Last time I began by showing you some of my favourite holiday photos and images. Our next port of call is some colour theory and – although it’s going to get a bit technical here – I find this stuff really useful.
Every colour lesson begins with the colour wheel and there are many different versions. Here’s a simple one from WetCanvas. Doesn’t it just make your heart sing? Or maybe that’s just me…
I find it extremely valuable to be able to name these basic colours:
If you close your eyes, can you picture the difference between orange and red-orange? Green and yellow-green?
Did you know that the human eye can detect up to 10 million colours? They are variations of the basic colours shown above with differing saturation (i.e. purity – brightness or dullness) and value (i.e. intensity – lightness or darkness). Each wedge of the next colour wheel shows some of these variations. I own one of these colour wheels and I love it!
If we just take red as an example, we can see all the variations of saturation and value in the diagram below:
I’m sure you can name many of these colours: shell pink, watermelon, burgundy… and they are all variations of red.
Furthermore, every colour has warm and cool variations. Even though green is usually described as a cool colour there are definitely warm versions of it, as shown in the right hand column below.
We have now developed a really good language for talking about colours. Looking back at the start of this post I’m sure you can now see that I chose red cushions that vary in saturation and value but are basically all red. And don’t they look great?
Try to analyse the colours you see around you to practise using this colour language. Perhaps look to nature and the human environment around you. You could analyse rooms, art and textiles you like. Maybe do a design in a single colour like I did? (and send it to me!).
I recommend that you take each and every chance to build up those colour muscles: you’re going to need them as we continue our journey together!