper or coating on the outside. You can test the color on the large piece of paper to see the color if it is unclear or if you are too distracted by the outside wrapping. 


Third, sometimes it is easier to have ambient light while doing this exercise. Turn down the lights so that color seems to be removed from the coloring utensils and rather you can see its value, how light or dark each one is. 




Arrange these colors from light to dark. There is no right or wrong answer but the answer is not ROYGBV especially not in a 24 pack of colors. This exercise should have you really thinking through whether brown has a darker or lighter value than navy blue AND whether pale pink is the first on the lightest end of the spectrum or is it yellow. Ponder these, use the large paper as scratch paper to test your assumptions. 


Once you have moved the colors around until you are satisfied that you have them arranged from the lightest to the darkest and there is very little resemblance of the ROYGBV order in the arrangement give yourself a pat on the back. 


Now draw something; anything. Maybe draw a rainbow delineating the lightest to darkest order you have created.