Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Knowledge of COLOR TheoryA knowledge of color theory is something every artist should have. Find out where you stand on this subject by testing your knowledge of color as it applies to fine art.

Write your answers to this simple 50-question quiz on paper, then check them at the end of the quiz. Don’t peek!

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

1. Color is  _______.

A.    a design principle
B.    an element of art
C.    a value
D.    none of the above

2. Which color can not be made by mixing any other color?

A.    Yellow
B.    Green
C.    Purple
D.    Gray

3. What are the primary colors?

A.    Red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple
B.    Green, orange, and purple
C.    White, black, gray, and brown
D.    Red, blue, and yellow

4. The choice of colors used in a design plan is called a _______.

A.    color spectrum
B.    color wheel
C.    color scheme
D.    color mix

5. A circular chart used to show color relationships is called a _______.

A.    color ray
B.    color wheel
C.    color circle
D.    color scheme

6. Secondary colors are created by mixing two _______.

A.    neutral colors
B.    complementary colors
C.    primary colors
D.    intermediate or Tertiary colors

7. Colors that are different in lightness and darkness are said to be _______.

A.    contrasting
B.    light in value
C.    dark in value
D.    bright and intense

8. What are the secondary colors?

A.    Red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple
B.    Green, orange, and purple
C.    White, black, gray, and brown
D.    Red, blue, and yellow

9. Which of the following are examples of cool colors?

A.    Orange, green, and purple (or violet)
B.    Blue, green, and violet (or purple)
C.    Yellow, blue and red
D.    White, black and brown

10.  Which of the following are examples of warm colors?

A.    Yellow, red, and orange
B.    Yellow, red and blue
C.    Yellow, green and blue
D.    Orange, purple and green

11. Yellow-orange, red-orange, and yellow-green are examples of _______ colors.

A.    intermediate or tertiary
B.    secondary
C.    primary
D.    triadic

12. _______ is another word for the brightness of a color.

A.    Value
B.    Intensity
C.    Hue
D.    Complementary

13. What are the tertiary colors?

A.    Red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple
B.    Green, orange, and purple
C.    White, black, gray, and brown
D.    Red, blue, and yellow

14. Monochromatic colors are all the colors (tints, tones, and shades) of a single hue.

True | False

15. Complimentary colors are side by side on the color wheel.

True | False

16. To make a shade, you would add _______ to a color.

A.    black
B.    white
C.    brown
D.    yellow

17. What words are used to describe color temperature?

A.    Light and Dark
B.    Hot and Cold
C.    Black and White
D.    Warm and Cool

18. Which colors will give you the greatest contrast?

A.    Red and blue
B.    Blue and green
C.    Red and green
D.    Green and yellow

19. How many colors are on the basic color wheel?

A.    Three primary and three secondary colors
B.    Three cool and three warm colors
C.    Three pairs of complementary colors
D.    All of the above

20. Analogous colors is another term for complementary colors.

True | False

21. Red and green are examples of complementary colors.

True | False

22. The color plan of red, yellow, and blue is an example of a triad color scheme.

True | False

23. A related color scheme would be colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

True | False

24. Tints of colors may be created by adding white. Pink is a tint of red.

True | False

25. Intensity refers to the purity of a hue.

True | False

26. Blue and orange are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

27. Red, yellow, and blue are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

28. Yellow, yellow-orange, and orange are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

29. Red and green are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.   complementary

30. Orange, green and violet (or purple) are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

31. Purple, blue, and red-violet are _______ colors.

A.    primary
B.    related or analogous
C.    secondary
D.    complementary

32. Colors that are across from each other on the color wheel are called ________.

A.    intermediate or tertiary colors
B.    analogous colors
C.    color triad
D.   complementary colors

33. Three colors that are equal distance apart on the color wheel are called ________.

A.    intermediate or tertiary colors
B.    analogous colors
C.    color triad
D.    complementary colors

34. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel are called  ________.

A.    intermediate or tertiary colors
B.    analogous colors
C.    color triad
D.    complementary colors

35. ________ are obtained by mixing secondary colors and primary colors.

A.    Intermediate or Tertiary colors
B.    Analogous colors
C.    Color triad
D.    Complementary colors

36. ________  are obtained by adding white to a hue.

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

37. ________ are obtained by mixing two primary colors.

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

38. ________ are obtained by adding black to a hue.

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

39. Colors that go with all color plans — white, black, gray, and brown — are called _______.

A.    Neutrals
B.    Tints
C.    Secondary colors
D.    Shades

40. Blue, green, and purple are cool colors.

True | False

41. All colors are made by mixing the primary colors.

True | False

42. Yellow, red, and orange are cool colors.

True | False

43. Purple is an example of a primary color.

True | False

44. The lightness or darkness of a color is referred to as the _______.

A.    shape
B.    value
C.    intensity
D.   texture

45. The brightness or dullness of a color is referred to as the _______.

A.    shape
B.    value
C.    intensity
D.   texture

46. The pure hue is at its brightest _______ right from the bottle.

A.    shape
B.    value
C.    intensity
D.   texture

47. What color is the result of mixing red + yellow?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

48. What color is the result of mixing red + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

49. What color is the result of mixing yellow + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

50. What color is the result of mixing red + yellow + blue?

A.    Violet (Purple)
B.    Orange
C.    Brown
D.    Green

How did you do on the “Knowledge of COLOR Theory” quiz? Check your answers below to find out.

