The Color Wheel, Who Is R. G. Biv?

Tonal Values – Adding White

color-ex12Adding white creates pastel shades of a color hue. Once a color has white, brown, or black added it is called a tone. In our scene example the light or white tones would fall in the background area and be used to color the mountain range. Pastels are used in the background areas because the atmosphere through which we look is filled with fine water particles. These give a thin “white” appearance to the sky and therefore whitens the colors of the shapes that lie behind the air.

A soft and gentile feeling is added to a painting when it is created in white tones.

color4Red + White = Pink
Blue + White = Baby Blue
So Pink (Red + White) is a tone of the hue Red.



Tonal Values – Adding Black

color-ex2Adding black darkens a color hue without muddying the color. Dark tones or black tones are usually found in the foreground area of a painting, in our example this would be in the grassy field. Since the foreground is closes to us we begin to distinguish more and more shadows within the foreground. This gives those shapes closest to us a darken tone.

The black tones throughout this painting push the eye toward the light on the church steps. There is only one area of pure hue in this painting, the yellow ‘light’ in the front facing church window. All other areas are done with tones.

color5Orange + Black = Burnt Orange
Red + Black = Burgundy




Tonal Values – Adding Brown

color-ex3Adding brown to a color hue mutes or muddies the color. Brown or mute tones are used for shadows and shading. Each area of our example painting would use varying mute tones to create that 3-d look.

This painting shows the three ranges of tones working together. The background is the palest tones in the painting. As your eye moves forward into the arrangement the colors become purer. In the foreground the dark tones take over. All areas use the brown tones for the creation of shadows.

color6Yellow + Brown = Sienna
Green + Brown = Moss





2 thoughts on “The Color Wheel, Who Is R. G. Biv?”

  1. Pingback: Pyrography Styles - Pointillism |

  2. Pingback: Color, Shadow, and Light in Pyrography |

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: