Human eyes have approximately 12 million rods and 7 million cones in them – that's a lot of things in a small place! These help us to see everything around us, including sending colour information to our brain so that it can help us to see colour.
Colour can be bright or dull, warm or cold, natural or made artificially. It can be blue, red, yellow, purple, orange, green and much more! Sometimes you may hear people call something a 'hue'. Hue is just another name for pure colour that does not have white or black in it.
Tiny particles of colour called pigments are what gives plants, animals, humans and minerals their colouring. They are also used to colour paints and dyes made by humans. Pigments absorb colours but reflect their own colour. What this means is that a green pigment will absorb all colours except green, which it will reflect. When you mix paints or pigments different colours are absorbed and reflected and this is how we can create lots of different colours.
The Everywhere colour series is designed for children and will cover lots of things about colour and has projects you can try out for yourself to find out how things work. Colour is magical and lots of fun to experiment with... enjoy!
Teachers/schools – you are welcome to copy any or all of the Everywhere colour series resources and use them with your students to further their knowledge of colour.
Some colours can seem almost invisible but will change when they are heated. Years ago prisoners used to write secret notes using their saliva or sweat and smuggle them out to friends and family. The notes would look like a blank piece of paper. When the other person received the notes they would heat them up and the words that had been written would change colour so they could be read... view module.
The colours we see outside change each day and throughout the day depending on the amount of light. On a sunny day everything looks brighter and more colourful. On a rainy day everything looks duller and greyer. At night everything looks grey or black depending on the moonlight and artificial lighting... view module.
You can use lots of different colours and mediums to create artwork. Sometimes you might use dry mediums, such as crayons and chalk. Sometimes you might use wet mediums, such as paints and dyes. Sometimes you might use both together! Each type of medium will affect the colour you see and also how you create the picture... view module.
Humans respond to colour. Yellow reminds us of happy faces and smiles, white is neutral and restful, red can be exciting. By changing the colours in a room, we can change a room from a happy room into a cold room. Think about some of the places you may have been recently and what colours they were painted... more
If you have ever left a note in your pocket when your clothes have been washed you will know that colours can dissolve making it impossible to read the note. Each colour pigment is made up using a mixture of colours. The human eye can’t see the individual colours unless the colour is split. You can split colour using chromatography, which dissolves colours to see what they contain... view module
Television and computer screen colours work differently to paint colours. Instead of having red, blue and yellow as the primary colours, the primary colours are red, blue and green. This is because the screens work with coloured light rather than paints to get their colours... view module
Visit a paint shop, like your local Resene ColorShop, and you will see thousands and thousands of colours. All of these colours are made by mixing the pigment primary colours of red, yellow and blue in different amounts. Every variation in the colours gives you a different paint colour. If you add a little more yellow, the colour will appear yellower. Add more blue and it will become bluer... view module
Warm colours advance and appear closer than they are, while cool colours recede and appear further away. Brighter colours also appear closer as they stand out against other duller colours. To keep people safe, colours such as bright orange and bright red are used as safety colours... view module
Humans can see differences in the wavelengths of colours. This helps us to tell colours apart. Special cells on the retinas of our eyes detect red, green and blue colours in light, as well as black and white, which helps us see at night when there is little light... view module