Additional Reading

For more information on color theory, see the art article titled “Basic Art Element — Color.”

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Answers: 1B, 2A, 3D, 4C, 5B, 6C, 7A, 8B, 9B, 10A, 11A, 12B, 13A, 14T, 15F, 16A, 17D, 18C, 19D, 20F, 21T, 22T, 23T, 24T, 25T, 26D, 27A, 28B, 29D, 30C, 31B, 32D, 33C, 34B, 35A, 36B, 37C, 38D, 39A, 40T, 41T, 42F, 43F, 44B, 45C, 46C, 47B, 48A, 49D, 50C

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Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

What is Color?

Basic Art Element — Color, Pt 1Color is a basic element of art that involves light. It is produced when light waves (wavelength) strike an object and are reflected into our eyes. Each light wave has a distinct color. Objects appear to be different colors because some wavelengths are absorbed while others are reflected or transmitted. The wavelengths that are reflected back to our eyes give us the colors we see.

Color consists of three properties:

  • Hue — The name given to a color, such as red, yellow, blue, purple, green, orange, etc.
  • Intensity (or saturation) — The purity or dullness of a color. A color’s purity is determined by whether it has been mixed with another hue and, if so, to what extent. The most vibrant colors are those right from the tube. Colors that have been combined with various hues are thought to be less intense. To reduce the intensity of a color, there are two options:
    1) Mix the color with gray.
    2) Mix the color with its complement.
  • Value — The lightness or darkness of a color. Adding white or black to a hue changes its value. A “tint” is created when white is added, while a “shade” is made when black is added.

Using color effectively in creating art involves understanding three basic areas: the color wheel, color value, and color schemes (or color harmony.)

The Color Wheel

Basic Art Element — ColorThe color wheel is a useful visual aid used by artists and interior designers to understand the relationship between colors. Sir Isaac Newton developed the color wheel in 1666 when he took the color spectrum and bent it into a circle. The color wheel is a circular chart divided into 12 sections, with each sector showing a distinct color. There are three categories of colors in it: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The term “tertiary” means third.

  • basic art element colorThe primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These hues are equally spaced apart on the color wheel. There are only three primary colors, and they are the most basic colors on the wheel. They can only be made from natural pigments and cannot be made by mixing other hues. These three primary colors can be blended to create any other color on the color wheel.
  • secondary colors on the color wheelSecondary colors are orange, green, and purple (or violet). These colors are created by mixing equal parts of any two primary colors.
    • Red + yellow = orange
    • Yellow + blue = green
    • Blue + red = violet (purple)
  • Tertiary colors are red-purple, red-orange, blue-green, blue-purple, yellow-green, and yellow-orange. There are six tertiary colors, and they are the result of mixing equal parts of a primary color with a secondary color. The proper way to refer to tertiary colors is by listing the primary color first and then the secondary color. Tertiary colors are called by their two-word name.
    • tertiary colors on the color wheelRed + violet (purple) = red-violet (red-purple)
    • Red + orange = red-orange
    • Blue + green = blue-green
    • Blue + violet (purple) = blue-violet (blue-purple)
    • Yellow + orange = yellow-orange
    • Yellow + green = yellow-green

Color Values

Color also has value. A color’s value is a measurement that describes how light or dark it is. It is defined by the color’s proximity to white. For instance, lighter colors such as yellow will have lighter values than darker colors like navy blue.

A good way to see the difference in the values of colors is to look at the greyscale. White is the lightest value, while black is the darkest. Middle gray is the value halfway between these two extremes.

basic art element value

A color’s value can be changed by simply adding white or black to it. When you add white to a hue, you get a lighter value. “Tints” are the lighter values. When you add black to a color, the value darkens, creating a “shade” of that color. See the example below.

colorscale_value_art_element

Color Temperature

The temperature of color is how we perceive a particular color, either warm or cool. Warm colors range from red to yellow on the color wheel, whereas cool colors range from blue to green and violet. Each temperature takes up one-half of the color wheel (see images below). Somewhere in the green and violet spectrums, the temperature changes between warm and cool.

The characteristics of warm and cool colors include:

Warm Colors

    • Warm colorsare made with red, orange, or yellow, and combinations of them
    • tend to feel warm, reminding us of heat and sunshine
    • tend to advance into the foreground, i.e., come toward the viewer
    • may feel more energetic, attention-grabbing, and aggressive

Cool Colors

    • Cool colorsare made with blue, green, or violet, and combinations of them
    • tend to feel cool, reminding us of water and sky
    • tend to recede into the background, i.e., move away from the viewer
    • are more calming and soothing

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors do not appear on the color chart and are neither warm nor cool. They are called neutral because they lack color and are derived by mixing equal parts of color opposites (i.e., red + green, blue + orange, or yellow + purple), resulting in drab-looking grays.

Black and white are also considered neutral because they are neither warm nor cool and do not change color.

This lesson on “Basic Art Element — Color” continues in part 2, where color harmony is discussed.

Take The Quiz

Test your knowledge of color theory by taking this simple online test.

Your Next Art Lesson

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out another one in this series.

The Basic Elements of Art (Introduction)

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1 — You are here.

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value

More Art Lessons

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

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UPDATED: 25 June 2021

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