Schaghticoke students learn Basic Color Theory

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

NEW MILFORD — Students at Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford are learning Basic Color Theory.

Students learned about the color wheel, which was invented in 1666 by Isaac Newton. This is a map of the color spectrum overlaid onto a circle that shows the relationship between colors. In art class, students explored components of basic color theory through the study of the color wheel, according to Coleen Boland, who teaches art at the school.

The color wheel can be divided into primary, secondary and tertiary colors. It can also

be divided into warm and cool colors.

Complementary colors are two colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. This pairing provides a high contrast and high impact color combination - together, these colors will appear brighter and more prominent. Often, school colors are complimentary pairs, according to Boland.

“As students continue to study color theory, they learn to mix tints, shades, and tones of color as well as explore the qualities of monochromatic work,” she said.

A tint is created by adding white to a base hue (color), lightening the color. This can make a color less intense and is useful when balancing more vivid color combinations, Boland said.

A shade is created by adding black to a base hue, darkening the color. This creates a deeper, richer color. “Shades can be quite dramatic but also can be overpowering,” she said.

A tone is created by combining black and white — or grey — with a base hue. Tones are subtler or duller versions of the original color.

In monochromatic (one color) work, students create a composition using only one color, black, and white. The work usually consists of all three variations of the one color (tint, shade, and tone).