Color Theory Challenge

Learn about color theory and join the challenge to create art based of the lessons. Share your work of art with #wfmaartstories.


Primary Colors

Red, yellow, and blue can be combined to produce a wide range of colors when coupled with black and white. In art and design, these hues are known as the Primary Colors.

We challenge you to make a masterpiece using only the Primary Colors. Share your work of art in the comments below and tag us at #wfmaartstories.

Pictured here from the WFMA Permanent Collection:
Judy Youngblood, “Lurking Under Toe, 1991,” Color linoleum cut.


Secondary Colors

Color Theory Challenge!

Combining red and blue to create purple, blue and yellow to produce green, and mixing yellow and red to make orange are all examples of achieving colors known as the Secondary Colors.

Using art supplies you have around the house, create a work of art using Secondary Colors and share it in the comments below or tag us at #wfmaartstories.

Pictured here from the WFMA Education Collection:
June Holoebek, “Close Encounter III,” 1988, Screenprint.


Monochromatic Colors

color theory activity

Art with a Monochromatic color scheme is made using only variations of a single color hue. Tints are created by mixing that color into white. Shades are created by mixing black into that color.

Your challenge is to create a work of art using only one color. We’ve shared an example of an abstract artwork, that uses geometric shapes, but representative artworks, that depict people or places, can also be monochromatic. Share your artwork in the comments below or with the hashtag #wfmaartstories

Pictured here: Victor Vasarely, Untitled, c. 1970, Screenprint. From the Permanent Collection of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas.


Complementary Colors

color theory challenge lesson for complimentary colors

Color Theory Challenge!

If you wish to find a pair of Complementary Colors, then look directly across the color wheel. Complementary Colors make each other appear brighter when placed side by side, and dull each other when mixed together.

We challenge you to make a masterpiece using Complementary Colors. Share your work of art in the comments below or with the hashtag #wfmaartstories

Artwork: Pierre Alechinsky, “Digitale,” 1969; Lithograph and aquatint.

Subtractive Color Mixing

color theory challenge lesson for Subtractive Color Mixing

Mixing media types such as paint, pastels, colored pencils, and inks is an example of Subtractive Color Mixing. Here are some tips for mixing your favorite colors!

· Most colors can be achieved by mixing the primary colors with black or white.

· Mix darker colors into lighter colors in small amounts at a time. Dark colors can quickly overpower lighter ones.

· Mix opaque (solid) colors into transparent (see-through) colors in small amounts at a time.

· Red + Yellow = Orange

· Red + Blue = Purple

· Yellow + Blue = Green

· Red + Blue + Yellow = Brown

· White + Black = Gray

· Mix in a color’s complement to dull it down.

Can you make a work of art by mixing different colors only using red, blue, yellow, black, and white? Share your work of art in the comments below or with the hashtag #wfmaartstories #wfmamsutexas #wfmaathome

Optical Color Mixing

Color Theory Challenge!  Optical Color Mixing

Optical Color Mixing occurs when patches of color are placed side by side, allowing our eyes to mix them from a distance rather than through mixing pigment or light.

Can you make a work of art by placing color side by side?

Share your piece in the comments below or with the hashtag #wfmaartstories

Pictured here: Elizabeth Alford, “Lillium Candidum,”; Acrylic on canvas; from the collection of Melissa and Jim Hogan on loan to the WFMA for the exhibition “Let Me Show You This!” celebrating 70 years of the Wichita Falls Art Association.


Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors

Color Theory Challenge

Color Theory is based on the availability of pure primary hues with which one can mix new colors. In the real world, many art supplies are not pure hues, instead being mixed from many colors. Tertiary Colors are created by mixing a Primary Color with a Secondary Color, forming the colors that sit between.

Having an understanding of mixing color can help you achieve the exact hue that you need. Do you make art? Share your work of art in the comments below or with the hashtag #wfmaartstories #wfmamsutexas


Analogous Color Schemes

Color Theory Challenge! 👨‍🎨🎨

Analogous Color Schemes are composed of three adjacent colors on the color wheel. Usually this consists of a primary color, a secondary color, and the tertiary color between them. Using tints or shades of these colors can increase contrast.

We challenge you to make a masterpiece using Analogous Colors. Share your work of art in the comments below or with the hashtag #wfmaartstories

Artwork: Danny Bills, Vulcanized, 1990, Screenprint


Additive Color Mixing

Additive Color Mixing is the process of using light to mix color. This is referred to as additive because all colors of light must be combined to achieve white light. This is seen when white light is broken up by prisms, like raindrops, to form rainbows. When white light strikes an object, that object absorbs every color except the ones we see, which are reflected into our eyes.

Combinations of Red, Green, and Blue light can be mixed to make any color one desires. The use of Additive Color Mixing is used in television and computer screens as well as in set design for films and stage performances.

Where else have you seen light mixed in this way?


Color Meaning

The meanings we associate with color are not universal; we all perceive and interpret color differently. A number of different factors, like culture, age, nationality, surroundings, past experiences, gender and more, affect personal color preference and understanding of symbolism.

How does the use of red in the two pieces shown make an impact on you? Does it call to mind a memory or feeling? If you’d like, share your thoughts in the comments below.

Artwork shown: (left) William Pankey, “Sense of Place,” 1987, photograph, and (right) John Fincher, “Untitled,” relief; WFMA Permanent Collection.