Antique Sheet Music Flourishes

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Theory of Colour   

Understanding colour will give you confidence to create successful colour schemes.

Different colour schemes can alter the appearance of a rooms proportions and make the same room appear elegant, cosy, soothing, stimulating or dramatic.

Knowledge of basic principles of colour theory will enable even a novice to create colour schemes with confidence and help you in achieving the right mood and effect desired.

The Colour Wheel
A useful tool for understanding how colours relate to each other and how to combine them in schemes.  
Primary Colours
Primary colours cannot be mixed from other colours - pure red, pure yellow and pure blue - these divide the colour wheel
into three equal parts.

Secondary Colours
Secondary colours are mixed from equal amounts of two primary colours
 - pure green is made from equal amounts of yellow and blue
- violet is made from equal amounts of red and blue
- orange is made from equal amounts of red and yellow

The human eye can distinguish over 10 million different colours and every one is based on the colours of the rainbow - red, yellow, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet plus black and white.

The colour wheel was invented to demonstrate how basic colours relate to each other and how they can be combined to make other colours.

There are many intermediate colours yellow-greens, blue-greens, blue-violets and so on which are all mixed from neighbouring colours.

Contrast Colours
Direct opposites on the colour wheel e.g. red and green, yellow-orange and blue-violet.

Harmonious Colours
These lie side by side on the colour wheel and share a common base colour e.g. yellow-orange, orange and red-orange.

Pastels, Shades and Mixtures
The colour wheel is made up of pure colours (colours made from a mixture of two neighbouring colours).

Fabrics and wallcoverings are manufactured in paler (less intense) or lighter (with a mix of white - known as pastel), muted and shaded (mixture of grey or black), subtle mixes - e.g. a hint of colour from another part of the wheel is added - yellow-orange and a hint of blue.

The topic of colour is extensive and in-depth and it is my intention to break it down  into manageable chunks in separate articles.   My next topic will discuss contrasting and harmonious schemes amongst others in greater detail so watch this space.


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