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Analogous Colors

Color Wheel

Art Concept: Analogous Colors. Artists often use colors that are analogous. “Analogous” means near. Analogous colors mean two or more colors that are side by side on the color wheel and often contain the same primary color (green, yellow, orange).  Analogous color schemes often produce a strong “mood.”
Analogous Color Schemes

Teaching ideas: Show students the color wheel. Analogous colors schemes are like different pieces of pie – some are big, some are small. Have students arrange crayons in a color wheel. First have them remove blacks, whites and browns. Start by making a triangle with red, yellow and blue, then add orange, purple and green and then other colors if they want. Then show them the images below. In each work of art, have the students identify where the analogous colors fit into the color wheel (i.e. green through yellow to orange, or blue to purple, etc.) and whether the piece of analogous pie is big or small. Note that sometimes an artist may use a complement to the one of the analogous colors to make some object stand out. Ask them if the different analogous schemes produce clear feelings in the paintings.

Book:  Hop Jump, by Ellen Stoll Walsh (illustrations are in yellow to blue analogous colors.)  Many book illustrations might be used.  

Sample Projects:

  • Analogous Color Weaving (3rd Grade) art lesson.
  • Snakes Drawn in Analogous Colors (3rd Grade) art lesson.
  • Draw two simple trees with distinct leaves. Choose an analogous color scheme. (Remind the children of the different seasons and kinds of trees – in other words, the whole color wheel is available to use.) Color the leaves in one tree all one color. Color each individual leaf of the other tree with different colors from the scheme.    This can be done with crayons, colored pencils or pastels.            
  • Paper making.  Marble the paper in different color schemes. 
  • Paper making.  Add food colors to dishwashing soap in a cup.  Use a straw to blow bubbles in the cup and then make a bubble print with the different colors on white paper.
  • Make Mark Rothko rip-offs.  With paint, have the children experiment with placing colors side by side in blocks and the different moods they create. 
  • Make blow-trees with analogous colors. Drip a line of brownish watercolor on paper and blow it with a straw to make a trunk. Then do spots of analogous colors and blow them with a straw for leaves.  
  • Do a coloring page using analogous colors only

Orange and Yellow Rothko (American), 1956. orange/yellow

The Garden, Morisot (French), 1883. yellow/green/blue

Nightlife, Archibald Motley Jr. (American), 1943. red/purple/blue/green (orange accidentals)

Water Lillies, Monet (French), 1906. purple/blue/green (red compliment accent)

Shah Jahan & Dara Govardhan (Indian), 1657.  green/yellow

Russian Beauty in Landscape, Kandinsky (Russian), 1904. green/blue/purple

Nature Abhores a Vacuum, Helen Frankenthaler (American), 1973. green/yellow/orange/red

Mihrab unit from masjid, Mayden Kashan (Islam, middle east), 1226. green/blue/purple

Grune pflanzan blut laus, Klee, 1924. yellow/green/blue (red accidental)

Tropical Storm with Tiger,  Rousseau (French), 1891. red/orange/yellow/green

Girl with Sunflowers, Diego Rivera (Mexican), 1941. orange/yellow/green/blue

Five Women in the Street, Kirchner (German), 1913. yellow/green/blue

Kangaroos (bark painting), Aboriginal 20thC. red/purple

Sumerian Gate Guard, 404-358 BC. green/yellow/orange

Vase, Guiseppe Barovier,1875. green/blue/violet

Polish Rider, Rembrandt (Dutch), 1655. red/orange/yellow

Chartes Cathedral, Corot (French), 1830. yellow/green/blue

Yellow Dancers, Degas (French), 1876. yellow/green (complimentary color red accent



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