Color: a phenomenon of light or visual perception that enables one to differentiate other-wise identical objects.
Now, forget about the definition. color is a product of light. Our ultimate source of light is the sun. When the sun shines on an object, it sends light rays towards that object. These light rays contain all colors. We can see the different colors in the form of a rainbow. A rainbow is simply a ray of light broken into smaller pieces (colors) by a prism (usually a raindrop). (bring a prism to class)
A rainbow's colors always appear in the same order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet (purple). A good way to remember the order of these colors is to think of a guy named:
ROY B. BIV
The color of an object is really light reflected, or bounced off its surface. For instance, if you see a read flower, the flower is absorbing all other colors except red. The red light is reflected into your eye, and that's what you see.
Objects that are WHITE reflect all light (all colors combined).
Objects that are BLACK absorb all light (absence of color).
THE COLOR WHEEL
There are three main types of colors: Primary, secondary, and tertiary.
1. Primary colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue. All colors on the color wheel are made up by mixing different amounts of the primary colors. Primary colors can NOT be made by mixing any other colors.
2. Secondary colors: These colors are created by mixing two primary colors in equal amounts. Orange (red + yellow), Green (yellow + blue), and Violet (Purple) (blue + red).
3. Tertiary colors: are made by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. There are six of these colors: yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange, and yellow-orange (see color wheel above).
Warm vs. Cool
The colors are the color wheel relate to each other in different ways.
1. Analogous colors: are next to each other on the color wheel. They are usually in groups of threes and have a color in common. For example, blue, blue-violet, and violet all have the color blue in common.
2. Complementary colors: are directly opposite each other on the color wheel:
a. Red to Green
b. Yellow to Purple
c. Blue to Orange
d. White to Black (not on color wheel, but still opposites)
When complements are mixed together, they make a neutral gray or brown. When used next to each other in a painting, they create a strong contrast (see post "Principles of Art -Contrast").
3. Hue: another name for color. It's the name that identifies what the color is, such as red or blue.
4. Tint: a lighter value of a pure color, usually made by adding white. For example, pink is a tint of red.
5. Shade: a darker value of a color, usually made by adding black.
6. Neutral: a color not associated with a hue - such as black, white, or gray (sometimes brown). They are called neutral because they can be combined next to other hues and create pleasing color schemes.