How to make your own color wheel
by Ruth Read
This is a copy of something a teacher gave me about 15 years ago. I am not sure but I think it was from a gallery where I sold my paintings. I think that teacher moved to Florida. Not sure where she is at this time. Their is no name on this so I am not sure where she got it from.
How to make a Color wheel
Begin your color study by creating a color wheel. Use a canvas sheet. The paints you will need are:
- Lemon Yellow
- True Red, Not a cadmium Red, but something closer to magenta
- True Blue, Blue like Ultramarine Blue
These colors are called your Primary Colors.
Remember, when mixing colors begin with the lightest color first, then, Little by Little, add the second color.
An example is, when making orange, start with a small amount of yellow and then add a speck of red, mix, check the color and then add another speck of
red until the right hue is achieved.
Colors made from mixing two Primary Colors (in just about equal amounts) are called Secondary Colors.
A Secondary Color mixed with one of the Primary Colors contained within it is called a Tertiary Color.
If you mix all three Primary Colors together in the center of the wheel, you should get a neutral, tan-like color.
Use small soft brushes and be careful to clean them thoroughly before mixing another color.
Now study the commercial color wheel. Notice that colors opposite each other are called Complementary Colors. Not only are they considered to make aesthetically pleasing combinations, but when you mix a color with it’s complement, you get a neutral color that can be used for shadows and deep shade areas.
Try this for yourself on the canvas sheet. Mix the following Complementary Colors:
- Orange and Blue
- Yellow and Violet
- Green and Red
- Blue-violet and Yellow-orange
- Red-violet and Yellow-green
- Blue-Green and Red-Orange
There are some colors that are hard to mix because they are made from earth originally specific to a few places in Italy. They are Raw and Burnt Sienna, Raw and Burnt Umber, and Yellow Ochre.
As you observe Nature carefully, you will see that her colors are never solid or flat. They are luminous, catching reflections of light and they are usually a mixture of colors. You can see, for instance, the blue in a deep red rose; the green in the yellow of the lemon; the many colors hidden in the brown of the tree trunk, and the green, blue, even purple, in the ocean.
Now look for the earth colors in everything and use them to tone down the chemical colors for a more natural effect.
Other helpful links on how to make your own color wheel:
- 4096 Color Wheel
Hover over the wheel to view colors. Click to choose a web-smart color. Hover over the square to change saturation (left to right) and value (bottom to top) of the last hue.
- Color Matters – Design and Art – Color Theory
Sir Isaac Newton developed the first circular diagram of colors in 1666. Since then scientists and artists have studied and designed numerous variations of this concept. Differences of opinion about the validity of one format over another continue to provoke debate. In reality, any color circle or color wheel which presents a logically arranged sequence of pure hues has merit.
- Color Wheel or Color Circle on Wikipedia
- Interactive Color Wheel
Experiment with saturation, intensity, hue, and luma.
- Color Black by Ruth Read
Some artists like to use color black straight from the tub. That is ok, however, you can really spice it up if you add or mix in a few other colors such as for black hair, or shading you might try burnt umber or Vandyke brown.
- Colors in Nature and Meaning of Colors I (featuring Blue, Green, Turquoise, and Silver color)
- Colors in Nature and Meaning of Colors II (featuring Red, Pink, Yellow, and Gold color)
- Colors in Nature and Meaning of Colors III (featuring Orange, Purple, Lavender, and Black color)
- Colors in Nature and Meaning of Colors IV (featuring Grey, White, Ivory and Brown color)
- Tips for Using a Color Wheel to Select Perennials (brighthub.com)
- History of Color Theory (brighthub.com)
- Speaking about color: hue, value, saturation, chroma, shade, tint, tone (landor.com)