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Colour Family:

The group of colours together on the colour wheel, e.g., more than one yellow, or more than one blue, or more than one red, with each hue all together under one colour family.



The Local Colour as in Primary, Secondary, Tertiary.



The Relative Lightness or Darkness of a colour.


The colours relative warmth or coolness.



Saturation: Brilliant or Muddy. & Luminosity: Pure or Dull.


Tinting Strength is the relative colouring power.


Tint is the colour plus white. Tone is the colour plus Grey. Shade is the colour plus black.

Warm colours advance while cool colours recede.


Polychromatic colour is using multiple colours.


Compliments are opposite each other on the colour wheel.

Split Compliments are opposite each other with one either side of the compliment.

A Diad is using two colours that are equidistant from each other on the colour wheel.

A Triad is three colours equally spaced from each other on the colour wheel.

A Tetrad is a contrast of four or more colours on the colour wheel.

Analogous colour uses two colours that are side by side on the colour wheel.

Mono-Chromatic colour is using one colour in a variety of tones.

Achromatic colour is black and white with a variety of grey’s in-between.


The Mother Colour in a painting is the same colour used in all the mixes and is linked to the Atmospheric Key in a painting.

Additive colour mixing is colour mixing using paint whereas Subtractive colour mixing uses light.

Transparency is when the colour from underneath shows through.

Translucency is when the colour from underneath only partially shows through.

Opaque colour from underneath does not show through.

Colour Notes are the patches of colour that go to create form.

A Prismatic Colour is a pure and brilliant primary colour.

Breaking the colour refers to reducing the Chroma by way of mixing it with its compliment on the colour wheel to make it more neutral.

Earth Colour is grey and muddy colour.


Neutral Colours are reduced in Chroma.

Non-Colour is a colour that has lost its Chromatic Identity.

Body Colour is an opaque layer of paint.

Tonal Colour means organising colour and form according to a Gradation.

Colour Contrast is when two compliments are side by side on the canvas.

Successive Contrast is seeing one colour in the compliment of another.

Simultaneous Contrast is the merging of two complimentary colours.

Value Contrasts are lights against darks or vice versa.

Value Massing is grouping together areas of broadly similar light and dark values to create an abstract pattern of shapes.

Refraction is the diffusion of edges, and grades of darker to light and light to darker around the edges of objects in the real world.

Diffraction is the softening of light, form and colour caused by a heavy atmosphere, or lighter structure e.g. tree branches and holes.

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