Beginner Art · Colour · Painting · Resources and Materials

What is the Colour Wheel?

You may remember the colour wheel from school?  It is time to revisit the colour wheel if you would like to master colour. Colour is a big part of learning to paint and understanding the colour wheel is the first stage of colour theory.

The colour wheel shows the relationship between primary, secondary and tertiary colours. What are primary, secondary and tertiary colours?

Red, yellow and blue are primary colours, and can not be made from any other colours.

Secondary colours are made from the primary colours mixed together:

Red + Yellow = Orange

Red + Blue = Purple

Blue + Yellow = Green

Tertiary colours are made from a primary and a secondary colour e.g. Red + Orange

The Colour Wheel – a useful tool for artists

Once you understand the colour wheel you will be able to mix colours and this is an important skill for painting.  Rather than reach for the tube of purple paint which will give you one hue you can mix a range of purples by mixing blues and reds.  One common issue with beginner’s work is that the colours are not varied enough, there is often one flesh tone or one purple when in real life we would see lots of different flesh tones or purples.

One you understand how to mix colours you will know how colour is made up and therefore you can add more yellow, blue etc. if you know that is needed.

Colour Mixing
Colour Mixing – an important skill for painting

For more advice see my post What are Colour Relationships?

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