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A Simple Guide to Mastering Colour: For Artists and Art Teachers

Mastering Colour: A Guide for Artists and Art Teachers:
Mastering Colour: A Guide for Artists and Art Teachers:

Mastering Colour: A Guide for Artists and Art Teachers:

Understanding colour is an essential skill for artists, and organising colours effectively can significantly enhance your artistic journey. In this guide, we'll delve into the organisation of colour, drawing from the insights of Albert A. Munsell, whose system revolutionised colour study.

The Munsell System:

In 1898, Albert A. Munsell devised a groundbreaking colour charting system, building upon Isaac Newton's discoveries. This system not only allows us to perceive colours but also enables us to utilise them for planning, mixing, and more. The Munsell System, widely accepted worldwide, forms the basis for numerous colour organisation methods.

Three Key Qualities of Colour:

Before diving into the intricacies of colour organisation, it's crucial to grasp three fundamental qualities of colour: name, value, and intensity.

  1. Name: The name of a colour distinguishes it from others, providing a common language for artists.

  2. Value: The lightness or darkness of a colour is paramount. Incorrect values can undermine the entire colour composition.

  3. Intensity: This refers to the purity or strength of a colour. Mixing colours alters intensity, influencing the overall visual impact.


We hear a lot about Hue, what is it?

Hue, the first dimension of colour, encompasses the colours around the wheel. To begin our study, let's create a colour wheel of our own, an indispensable tool for understanding colour relationships.

The primary colours
The primary colours

Primary Colours: 

The primary colours—cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium Red Light, and Ultramarine Blue—form the foundation of colour mixing.  They cannot be obtained by mixing other colours and are essential for creating a diverse colour palette.

Secondary Colours:   Mixing two primary colours creates secondary colours.
Secondary Colours:

Secondary Colours:

Mixing two primary colours creates secondary colours. Lemon Yellow and Cerulean Blue combine to produce green, while Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson create purple, and so forth.

Tertiary Colours:
Tertiary Colours:

Tertiary Colours:

Tertiary colours emerge from the mixing of a primary and a secondary colour together. For instance, mixing yellow and green results in yellow-green. Completing the colour wheel involves gradually blending these colours, creating a comprehensive visual representation of colour relationships.

Mastering the organisation of colour is an ongoing journey, but understanding its foundational principles equips artists with the tools to express themselves effectively. By embracing the insights of the Munsell System and exploring the nuances of hue, value, and intensity, artists can unlock endless possibilities in their creative endeavours.

Next we will look at warm and cool colours:


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