Color is one of the main tools in the hands of an artist. He is able to express and create emotions, construct his own reality and simulate the space inside the picture plane. The human perception of the shape and chiaroscuro of an object directly depends on how its surface is colored. The feeling of beauty and attractiveness of something is also formed due to the sense of color. Understanding the basics of color, the ability to choose the right color combination for the project and various shades is an important skill for a designer, architect or stylist.
Chromatic and achromatic colors
All colors can be divided into two main groups: chromatic and achromatic. Three groups of receptors that are in the human eye are responsible for their perception. Each of them works with a certain range of colors: violet-blue, green-yellow and yellow-red. Since they intersect, several receptors are activated in the process. Similarly, artists mix colors forobtaining certain shades of paint. Chromatic are spectral or saturated shades. To represent them, a special tool is used - a color wheel. It serves to represent the light spectrum form and represents different color patterns. The use of the color wheel facilitates the search for harmonious color combinations and is actively used in art and design. To understand how to get colors when mixing paints, artists must make a detailed circular diagram before work. Achromatic colors are white, black and all shades of gray. The human eye is able to perceive about 300 shades of achromatic and several thousand chromatic shades.
Primary and secondary colors
There are three primary colors in the spectrum: red, yellow and blue, which cannot be obtained by mixing the rest. In the color wheel, they are considered primary and serve as the basis for the rest of the chromatic scale. There are also secondary colors or composite colors obtained by mixing the colors of the main group:
- orange can be made from red and yellow;
- green - from blue and yellow;
- purple - from blue and red.
To get brown by mixing paint colors, first you need to take yellow and blue to get green, and then add red.
To correct and get the desired shade, just add green or red. Secondary colors on the color wheel are located betweenbasic. There is a third group - complex colors, which are formed by mixing colors from the main and secondary groups:
On the color wheel, they are between primary and secondary, which is why they are also called tertiary. Red and yellow, blue and orange, purple and yellow are opposite each other on it - these are complementary colors that enhance and balance each other.
Basic color characteristics: tone
In order to understand how to get colors by mixing, you need to understand their basic characteristics: hue, lightness, saturation and temperature. Tone is the quality of a color from the chromatic spectrum, which is usually indicated by its name - coral, carmine, peach. A hue is created by mixing the colors of the chromatic and achromatic groups. It can be clean or muted. A pure color is obtained by mixing with white or black, and a muted color is obtained with a gray scale.
What is lightness
Chromatic and achromatic shades affect each other in different ways. For example, when in contact with white, a new shade appears, black drowns out the tone, and gray can change the characteristics of a chromatic color. Lightness is the degree of darkening or lightening of a color. It is inherent in both color groups. It changes from yellow being the mostlight to purple being the darkest. The lightness of a hue is the amount of black or white added to the base color. It can be the same as the lightness of any chromatic color.
Saturation determines the degree of purity and intensity of a particular hue. Spectral colors have a maximum degree of saturation. The achromatic group is unsaturated colors. In the process of adding chromatic or achromatic shades, the saturation decreases and the color approaches gray. This happens when mixing colors that are opposite. A color that is weak in intensity is called neutral. If you mix opposite shades in different proportions, then the intensity will decrease, and the tone will tend to gray. With an equal proportion, a gray color is obtained.
Temperature is a concept based on human associations. Reds are considered warm and blues are considered cool. Hence the division appeared: warm shades are from purple-red to yellow-green, and cold ones are from blue-violet to blue-green. Purple and green are temperature neutral colors. According to the theory, green appears when mixing blue and yellow, and purple - when mixing colors that are as cold and warm as possible, that is, blue and red. Therefore, the less blue, the less cold the purple hue becomes, and vice versa. The achromatic group is always cold colors. Color tone,depending on the presence of warm, cold or achromatic shades in it, it can be cold, even if its “parent” is a warm tone. An example of such a color is light pink, which belongs to the cold group.
Colour Tone Map
Thus, based on the characteristics of colors, they can all be divided into 8 main groups:
- By color tone - clean and muted.
- By lightness - dark and light.
- By saturation - bright and dull.
- By temperature - cold and warm.
For convenient orientation in different shades, there are so-called color maps. Cards exist for various interior and art paints. They make it easy to compare different colors and identify their names. This is very convenient if you need to choose, for example, a certain shade for painting the walls in the house or for designing clothes.
Main shade groups
A certain manufacturer may have color options when mixing paints. On the color map, the series of tones are based on a mixture of colors from the chromatic and achromatic spectrum and are divided into the following groups:
- local - these are pure and bright, maximally saturated colors, there are no tones from the achromatic spectrum;
- strong - clean and bright, but less saturated, they have 3% gray, 50% white and black;
- bright - clean, light, bright, medium saturated, with 10% white;
- pastel - clean,light and medium saturated, 50% white;
- bleached - clean, light and minimally saturated, 90% white;
- dusty - muted, low saturated, light, 80% white and 20% black;
- soft - muted, low saturation, 70% white and 30% black;
- dull - low saturation, dark, 40% white and 60% black;
- faded - muted, medium lightness and saturation, 60% white and 40 black;
- deep - rich, clean, dark, 25% black;
- dark - clean, dark, medium saturated, 45% black;
- blackened - as dark as possible, pure and desaturated, 55% black.
Local and strong are common colors. Bright, pastel and bleached - to clean and light. Muted tones are dusty, soft, faded and dull. Pure dark tones are deep, dark and blackened. The tone of the average color depends largely on the percentage of white and black: lighter shades contain more white, and darker shades contain more black.
Mixing paint colors
Let's consider the technology of mixing paints using watercolors as an example. Before starting work, you must definitely prepare, draw up a color wheel from the palette that is in the set. To do this, take yellow, red and blue. If there are several shades of the same color in the palette, you need to choose the brightest and purest. Next, mix red and yellow to get orange and place it between them on the circle. Add more yellow to one shade and more yellow to anotherred to get different tones and place them on the circle as well. Brown is a mix of colors from the main group. If desired, you can create more different tone transitions by expanding your color wheel. Now you know how to mix colors, so repeat all the steps, combining red and blue to make purple, and then yellow and blue. This helps a lot in working with paints - focusing on the finished palette, it is easier to choose the right shade and mix them in the right proportion. Lightness in watercolor is obtained by diluting with water.
Creating your own color palette
You can use completely different colors as a basis, such as yellow, blue and crimson. In this case, you get the well-known RGB color model, which is used in TVs, tablets and monitors to create different shades. When mixing these colors, you get a bright and cheerful palette. Another option is to use black, red and yellow, you will get darker and nobler tones. Using the same approach, but combining completely different shades of base colors, you can get unusual results. Try to use muted, dark tones instead of bright yellows, reds and blues - you will get a dark color wheel, most of the shades on which will belong to the beige scale. Tones will be discreet, pleasant and natural.
Thus, artists come to understand that when buying paint of one color, you need to try mixing it with others in order to avoid unnecessary spending on expanding the palette.For example, when buying yellow, you should definitely mix it with all blue and red shades. Paint over the sheet, stretching the color as wide as possible, to the most transparent tone. Particular attention should be paid to green. The fact is that not a single paint of this color conveys the natural shade of foliage, which is so necessary for depicting vegetation. It must be muted with some shade of brown. With a palette of just 12 colors available, you can get a huge number of different shades. Try to look for new options using the available paints and apply them in your work.