For more in depth colour theory see my workshop on COLOURS AND VALUES. This was presented as an online workshop and will soon be available on DVD as the complete course.
A colour wheel is a circle of hues based on Isaac Newton’s light spectrum and hue circle. In the eighteenth century color theorists substituted paint mixtures for the colors of light and in the early 1900s Albert Munsell created a three dimensional breakdown of colour that is the basis for today’s colour wheels.
But not all colour wheels are created equal. They all show three primary colours – a red, yellow and blue, with secondary and tertiary colours in between.
But what if the three primary colours are not the correct red, yellow and blue? For example, the traditional colour wheel gives a warm red. From this you can’t mix a nice purple because a warm red has yellow in it. Other mixes from these primaries don’t work too well either. In addition, the complimentary colours end up in the wrong position on the wheel.
I spent many years wondering why colour wheels gave the incorrect primary colours. I would second guess myself and wonder if I had it wrong. But I knew that the correct primary colours are Primary Yellow (Hansa Yellow Light), Permanent Rose and Pthalo Blue. They really are! So I made my own colour wheel using the correct primary colours and from those colours could mix anything I wanted.
Then, in 1989, artist Stephen Quiller came up with a fabulous colour wheel. Not only is it based on the correct three primary colours but it also gives the placement of over 70 tube colours. This is the colour wheel that I now use.
The other useful colour wheel is the CMY wheel, based on Cyan, magenta and Yellow. I use this when I am painting abstracts and using the Golden fluid paints. These are available in Primary Cyan, Primary Magenta and Primary Yellow.
With a good colour wheel you will be all set to plan your colour schemes and get painting!
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For Marianne painting is a celebration of the endless beauty to be found in the natural world and an expression of my concern for its preservation. Her hope is that her work will inspire in the viewer an appreciation of nature’s gifts and contribute to a greater collective environmental consciousness so that we may tread lightly on this earth of ours.
All images are Copyright (©) 2003-2021 Marianne Broome and may not be used for any purpose without her express permission.