Art in the Open Learning Programme


Colour mixing is something that should be explored by pupils and ideally pupils will arrive at the discovery of new colours through their own experiments with paint. Activity suggestions for this are given shortly. However, in addition to this, the basics of colour theory can be taught to pupils in order to develop an understanding of primary and secondary colours and colour opposites.

An explanation of complementary colours

secondary colours

secondary colours

  • The three primary colours are red, yellow and blue.
  • Two primaries can be mixed to make secondary colours:
    yellow + blue = green
    red + yellow = orange
    red + blue = purple
  • The complementary colour of each primary is the mix of the other two:
    red's complementary is green (blue + yellow);
    yellow's complementary is violet (red + blue)
    blue's complementary is orange (yellow + red)
  • Placed next to one another, complementary colours look stronger and stand out more.
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