Smashing Color

with Maggie Maggio

The Complement of Blue is . . .

Orange?  Yellow?  It depends? There are two Holy Grails in color study. Perfect primaries and exact complements. After years of searching for both, I have come to the conclusion that perfect primaries do not exist and  exact complements do not matter. Expand the range of the traditional pairs and you have a good enough guide: […]

Color Blind Relativity

On the left is a color pyramid the way I see it. On the right is the same triangle the way my next door neighbor Steve sees it. Steve is red/green color blind. When I asked him what it is like to be color blind he said, “See that bush with flowers. They are pink, […]

Color Name Matching Game

The Name That Color site reminded me of a game I sometimes use in workshops to jumpstart a discussion about naming colors. Its looks like a quiz so it might trigger some test anxiety. Don’t fret. I included an answer key. Try to fill in the blanks before looking at the answers. Its not too hard once you get started. Since […]

Name That Color

Chirag-Mehta has done an amazing amount of research trying to pin down some common names for colors. Name That Color allows you to pick a hue and then play with all the variations to see what names come up. Its fun! The diagram you will use to select the colors is based on the HSL color space.    Thanks […]

Seeing Values

Value is the most difficult of the three properties of color to see correctly. Hue is very easy – we are used to putting colors into their family groups.  Saturation is easy once you get the hang of it – colors are clear, muted, or muddy. But value often stumps us. Color theory books traditionally illustrate a value […]

Smashing Color # 8: Complements are NOT Set in Stone

Complementary colors are shown opposite each other on most color wheels, but what is often missing is the neutral color in the center. There are at least four variations of complementary color wheels, each with a different neutral color in the center. Wheel #1: Spectral Complements Spectral complements mix to make white light. The value […]

Fuchsia and Magenta

In Monday’s tutorial I mislabeled Fuchsia. On the right side of the chart I called it Magenta. Thank you to Judy Reese in Washington for raising her virtual hand to ask the obvious question. Where do I find Premo Magenta? Ah. There is no such thing as Premo Magenta – just lots of confusion because I used […]

Kule Color Sites

I am busy tonight trying to get photos and handouts up for yesterday’s test mixing tutorial. I hope to add them tomorrow. In the meantime . . . Lots of you emailed me about “Kuler” –  Adobe’s fantastic new site for playing with color. I was planning to save it for when we study Hue Harmonies and color […]

Smashing Color Theory #5: Black is NOT in the Middle

Traditional theory says R+Y+B =Black, and Modern Theory says C+M+Y=Black. Reality is Three Primaries = MUD. I define MUD as the color you get when you mix primaries in equal amounts. Depending on which primaries you pick MUD can be many colors. Traditional MUD If you have been mixing colors using the traditional Red, Yellow, […]

Launch 1 December 2006

For the last twelve years I have been teaching color workshops. I started out teaching traditional color theory to polymer artists. I did what most color books do – I just rehashed the standard stuff. Students struggled and I went back to my studio thinking something is wrong. So I experimented and taught some more. […]