What is Colour?
What is colour? Let’s ask some people who should know… Crayola!
“Color is the aspect of things that is caused by differing qualities of light being reflected or emitted by them.
To see color, you have to have light. When light shines on an object some colors bounce off the object and others are absorbed by it. Our eyes only see the colors that are bounced off or reflected.
The sun’s rays contain all the colors of the rainbow mixed together. This mixture is known as white light. When white light strikes a white crayon or marker barrel, it appears white to us because it absorbs no color and reflects all color equally. A black crayon or marker cap absorbs all colors equally and reflects none, so it looks black to us. While artists consider black a color, scientists do not because black is the absence of all color.
All light rays contain color. Light is made of electromagnetic waves. These waves spread out from any light source, such as the sun. Light waves travel at tremendous speed (186,000 miles or 300,000 kilometers per second). Different colors have different wavelengths, which is the distance between corresponding parts of two of the waves. The longest wavelength of light that humans can see is red. The shortest is violet. Ultraviolet has an even shorter wavelength, but humans cannot see it. Some birds and bees can see ultraviolet light. Infrared has a longer wavelength than red light, and humans can not see this light but can feel the heat infrared generates.” (source)
This wonderful resource is used in my art room to allow students to engage with colour theory interactively, as students navigate through articles to explain concepts, participate in simple experiments to demonstrate concepts and explore exciting visual illusions to peak their curiosity. Practical examples of color at work in daily life give purpose to their investigations and create strong links between science and art. This app can be used amongst hands-on activities in an infinite variety of ways to enhance teaching and learning in the art room in Year 6-12.
This app comes with a warning – it is highly addictive! Using a sudoku-like structure, this puzzle challenges players to order colours based on hue. It’s a challenge for students, one that sees them grapple with idea such as intensity and value, as they play to learn about colour theory.
A useful addition to a creative toolbox is an app that will change the color of elements within an art-work.
Adding a mask and working with parts of an image can encourage students to spend time viewing and considering image construction, developing an understanding of composition.
In the Gallery below you’ll see some examples of the kinds of effects students can achieve using the Color Effects or Tadaa app, but there are many other app in this category to explore.
Ideas for the classroom
Use Colour Effects to explore design options. For example, students can take a photograph of a clay sculpture before painting it and experiment with color, producing as many iterations as required.
Recolor an image to work creatively. For example, flaunt the laws of nature and go beyond reality. For example, take a selfie and give yourself blue hair, change red flowers to purple if it complement the landscape, or paint the sky yellow!
Create contrast. Use black and white in combination with color to enhance visual elements, highlights a focal point, etc.
What is Colour?
How do we see colour?
…and one last clip to explore the effect of colour.
If you want to see more about colour, check out our post, Colour Mixing Medley. You’ll find some great infographics, clips and resources to explore colour theory.
And if you haven’t seen ‘Color Matters‘, check out this amazing site for everything you ever wanted to know about colour theory!
And yes, I know… the American and Australian spelling of ‘colour/color’ is all over the place on this post as I move between my blogging and American resources! Yikes.
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We love the colour matters site too. TEACHERS, if you haven’t seen it go there NOW!
Totally agree. Sadly, I only just discovered it. Oh, to have spent ten years in ignorance!
Great clips – love the TEDed one – they have some great resources and more clips from other educators linked to it on their site too. Check out TEDed and flip it.