Austin Art Shows - When the elements of art are discussed, most people’s first thought is of color. This is because color plays an important role in our lives; it helps us convey information, influence or create certain moods, and affect our choices and decisions. In art, color is often considered before other artistic elements because it impacts aesthetics so directly and immediately.
To perceive color, light must be present. Electromagnetic waves of light have specific colors associated with them; they spread out from light sources in different wavelengths; the length of each wave of light results in different colors, only some of which are visible to humans. The longest wavelength of light humans can see is perceptible as the color red, while the shortest wavelength is visible as the color violet. A light wave either is absorbed or reflected off of an object upon which the light shines; colors are visible to humans only when the light waves are reflected.
The characteristics of color in art include hue, value, and intensity. Hue refers to a color distinguishable from another and named (e.g., red, blue, yellow, etc.), while value refers to the brightness of that hue (e.g., light vs. dark); intensity (aka chroma or saturation) refers to the strength or depth of a color (e.g., brightness vs. dullness). Understanding these qualities of color is important when it comes to creating visual art to tell a story or evoke an emotion in those who view the piece.
The color wheel, also known as the color circle, is another important tool for visual artists. It is a representation of the relationships between different colors that shows primary, secondary, and tertiary color groups. The circular arrangement of these color groups presents each primary color as equidistant from one another, bridged by the secondary and tertiary colors such that differences in color attributes can be understood.
The most fundamental hues on the color wheel are the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. They cannot be made by mixing other hues, but each of them CAN be mixed together to create the other colors on the color wheel. Secondary colors on the color wheel (e.g., orange, green, and violet) are created by mixing equal parts of two primary colors. (For example, mixing one part red with one part yellow yields orange.) The six different tertiary colors on the color wheel are created by mixing equal parts of one primary color with one secondary color, resulting in colors such as red-violet, red-orange, and others.
Art From the Streets is an Austin-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 1991 to give transient people a way to develop as artists and to use their creativity to climb out of homelessness. Purchasing artwork supports the artists directly. Donating to our program helps us to offer a free Open Studio for the homeless and at risk.