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Lesson 13

Color Theory

Its beneficial to know color theory because it applies to all mediums whether fabric art, mosaics, or computers.
Theory cant replace play. Everyone has their own way of working with color.
There is not only one way to understand or approach the subject of color in art. And it is not wrong to
bypass theory altogether and work intuitively with color, never learning about why colors behave the way
they do. In fact for some people, knowing more theory can potentially cause anxiety or be a hindrance to the
creative process. But it is my observation that far more often, people who learn a few fundamentals experience whole worlds opening up to them in their art-making choices-- not only as one who creates, but also as
someone developing an ever-deepening appreciation for the colors around them.
So... know yourself. If the information in this lesson hinders rather than helps, then stop.
Think about the colors of your own emotional and spiritual experiences.
Not surprisingly, there is not just one way to understand or approach the subject of color in emotions. What
emotions you feel when looking at a given piece of art that is colorful? What about colorless? Monochromatic
(one color)? Muted?
Color can be a potential starting point for responding to an originator of artwork, and cause you to tune in
to the way you might feel about certain colors. Being aware of triggers or associations you may have yourself,
make sure to stay out of the way when helping others navigate through their own sensitive, meaningful associations of color. Different colors have distinctly different meanings for various people, cultures, and time periods.
As weve seen in our lesson on Art & Healing, color often reflects the unconscious mind and emotional experiences, as well as a persons inner needs and wishes. Color can be thought of as a mirror, reflecting the emotions
held by the artist. Colors can represent much more than what meets the eye, regardless of an artists ability or
willingness to verbalize a deeper meaning. Consider the experience of color another holy moment, a God-opportunity in which ministry can occur.

Lesson 13

Color Theory

Materials needed if you are painting along with this demo:


watercolor or acrylic paint, thinned down and mixed well to a drippy, inky consistency (no gobs or chunks)
Well be using the 3 primary colors only:
a plain red thats not leaning toward orange (alizirin crimson or magenta work well; dont use cadmium red)
a plain yellow thats not leaning toward gold or orange (gambouge works well, or lemon yellow)
a plain blue thats not leaning toward purple (phthalo blue or cerulean work well; dont use ultramarine blue)
In this exercise we are not using tubes or cakes of any secondary colors (orange, green, or violet/purple). We
will be mixing those colors ourselves during the video. To make any color lighter, add more water.
Other supplies:
a palette with wells or wax paper plates
a brush
a water container
watercolor paper: I recommend a sheet of any kind of Arches paper, around $7 for a 22x30 sheet which
youll tear up into smaller pieces, and I show you how in the video. Or you can buy a pad of cheap watercolor
paper, or even use white card stock, but Arches paper is MUCH more fun!
Some terms:
analogous - using a few colors right next to each other on the color wheel.
complementary - using colors directly across from each other.
monochromatic - using only one color, lightening with water or white, and
darkening with black.
tertiary colors - the colors between each primary and secondary color (say
the primary color name first): red-orange, yellow-orange, blue-green, etc.
Tertiary colors have complementary partners, too -- use it like a game spinner and youll see the 3 tertiary complementary pairs: Red-orange (rust) and
blue-green (teal)... Yellow-orange (mac-and-cheese) and blue-violet (indigo)
... and Red-violet (maroon) and yellow-green (lime) are complements.

Talk to the Lord about color.


Pray. Ask God what color means to Him, for you, at this time.