Skip to main content

Color Theory for Artists, Designers and the Color Curious

What is color, and how has it been used historically, symbolically, and culturally across many disciplines and virtually all areas of art? Whether you are interested in fashion, design, fine art or marketing, this hands-on studio course is for you. Students learn a variety of color systems and terminology based on artistic and scientific theories. By the end of the course, you will be able to speak and understand the language of color (tint, tone, shade, harmony, discord, chromatic intensity and more). Most importantly, you will learn to use color relationships practically and professionally in new and meaningful ways. You may even develop a new theory!

Supply List
● *Color Journal. Bound book of empty unlined pages waiting to be filled by you with words, paint, collage and more. (See Color Journal printed material.)
● Small palette knife for mixing paint.
● *Small (7" x 9") Enamel white mixing tray or ceramic white plate.
● Disposable paper palette or "freezer paper”.
● Bristol Paper Pad, 9” x 12” or 11” x 14”, at least 2-ply paper, for in-class and homework.
● Large Portfolio to transport your work.
● *Masking tape and artist/designers tape, 1 inch wide.
● Container for water. Plastic or aluminum approximately soup can size.
● Lots or absorbent clothe rags.
● Water spritzer/sprayer. (The plastic type used often for plants.)
● *Scissors and/or X-acto knife.
● *Ruler
● Pencil.
● White plastic Mars eraser
● Rubber cement.
● Brushes Flat - #2, #5 or #6, #10. Round - #4.
● Assorted shapes, sizes, and media appropriate may be purchased as you desire. Synthetic paint brushes. (Avoid stiff bristle brushes that will leave brush marks, and very soft watercolor brushes that will be too soft for acrylic paint.) Approximate size and type of Acrylic and/or Synthetic brushes.
● Acrylic Paint Bottles
● There are numerous brands of acrylic paints. Each brand manufactures the paint according to company standards. Therefore, as you will discover, a Cadmium Yellow made by one company may vary from a Cadmium Yellow made by another. The pigments that I am recommending for beginning color exercises are Golden Fluid Paint. However, other brands of paint may be used in the future. Please keep in mind that the quality of your color will depend on the quality of your paint.
● Golden Fluid Paint in 2 ounce bottles
● Primary Cyan
● Primary Magenta
● Primary Yellow - 2 small or 1 large Bottle
● Titanium White - 2 small or 1 large Bottle
● Carbon Black
● *1 bottle (small size) of Golden or Liquitex Fluid Matte Medium

SMFA Continuing Education Classes

SMFA classes invite you to explore art-making, technique, and artistic expression in a variety of mediums.


SMFA At Tufts

A studio art school that challenges students to innovate across mediums, define their own practices, and participate in a global community of contemporary artists.