Growing up I have always had a fascination and love of colour. I’m drawn to colour in all forms of design, especially textiles, graphic and fashion. Being my first blog post I wanted to dedicate it to this all encompassing element of design that effects the way in which we view our world. This is the first post in a series called Colour Series. In this series I will address everything from how to Create A Mood With Colour through to how to Use Colour To Create Different Interior Styles. But let’s start with the very basic, and let me introduce you to my friend, the colour wheel.
The colour wheel is a great starting point for understanding the rules about colour and is one of the most useful tool when it comes to art or design. Working as a colour consultant and interior decorator, although I intuitively understand colour combinations, I still sometimes rely on these rules to develop schemes that work and make rooms and spaces look visually attractive.
The fundamentals of colour theory are based on the colour wheel above. Do you remember learning in art class at school what the primary colours were? Well they are red, yellow and blue, they are called primary colours as they cannot be produced by mixing any other colours together. The secondary colours of green, purple and orange are made by mixing the primaries – red and yellow to make orange; blue and yellow to make green; and red and blue to make purple. Colours become interesting when you mix just a small amount of one colour with more of another. For example, yellow and blue make green but if you just add the smallest touch of blue to the yellow, you will create a really striking cool yellow with just a hint of green. If you mix in a lot more blue you will have turquoise that is just bordering on being completely blue.
Tertiary colours are made by intermixing the secondary colours. As an interior decorators, I love these as they become muted, more subtle and easy to work with. The mixing process is referred to as subtractive colour. If you start with a colour, for example red, and then mix it with other colours, you are taking away part of the original one. If you mix a colour with its complementary (the one directly opposite on the colour wheel), each colour will have some of its origin taken away until you end up with a form of brown. If you mix all of the paint colours in the wheel together, you will end up with black.
You can also tint each colour with white to make it progressively lighter or add grey, black or the colour’s complementary to create a shade. You don’t need to remember all this theory to make attractive schemes but it is useful to understand it when trying to figure out why some colours you’ve selected for your room don’t look good together.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the colour wheel, it is such handy tool to use when you’re stuck and need help deciding on a beautiful colour scheme for your interior decorating project. Join me next time when I’ll be be discussing the types of colour schemes that can be created using the colour wheel, as well as give you examples of these applied in interior spaces.
Whether it be for your art project, scrapbooking, or home decorating, let me know if you still refer to the colour wheel for your projects.