“Color is the most relative medium in art.”  Chapter IV, Interaction of Color

The first exercise is to make one color look like two. Start by downloading and printing a copy of the PDF Templates for Albers Color Studies.

Cut out the template you want to use, or make a custom one for yourself. You can use any size cutter for the center – just check to be sure to make the background on all sides of the center hole at least double the size of the center

  • Cut two 1/4 oz pieces of green, yellow, red, blue, purple, magenta, white, brown and black.
Note: If you don’t have these colors you can use any colors in the same family for this exercise.



  • Keep one piece of each color to use straight out of the package.  Use bits of the other colors to make the second pieces into a tint, shade or tone of the package color.
  • The variations are to the left of the package colors.



  • Sheet out each of the colors and smooth them onto heavy paper or card stock.
  • Place the template on each sheet and cut out the swatch and center. Then cut a second center.
  • You will need one swatch and two centers of each color.

  • After all the color swatches are cut, bake them for 30 minutes, on the card stock, according to manufacturer”s instructions.
  • Remove them from the paper after taking them out of the oven.

  • Pick two colors of swatches and put the same color in the center.
  • Does the center color shift? How much?
  • Play around with different combinations.
  • Which colors exert influence – make colors shift?
  • Which colors accept influence – shift easily.
  • Using your observations, make a few color combinations that maximize the shift.
TIP: In Albers’ classes the students put up their assignments and everyone evaluated them together. The students learned by looking at each others color choices which kinds of combinations shift the most and which kind show no shift at all.  If you have someone to do these exercises with – or someone to show them to – that would give you someone to bounce your trial and errors off.