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my 2 cents on Primary Colors


From: Susan Holland (Susan_Holland_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Nov 30 2000 - 20:39:02 PST

I remember learning about color mixing with tempera paint as a child. Red,
blue and yellow were the primary colors from which we were supposed to be able
to get orange, green, and purple-- and what I remember most was being
frustrated and annoyed that I could never get a good orange, that green was
never bright, and that purple was impossible. I wish I had had an art teacher
who could have told me that the red we were thinking was just red was actually
not primary- that it had a bunch of blue and in it and so it would knock down
the intensity of the orange I was trying to make, and at the same time had
enough yellow to kill my purple. Or that the blue I though was true blue had
enough red in it to neutralize the green I wanted. Maybe that would have been
way over my head when I was a grade schooler-- but I sure would have gotten
more satisfying results with magenta, turquoise and yellow as my starting

Susan Holland
Visual Art Studies
University of Texas at Austin