Artistic Creations

A place where creativity and education meet

ROYGBIV and beyond

Everyone remembers ROYGBIV right? Well in case you forgot it is a simple trick, an acronym (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo (Blue-Violet), Violet that helps us to remember the colors, specifically those in a rainbow.  Now a rainbow only has several of the more than milions of colors we say every day that we wake up and open our eyes. Specifically the eye can perceive over 7,000,000 colors. Cool, right, but how does our eye and brain tell all of these colors apart from each other, seems like quite a job.

Well it is best summed up by this picture:

Visible light, like that which is emitted from the sun, despite being made up of all the colors of the rainbow,cannot be detected as individual colors. When colors from the visible spectrum (light) combine they make light (white light if you will). How the eye picks up color happens when the light of the sun shines on the apple, the apple which is red, absorbs all colors of the rainbow back to, EXCEPT red, which it sends back to our eye. (credit: Color Matters)

By definition: source:

” the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, 
usually determined visually bymeasurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the
reflected light; saturation or chroma; hue.”

I know your probably thinking, how does this relate to our Art Lessons in class Mr. Blais? Well, when we mix colors in class we need to know what happens when we start mixing them up. Once we understand how to mix, we can than paint anything we would like and easily start matching colors to what we see around us. The foundation of all the colors we use starts with the Primary Color Group:

  • Red (Magenta we use in class)
  • Yellow
  • Blue
From these colors we can mix them to get all other colors starting with the Secondary Group:
  • Violet (Red + Blue)
  • Green (Yellow + Blue)
  • Orange (Yellow + Red)
Lastly when we mix Primary Colors with Secondary we get Intermediate or Tertiary Colors:
  • Red-Violet (Red + Violet)
  • Blue-Violet (Blue + Violet)
  • Yellow-Green (Yellow + Green)
  • Blue-Green (Blue + Green)
  • Yellow-Orange (Yellow + Orange)
  • Red-Orange (Red + Orange)

  * note: when mixing colors gradually add the darker hue to the lighter hue (Hue = Color)

 So class I challenge all my classes to to start observing the colors around them much more intently. When you look at the grass is it just green that your eyes pick up or are their hints of yellow, and maybe even some brown.  Observation plays a huge role in becoming better at creating colors, the longer we look at an object the more time the eye has to detect all colors that make up the surface of the object.  This skill of careful observation, will also help us when mixing colors making sure that we pay attention to the subtle changes that each brush tip full of paint makes when we add it to another color. You will notice, some colors are weaker, that is they change faster when you add a new, darker hue to them (i.e; yellow).  Color applies to not only paint but many of the other mediums that we use in class. Colored pencils for example, require us to blend, or layer one color on top of another in order to achieve a new color. What happens here is the eye perceives the color on the first layer bleeding through into the second layer. So if we wanted to make the color gold, we could place a layer of brown down first and then place a second layer of yellow over the top. The result would yield a golden hue, due to the brown showing through the layer of yellow.

One last note, did you know that color can effect your mood? For example, warmer colors (red, yellow, orange) have a tendency to strain the eye and cause more stress, tension. On the opposite end of the spectrum cooler colors (blue, violet, green) allow the eye to relax and are usually thought of as more calming, but can also reference sadness.  The next time you look at a color, think how does it make you feel, think would your bedroom be a more relaxing place for you if it were a different color, maybe blue?

Interactive Color Wheel:

Color Resources:

Color test  for your eyes :

How animals see color:

*Color is also one of the elements of Art and  it helps to make up some of the principles of Art like Pattern
Lastly, I love this video my friend Nicole shared with me by Kristin Andreassen Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes. Happy Creating.


  1. Mr. McGrath

    Hey- great lesson!

    • Thanks for checking my post out and for the props.

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