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Color Theory: Studying The World Of Color With Isabella Kung

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Step 2: Temperature In Color Theory – Warm Vs Cool Colors


There are temperatures to consider in color theory: warm and cool. This depends on a color’s “feeling”, which means warm colors usually include reds, oranges, and yellows. Cool colors are often blues, greens, and violets. However, this is only a general rule of thumb, as each color also has a warm and a cool tone. You’ll find cool reds (e.g. Alizarin Crimson) or warm blues (e.g. Ultramarine) in many paintings, which gives color a greater sense of depth and nuance.

When mixing warm colors, they tend to be more translucent than transparent. This is because they’re made out of organic minerals, which makes them chalkier than cool colors. Cool colors are often made from chemicals, which makes them look more transparent and clean-looking.

There are no real rules when mixing together warm and cool colors. However, some colors are not meant to be mixed together since they can become pasty, muddy, or even distracting. This is why many artists choose to limit their palette in each painting, also known as using “color schemes”.