Introduction to Color Theory
REGISTER ONLINE (Registration opens May 3, 2022)
6 In-Person Sessions (Important: please read policies below)
Thursdays, June 9–July 14, 2022
6:30PM to 9:30PM
LOCATION: 41 Cooper Square, NY, NY 10003
IMPORTANT: to participate in classes on campus
- Please be prepared to arrive up to 30 minutes early on the first class to present proof of vaccination, booster and a state issued picture ID in the lobby of 41 Cooper Square.
- You must wear a mask at all times inside the school.
- A school ID will be issued so you can enter all subsequent weeks by showing it to the guards. A photo will be taken on the first evening of your class for the ID card.
- Unvaccinated individuals will not be allowed access to campus buildings.
- If you are not able to arrive up to 30 minutes before class on the first session or within 1 hour of the start of the first class session, please request to withdraw from class by email. Policies apply.
In the mid- 20th century, two influential artists, Joseph Albers and Johannes Itten, independently developed courses for teaching color theory. Eventually, they went on to publish books on the subject that continue to profoundly influence artists and art students today. Their teachings are practical guidance to seeing and understanding visual effects. In his *book “The Interaction of Color” Albers wrote “In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is – as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.” In his *book "The Elements of Color", Itten introduces 7 possible color contrasts: "each is unique in character and artistic value, in visual, expressive, and symbolic effect; and together they constitute the fundamental resource of color design".
*It is not necessary to purchase the books used in this workshop. Instructional PDFs including images will be provided.
- Color Aid Paper 3" x 4.5" pack of 314 colors
- 2 Glue Stick
- 8 1/2" x 12" self-healing cutting mat
- #1 X-acto knife set w/replacement blades
- 2 pads 9" x 12" Bristol smooth surface (15 sheets in each pad)
- 12" metal non-slip ruler
- 6H pencil
Other materials and necessities include:
- clean paper towels and/or 15-20 sheets of inexpensive 8.5" x 11" printer paper
- a pencil sharpener and eraser
- good internet connection
- a well-lit environment free from distractions
- clean table space to work
Class #1 Intro: The What, Why, and How of Color Theory
- What is color theory?
- The study of color and its effects; the study of color’s relationship ...but first, what is color? The refraction of white light into different wavelengths
- How do we see color? Eye chart / rods and cones
- We all see color differently; perception is personal and subjective / color blindness /
- Ishihara test / color fatigue / lighting / computer monitors / color accuracy
- Why study color theory?
- To understand these effects and apply them in artwork in dynamic and expressive ways (image examples of artworks that show dynamic relationships of color)
- How to study color theory?
- By working with the exercises outlined in “Interaction of Color” by theorist Joseph Albers, which engage direct exploration using Color-Aid paper (classes #1-3)
- By working with the concepts of color theorist Johannes Itten, who defined color in terms of color contrasts (classes #4-6)
- Technical Demo: How-tos of cutting and gluing
- X-acto blade safety / use / disposal / use of cutting board
- Using the ruler to measure and set squares in place perpendicularly
- Using the glue-stick
- Unpacking Colo-Aid / handling the sheets and moving them around
- Importance of precision
- Description of Albers Exercise (w/ image presentation)
- Making 1 color appear as 2
- Understanding value: making a value chart with greys
Class #2 Albers con’t
Cultural color: Are certain colors inherently good / bad, male / female, Eastern / Western
NO, but color prejudice influences attitudes and understandings of colorColor interactions & experiences: color contrasts (warm / cool; light /dark), flushing effect, fluting effect, synesthesia, optical color mixing, chromostereopsis, transparency, vibrating boundaries, vanishing boundaries, after-image
- 2 different colors appearing as 1 - subtraction of color
- Illusion of transparency
- Bezold effect - optical color mixing
Class #3 Albers con’t
- Vanishing boundaries / colors of equal light intensity
- Reversed grounds
- After image
Class #4 Completion of Albers / conclusion and sharing
Exercises: Light - Dark contrast with different hues
Cold - Warm - exploring warm and cool with gradations of:
greens (yellow to blue)
purples (red to blue)
“fire and water contrast”: dark & light blues to light & dark yellows / oranges / reds
Class #5 Itten con’t
- Complementary contrast: saturated / desaturated / light / dark
Class #6 Itten con’t
contrast of hue (free study)
landscape study; contrast of saturation / atmospheric perspective
Conclusion of Albers / Itten and sharing entire set of exercises (13 total)
Class content, lessons and timeline subject to change
Registration will start on September 15.
Course Code: 117580
Instructor(s): Eric Hibit