COLOUR miss potts - year 7 visual arts

Lesson one

We are surrounded by colour every single day. It is fundamental to our every day lives and can create many different moods and emotions depending on the colour.

Colour is the element in art which is created when the light hits and object and is reflected back into the eye. The three properties of colour are the hue (the colour, e.g: RED), the intensity (meaning the strength of the colour) and finally the value (how light and dark it is).

Colour can be split into different areas:

  • Primary Colours
  • Secondary Colours
  • Tertiary colours
  • Warm & cool colours
  • Hues/Tints/Tones/Shades
  • Complementary colours
  • Analogous colours
  • Monochromatic


Fun Fact: The colour wheel was first designed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666.

primary, secondary & tertiary colours

Our primary colours are Red, Blue and Yellow. These three colours cannot be mixed, but we can mix these to create other colours in the colour wheel. These are known as our secondary colours.

The artist Roy Lichtenstein (shown above) only uses the three primary colours throughout his works. He became famous for his use of bold black lines and primary colours and comic styled bodies of work.

When we mix any of the two primary colours together, we create secondary colours. These are Green, Orange and Purple, for example when we mix Blue and Red together we create Purple.

Here we can see the use of secondary colours in nature photography

Tertiary colours come from mixing primary colours with an adjacent secondary colour. We name them as the primary colour-adjacent secondary colour, for example; yellow-green. See below colour wheel where they list the tertiary colours.

The hyphenated colours are the tertiary colours

warm & cool colours

When looking at the colour wheel we an slit it into two halves; the warm colours and the cool colours. We associate blue tones with coolness and red tones with warmth.

Complementary colours

Complementary colours refer to two colours which are opposite each other in the colour wheel. These two colour are opposing but can emphasise each other to flow and be harmonious with one another.

Secondary colours are opposite one another on the colour wheel.

Hues, tints and tones

When we add light or darkness to a colour it can appear brighter or darker. This is the same in visual arts, where we can add white or black to make a lighter or darker tint or shade as shown below.

analogous colours

Analogous colours are colours that are next to one another on the colour wheel. When used together they seem to blend well. Please see below for explains on analogous colours.

Examples of analogous colours
You will be creating art like this in lesson three!


Monotone or Monochromatic is when we use one Hue (colour) and only use the tints, tones and shades from that one particular hue. In the below image we can see an example of a monochromatic palette.

Monochromatic palette

Street artist Millo creates large murals on the side of buildings worldwide but uses a very monochromatic palette, generally consisting of whites, greys and blacks.

Artwork by Millo

Please watch this video below before your second class on colour. Make notes on any questions you have so we can discuss in next class.

Lesson two

acrylic fluid painting

During lesson three, we will be making fluid acrylic paintings. Using our prior knowledge on colour, we will be utilising this skill in our artworks.

what is fluid acrylic painting?

Fluid acrylic painting is when we mix mortal acrylic paints with a pouring medium. This makes the thick acrylic paint diluted and flows more freely. We then pour/drip different paint colours onto the canvas and tilt it around to create different swirls and patterns on the canvas.

In the above video, the artist uses Liquitex pouring medium to dilute to paints and then pours them over a canvas to create desired effect.

In the above video, we can see the artist is using 'Analogous' colours.


In lesson three, we will be completing an assignment. This assignment is to create 2 x fluid acrylic paintings using the above techniques shown in the videos. When choosing colours to put on the canvas, you need to choose ONE of the below colour groups:

  • Primary colours
  • Secondary colours
  • Warm colours
  • Cool colours
  • Monochromatic palette
  • Complementary colours
  • Analogous colours

Please come to lesson three with ONE dot point chosen and an idea of what colours you are going to be suing on your 2 x acrylic fluid artworks. If you are unsure, go back to lesson one and Read through the different colour topics.

Mark Chadwick fluid art


Andy Warhol - 'Marilyn Monroe'
Takashi Murakami - Japanese contemporary artist
Pablo Picasso - 'Guernica' 1937

Don't forget your APRONS for next lesson, you will need this otherwise you will NOT be able to participate in the activity.

Created By
Grace Potts

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