Teaching the Elements of Art: Colour


We began our study of colour by reviewing basic types of colour (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Monochromatic, and Complementary).

As a tactual learner, I love that our teacher handwrites her handouts.

For our first activity we were asked to represent one of the major colour concepts on a small sheet of paper. I chose to focus on complementary colours. In my first version I used blocks of colour, but they became muddied too easily when I tried to smears them together. For my second version I separated the colours into warm and cool colours. Each colour’s complement was mirrored in the opposite swirl. Afterwards, we brought all of our pieces together for a non-judgmental critique.

The following week, our instructor provided us with plasticine in the primary colours. Then, in groups, we mixed and arranges the plasticine in order to best represent what we had learned about colour relationships.


The mentor artist I chose for the colour element is Francoise Nielly. His use of bright colours to shade his portraits draws the viewer’s eye to various parts of the face and seems to also express the personality of each portrait’s subject.