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Colour Theory Exercises (Week One)

Week One looks at colour theory: 3-primary colours, 6-primary colours, neutrals, and coloured greys. The practical resources (exercises) are shown below so learners can complete their tasks at home and refer to in support of their future projects.

Colour Wheels (3/6 primaries)
Core Task: study, blend, test and paint two colour wheels (primary and secondary colours only) as shown below (top - 3 primaries, lower 6 primaries - warm and cold). NB note the named colours on the lower wheel apply to paint rather than pastel but may help you in choosing which pastels are cold and which are hot:

Core Task: from the upper colour wheel mix the inner segments which are the six neutrals*. These combine a primary and a secondary (by blending together the opposite colours - orange and blue, yellow and violet, red and green). To vary the opposite neutrals, mix slightly more of the nearest colour e.g. in the blue-orange mixtures, to get two different neutrals the segment near to the primary blue has slightly more blue added in the mix and for the one near the orange needs an orange bias in the mixture. 

NB:  you will need to experiment with the order in which you blend the colours to alter the colour bias or weight yellow-orange, red-orange and so on. For example, by laying yellow first then red on top will give you a red bias (a red-orange) whereas laying red first followed by yellow on top will give a yellow bias (a yellow-orange) to the secondary colour (orange) produced.

*A pure neutral is made of equal amounts of the constituent colours e.g. 50% blue and 50% orange (with secondaries also consisting of 50-50 mixes, so 50% yellow and 50% red, 50% blue and 50% red, 50% blue, 50% yellow)

Extension Task: mix a range of coloured greys. Coloured greys are probably the type of colours you will mix most often. These are not pure neutrals as the mixture of primary to secondary varies e.g. 90% blue and 10% orange, 20% yellow and 80% violet and so on. Draw a grid like below and paint the 3 primary colours at the top and the 3 secondaries at the bottom. Then blend the two opposites (also called complementary colours) in varying amounts. The more cells in the grid the better. However many you have in your grid, the middle line will be 50% primary and 50% secondary.  

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