Tuesday, 20 September 2011


We have just looked at the colour wheel.  In this blog are notes and images from the lesson.  During the lesson we laid thick opaque paint in Newton's Colour Wheel and thin watery translucent paint in boxes beside it. In the wheel and the boxes we have painted 3 Primary Colours (Red, Yellow and Blue)  then mixed those colours to make three 3 Secondary Colours (Orange, Green and finally Purple).  We have then mixed those secondary colour with the colours either side of them on the wheel to make our 6 Tertiary Colours.
The wheel can now help in grouping colours together.  Harmonious Colours can be seen next to each other and Complimentary Colour opposite.
  • If the Complimentary (opposite) colour to blue is orange, what is the complimentary colour to red and Yellow? Record this on your colour sheets 
 The colour wheel was originally devised by Sir Isaac Newton, he of apple on the head fame. There are more contemporary colour wheels, predominately the wheel produced by Johannes Itten, who taught at the Bauhaus School (Germany) in the early to mid 1900’s. The colour wheel contains all the colours in the colour spectrum. The colour spectrum is made by passing light through a prism, the light divides into bands of colour, from purple, through blue, to green, yellow, orange and then to red. Newton then turned the flat lin spectrum into a circle. The circle then makes it easy to read the colours and how the two sides of the wheel contrast.

During the lesson we looked at artists that have used colour in their work. The use of colour has been used to maybe express an emotion.
Patrick Heron (monochrome colour)
Anish Kapoor (vibrant sculptures)
Pablo Picasso (early blue period)
Tony Cragg (found objects)
Other artists to look at would be Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Andre Durain, Vincent Van Gogh, Louis Anquetin.
  • Choose an artist and think about: How does the artist use colour? Is it harmonious, or primary or complementary colour? If the colour expresses an emotion, what emotion is it?
The websites of the Tate Gallery , Royal Academy and the BBC Paintings website may help you.

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