Understanding Traditional and Modern Colour Theory

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Colour Vision and Colour Theory to Ultimately Gain Colour Confidence

When we first go to the art supply or paint store, we are confronted by a near endless selection of glorious paint colours, enticing us to purchase them. Once we get them home, we’re not sure how they fit into our palette and worse, how to effectively use them. You can gain the confidence to work with colours effectively, even if you have no experience and no clue where to start. You may be wondering:

  • What exactly is Colour Theory?
  • What are primary, secondary, and tertiary colours?
  • Do I need to be an artist?! 😢
  • How do I know what colours to combine and mix?
  • And most of all…Can I really do this – understand colour effectively?

Traditional and Modern Colour Theory refers to the collection of rules and guidelines for how we communicate with colour. As a decorative painter, you may want to understand single colours and colour mixtures, and also learn how to replicate colours. As a working artist, you will want to make informed purchases and selections, and be able to waste a lot less paint by moving confidently in your colour space. This course will help you understand how we see colour, the power of the modern primary palette, what’s in our paint tubes, and most importantly, will help you select colours that will extend your mixing range.

As a fine artist, Catherine's technique has evolved from a classical, indirect approach in oil. She uses underpainting and layers of paint and final glazes to create detailed realistic portrayals of her subjects. Catherine's award-winning artistry has been featured in gallery shows and art exhibitions. She’s created this course to share and teach the techniques needed for you to gain the confidence to work with colour and ignite that creative joy of painting.

Here's what we'll cover.

By the end of this course, students will be able to add an enormous skill set to their creative toolbox by becoming far more confident with colour. You’ll know how we each see colour, as well as how hue, value, and chroma work together to describe these colours. You’ll learn about primary, secondary, and tertiary colours, as well as understanding earth colours, and how light and shade affect all. You’ll learn about the difference between single pigments and convenience colours, and what you can expect for each in your paint tubes. Exercises in replicating colours, mixing your own blacks, and the effects of adding white and/or grey intro your paints will be showcased. You’ll also learn how to create your own colour mix charts and select the best palettes and paint products for your creative work. The in-depth class culminates in learning about colour harmony and design, so that you can easily control the colours and mixtures in your painting and creative work. 

This course is for you if:

  • You don’t have any experience with pairing and mixing colours, and you aren’t sure where to begin.
  • You’d like to learn more about using colours creatively and cohesively, and you’re excited to learn!
  • You’d like to learn more about the types of colours available in your local art supply and paint stores.
  • You’d like to learn and understand how paint substances mix and interact, and gain a better understanding of how to control these mixtures.
  • You’re looking for an informative and meaningful creative outlet.
  • You’re wanting to understand the basics of colour theory to enhance your creative, art, paint, and/or design business.

Let's Get Started!

Course Curriculum

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  Colour Vision, Hierarchy, and Psychology
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  Hue, Value, and Chroma
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  Colour Charts and Palettes
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  Adding, Matching, and Shading Colour
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  Harmony and Design
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  Finalizing the Course
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  Bonus: Charts
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Hi, I’m Your Instructor, Catherine Mills

Catherine studied Biology Sciences at University of Guelph, and then veered left into a career as a decorative painter.

While working at Toronto’s Ritins Studio, Catherine helped to complete several high profile projects, such as Windsor Casino, Casa Loma, Pillar and Post, ROM Dynamic Earth, Hockley Valley Resort, and private residences among others. Catherine then transferred her creative skills to fine art, studying with Max Ginsburg, Katharine Stone and David Gluck among others.

Catherine has been a finalist in the still life category in Art Renewal Salon and the Portrait Society of America. Catherine is also a member of The Oil Painters of America, and Ontario Society of Artists.  She has taught fine art extensively for the last 10 years and exhibited/sold work in North America and Europe.

Happy Students Are Buzzing

"Cathy is a caring and diverse artist that is very strong in colour mixing. She is a very supportive teacher who I learned a great deal about mixing techniques from…which changed how I go about painting, helping bring my oil painting to the next level. I am thankful for meeting & learning from her.”

- Chris

“Catherine is very knowledgeable and talented. I enjoy how she threads theory and personal experiences into discussions. I’ve learned a wealth of information and I feel empowered to keep learning and painting thanks to Catherine.”

- Shirley

Sign Up Here and Join Us

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’ve never worked professionally with colour before?

Then this class is perfect for you! This course is intended for beginners or anyone interested in a comprehensive guide to colour theory.

What if I’m not very artistic?

We’ll walk you through the colour theory applications, step by step. If you are artistic, there are plenty of opportunities to use the concepts creatively, but anyone can take this course and end up with detailed knowledge of colour theory.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.