Color Theory in Art
How have artists throughout history used color to achieve their artistic goals?
Understandings and Standards

Core Understandings

  • Color Theory - Color is one of the most expressive elements in art because it’s use and relationship immediately affects our emotions.

  • In representational art, color serves to identify objects and to create the illusion of form and space.

  • Artist use several techniques involving color to achieve the illusion of depth and distance. Learning to identify them in art is key to understanding the artistic process.

  • This knowledge can then be applied to your own work.

Learning Objectives

  • You will be able to search museum websites and find examples of paintings that demonstrate different color relationships used by artists to create different emotions and responses by the viewer.

  • You will then save your chosen sample artwork to a PowerPoint presentation. You will then add text along with style and navigation formatting. Each group of students will present their findings to the class.
  • You will learn to critique a painting identifying the techniques and color relationships the artist has used in creating their art.
  • You will then begin to apply these techniques to your own work.


Painting by Janet Fish


1.1. Identify and use the principles of design to discuss, analyze, and write about visual aspects in the environment and in works of art, including their own.
Analyze Art Elements and Principles of Design
1.4. Analyze and describe how the composition of a work of art is affected by the use of a particular principle of design.
Impact of Media Choice
1.5. Analyze the material used by a given artist and describe how its use influences the meaning of the work.