Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Primer on Color (Part 1)

I may have mentioned a time (or couple of dozen) that I am kinda cheap frugal. One of my favorite things to  save money on is paint. Not necessarily buying the inferior cheap-o crappola, but to buy the mis-tints  (also known as Oops paint) at a wallet friendly price. I have been buying mis-tints for about 20 years--way before it was green or popularly frugal to do so. I have no ideal what I am gonna find but I always love what I end up with. I worked for some time in the cosmetics industry doing color matching which helps me envision what the final color will be when I am mixing paints. You don't need a Chemistry degree to mix paints but sometimes people aren't sure on what to mix. We will begin with the basic understanding of the color wheel. 

Color is a general term and encompasses all variations we can see. Color is evaluated by 4 factors. Hue, Tint, Shade and Tone. 

Let's begin with the color wheel.

Primary Color 
Often referred to as True or Parent color.

Secondary Color
Mixtures of the Primary Colors are called children and become the Secondary Color's.

Red + Yellow=Orange
Yellow + Blue=Green
Blue + Red=Purple/Violet


Tertiary Color
Mixture of the Primary and Secondary Colors become Tertiary Color's

Yellow + Green= Yellow-Green
Blue + Green= Blue-Green
Blue + Purple=Blue-Purple
Red + Purple=Red-Purple
Orange + Red=Orange-Red
Yellow + Orange=Yellow Orange



From the 3 colors we now have 12 Hues!
Hues have the brightest and truest color and covers the full spectrum.


If you begin adding white to these hues you will end with pastels or TINTS.


If you were to add black to any of the hues you will end up with nice jewel tones or  SHADES.


Now, if you were to add both white and black to the HUES, you will end up with TONES. A tone is any color that is greyed down. These are popular colors!
For additional information http://www.color-wheel-artist.com

If  we were to stop here that would only gives us 48 colors. Go to any display at a paint store and you know there are more than 48 colors. By adding the Hues, Tints and Shades in various ratios you will end up with a substantial number of Tones.  The standard (or reference) in color is the Pantone Color chart. Most people will know this only as a color deck.

Add to these formula's metallic's, pearls, and mica's and you expand realm of color even further.  Currently it is believed there are approximately 1100 color variations. So if you you are overwhelmed picking a paint color for your foyer , it is completely understandable!

I guess that is enough with the science lesson for today. 

In a follow up post I will discuss some aspects of mixing the paint, characteristics and have a demonstration for mixing the mis-tints.

1 comment:

  1. Having just started painting (pictures, not walls) I find it fascinating how colors combine. Amazing that you can start out with so few colors and end up with such variety.

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