Beautiful Shade Transformations in the Warmest of Colors: Joen Wolfrom’s Playing with ColorJoen Wolfrom | January 30, 2012
Two thoughts before beginning this post’s color feature:
First, JWD Publishing changed servers last week due to the amount of space I am using on this blog (much too much I have been told). We ran into difficulties during the transfer process, so I have been unable to access our blog until now. Patience has been the word of the week for me. I thank you for your patience.
Secondly, thanks to all of you who left comments in a variety of places about which patterns you like on the quilt rotation located on our JWD homepage. Thank you for taking the time to let us know what you think about the homepage, the quilts, and what brings a smile to your face. We want to send complimentary patterns to Barbara Bryan, Frances Hague, Peggy Hatch, Sarah Stevens, Laura McGrath, and Evelyn O’brien. If you are one of these people, please email me your address.
WARM SHADE TRANSFORMATION
In this post I’d like to focus on the shades from the warmest of all pure colors: yellow, golden-yellow, and chartreuse. If you have not had a chance to read the initial post about shades or the following post about cool shades, you might want to visit these posts before reading this post.
Whereas cool shades become darker versions of their own pure colors, the majority of warm shades differ greatly from their original pure color. Most warm pure colors make surprising changes when black is added. Because these shades differ greatly from their parent color, their names rarely include their pure-color parent. Therefore, eye recognition is an important factor when working with warm shades (using the color tool can be a handy substitute for eye recogniation). It’s helpful to know a shade’s color origin when the shade is featured in a work of art or a room setting, This knowledge allows you to make the best additional color selections for your project. That’s a huge benefit.
This post features the shades of the three warmest pure colors—golden-yellow, yellow, and chartreuse (yellow is the warmest of all). These three colors can be seen in the color wheel illustration below.
Pure Golden-yellow and its Shades
Pure golden-yellow is shown on the far left and in the top narrow strip in this shade scale.
Some of golden-yellow’s shades can be seen more easily in these long strips.
When black is added to golden-yellow, the color begins to change into a soft bronze. This bronze can have a slight olive cast. As more black is added to the color, the bronze turns into a warm “bronzey” tan. With more black added, these tans become warm “bronzey” browns. These browns are quite warm. Their warmth is accentuated when set against browns of other pure colors.
Color Hint for Golden-yellow
If you are featuring golden-yellow shades in your artwork or interior space and you feel the need to add a spark or accent to your design, consider using pure golden-yellow as an eye-catcher. If you prefer using another color, use one or more hues from the blue-violet family, as these two pure colors are natural complements. Blue-violet and its lavender tints are exceptionally beautiful with golden-yellow shades.
A Helpful Color Hint:
The pure golden-yellow color used in this shade scale illustration is the pure golden-yellow on the Ives Color Wheel (portion shown above). This pure golden-yellow lies exactly halfway between orange-yellow and yellow on the color wheel. This mid-point pure color represents all of the subtle variations of pure golden-yellow colors that lie between orange-yellow and yellow.
Each variation of pure golden-yellow will have its own set of shades showing subtle differences between its neighbor’s hues. For instance, if you are using a golden-yellow paint or fabric that lies close to yellow on the color wheel, then your golden-yellow shades will be slightly different from the mid-point golden yellow shown here. A golden-yellow lying close to yellow will have shades that include a subtle olive influence in their makeup too. However, If your shades are from a pure golden-yellow that lies close to orange-yellow, then your shades will be slightly influenced by a tinge of orange-yellow’s makeup. You may be able to see some of these subtle golden-yellow variations in your paints, fabrics, or other mediums.
In addition, yellow and chartreuse will have their own subtle changes in their pure colors and shade variations, as subtly different pure yellows and pure chartreuses move along the color wheel toward a neighboring color.
Pure Yellow and its Shades
Pure yellow is shown on the far left and in the top narrow strip in this shade scale.
Yellow’s shades can be quite a surprise with its olive transformation.
The first hint of black in pure yellow gives us a barely perceivable hint of darkened yellow. However, once more than a drop of black s added to yellow, this yellow begins an unbelievable transformation into an array of olive hues. As more black is added, the olive (or olive green) becomes more apparent. Eventually, deep, dark, rich olive shades are created. How amazing is that! The horizontal strips provide an opportunity to see more clearly some of yellow’s olive shades.
Color Hints for Yellow
If olive is your major color choice in an artwork or in a room setting, consider using touches of pure yellow for accents or as a visual pick-up color. Pure yellow and olives are beautiful together for obvious reasons. Use this tidbit of information advantageously when featuring olive in your art or in your home’s interior space.
Also, because yellow and violet are complementary partners, they create a beautiful partnership. Therefore, if you want to introduce one new color to your olives, pure violet or some of violet’s lavender hues (tints) would work extremely well. There are red-violet and blue-violet lavender hues too, but the lavender hues for olive are from the violet family. (We’ll talk more about complements in a later post.)
Pure Chartreuse and its Shades
Pure chartreuse is shown on the far left and in the top narrow strip in this shade scale.
A selection of chartreuse shades are shown here to illustrate more clearly some of its beautiful shades.
Whereas blackened yellow turns into olive hues, blackened chartreuse turns into shades of avocado. Notice the difference between the shades of these two pure colors. When a drop of black is added to chartreuse, the new hue appears slightly darker. As more black is added, the avocado shades become more apparent. You can see how luscious the dark avocado shades are.
Color Hints for Chartreuse
If you are featuring chartreuse shades in your artwork or interior space, consider using pure chartreuse as an accent or as a visual pick-up color.. It keeps the color palette narrowly focused while adding a bit of excitement to the overall design. If you prefer to accent with another color, your best choice would be red-violet, it’s natural complement. Red-violet hues are glorious with chartreuse.
Training Our Eyes
It’s important to begin training our eyes to see the subtle nuances of colors. It just takes some practice. To begin, find ways to “see” differences through a variety of exercises. Here are a few that may interest you. Have fun while training your eyes.
- Be on the lookout for shades of yellow, golden-yellow, and chartreuse during this week. You might find examples of these shades in dinnerware, cars, signage, jewelry, clothing, vegetation, flowers, advertisements or artwork.
- Look over your fabrics, paints, yarns, fiber, etc. Can you find shades of these pure colors in your medium?
- If you have the color tool, use it to help verify the origin of the shades you find. (Remember, you’re not trying to match swatches on a pure color’s page. You’re trying to find the color page that the shade looks like it belongs to.
- If you have time to share your experiences with with the rest of us, do comment on your experience hunting for these shades in the world around you.
Note: it’s worth remembering that our monitors do not always give us accurate color readings unless they have been recently calibrated. The colors you see on your monitor may differ slightly from my monitor. Regardless of that, you should be able to see differences between these three pure colors and their shade scales. These illustrations will still give you an idea of how black influences these three warm pure colors. If does not really matter if they veer a little to one neighboring color or another.
Happy coloring! Have a great week.
Text, illustrations, and photography copyright © Joen Wolfrom
Joen is a color enthusiast who teaches and lectures on color. She has written three color books: Color Play, Visual Coloring, and The Magical Effects of Color. Her Studio Color Wheel is used to illustrate color concepts in many of these blog posts. She is also the designer of the 3-in-1 Color Tool. Her new book Adventures in Designis now available. Joen’s newest design tool, the Magic Design-Ratio Tool has just been released. All books and products are published by C & T Publishing.