Arts & Activities  

      Color expert Dan Bartges is author of the book, "Color is Everything"
( Visit his website at
      Assignment 7 In A Series Of 10      

If you could choose, which ability would you like to have?
1. To create significantly better artwork or crafts.
2. To have a lot more fun painting.
3. To pick out clothes that go much better together.
4. To decorate your room or home more attractively.
5. To decorate more effectively for parties.
6. All of the above.

No matter what you chose, an understanding of color harmony will get you there.
Each month, let's explore how painters like you can attain a working knowledge of color harmony. All you'll need is a standard color wheel, available at any art-supply store.

HOW IT WORKS Each month, study the two featured images on this Web page and, with your color wheel, figure out their color schemes. Next, download and print the "Quiz Me!" document, write in your answers to the questions, then hand it in to your art teacher. The correct answers will be made available on next month's Student Page.

      For a quick review of color-scheme basics, click here for an informative article: The Magic Moment.      
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"Color and the Clothes You Wear." Photograph by Dan Bartges.

Think about this: Everything you've learned about color for painting can also be applied to the clothes you pick out to wear each day. People who understand color are much better at selecting clothes that go together, and that gives them a better appearance.
Consider, for example, the three ties in the photograph above. You might prefer the pattern of one tie over the other two, but all three ties go well with the blue shirt. Can you explain why?

As another example, let's say you're a young woman who'd like to wear a dark-green skirt and a bright yellow scarf, but you recognize that these two colors aren't harmonious. So what color blouse could you wear that would make everything color coordinated?

I can think of three. First, you could choose a red-violet blouse, which would join with the green skirt and yellow scarf to form a split complementary color scheme. Second, you could pick out a yellow-green blouse, which would form an analogous color scheme of yellow, yellow-green and green. Or third, you could wear a patterned blouse with red and violet in it. That would give you a tetrad, two sets of complementary colors—in this case, yellow with violet, and red with green.



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Dan Bartges. Mrs. C. Pasco. Oil.

Speaking of clothes, a couple of years ago I painted this portrait of a very active, thoroughly charming woman, age 90. When she sat down in a high-backed armchair with dramatic light flooding in from her right, I decided I had an ideal setting for her portrait.

But, as I began the painting, I realized her orange jacket and skin (keep in mind that everyone's skin is a shade of orange!) didn't harmonize with the green armchair and leaves of the potted plant. So I had to manipulate my colors to bring them into harmony. Can you figure out what I did?

      QUIZ ME!
Click here to download March Quiz Me! document

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