Color Rules

It does, absolutely supremely, but there are NO rules, no formulas no tricks. There is intention, getting color to say what you want it to say. Color is extremely personal and the more you develop your own color sense in your work, the more distinct your work will be.

For some, understanding color theory helps, for others it is confusing. I believe that the two best ways to learn about color are:
1. Working with color, playing and experimenting with it.
2. Observing color in the natural world. Constantly look and analyze the colors of the natural world. Look at the shadow of tree in a field, what is the value (dark or light) what is its temperature, is it bluish red, greenish purple??? Study nature.

There are a few basic dynamics to help frame your investigations into color:
• Relativity. Color is created by the context it resides in. The same red ball looks very different on a sunny green lawn than on an orange comforter in a dark room. The light environment and the surrounding colors define color.

• Complementary Colors. These are colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. The most obvious examples: red and green; blue and orange, purple yellow. Complementary colors love each other so much that if you have one without the other your eye fills in the missing color. The colors in the natural world are almost always a combination of complementary colors. How can you tell real grass from astro turf? Greens in nature usually have some red in them. Pay attention to complementary colors, they are dynamic.

• Temperature. Color elicits a sense of heat or lack of it. This is not a vague thing but a distinct effect. Blues generally cool, orange generally hot. There are infinite subtleties and an awareness and intentional use of these can be very powerful.

• Value of course. Our first visual experiences consist of reading darks and lights. Value is primary and extremely important; light and dark colors can expand and diminish space.

• Culture. Learn as much as you can about the meanings of color in cultures other than your own. Color is like food and tasting what is available from other worlds is not only delightful, it expands your imagination and abilities.