ES.298 | Spring 2005 | Undergraduate
Art of Color


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Description

This studio seminar first reviews the principles of visual design. It then launches into beginning studio projects that explore the basic principles of using of color in the visual arts. Projects include familiarization with colors, color and value balance, color as expression, color as impression, color squares, color as construction, warm-cold colors, and the interaction of colors. The course also examines the science of color; students study the physics, neuroscience, chemistry, and mathematics of color theory.

Each student works on one large final project dealing with “Interaction of Color,” that often includes multi-media uses of color.


SES # Topics
1 Interaction of Color
2 Historical Use of Color in the Arts
3 Visual Design and Unified Space
4 Color Balance
5 Color as Expression
6 Color as Impression
7 Searching for Tension: Color Squares
8 Warm-Cold Colors
9 Learning To Use Watercolors
10 Composition and Painting
11-14 Painting Studio
15 Final Review

Required Art Materials

  • Box of Color-Aid Paper 6" x 9". The version with 220 colors is fine for this class.
  • Gray Values 9" x 12" package by Color Aid
  • 1 Pelikan Gouache 12 color set
  • 20" x 26" cardboard or redtag portfolio
  • 5 sheets of heavy weight white coverstock 20" x 26" (or 2-ply bristol)
  • 24" metal ruler
  • 30-60-90 triangle
  • Heavy-duty retractable utility knife, along with extra blades.
  • Post-it Glue Stick
  • Rubber cement and rubber cement pick-up
  • Masking tape, 1"
  • Pencils and erasers
  • 20" x 26" cutting surface: 1/8" chipboard or back of old sketchpad


Itten, Johannes. The Art of Color. Translated by Ernst van Haagen. Wiley; Revised edition, 1997. ISBN: 9780471289289.

Grading Policy

Nine Class Projects (5% each) 45%
Mid-Term Project 20%
Final Project 20%
Class Participation 15%
Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2005
Learning Resource Types
group_work Projects with Examples