Everything You Know About Warm and Cool Colors Is Wrong

Red, orange, yellow – warm colors right? Green, blue, purple are cool colors, right? Wrong. 

The truth is, that every color is both warm AND cool, and that warm and cool colors are all relative to each other.

Take purple for example. Purple is made up of red and blue, and lies between them on the color wheel. So two different ways to describe purple would be to call it either a warm blue, or a cold red. It can accurately be described both ways.

Green is either a very cold yellow, or a very warm blue. Orange can be described as being either a cold red or a warm yellow.

It also applies to the primary colors (red, yellow & blue). Take yellow, for example. Most lemons are a cooler variation of yellow, whereas mustard tends to be a warmer yellow.The color of lemons is often towards the cool, green side of the color yellow. The color of mustard leans towards the warm, orange side of yellow.

Using “warm” and “cool” to describe colors is simply a way of describing the hue of the color, or where it lands on the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple color wheel.

And, if you are careful about identifying your warm and cool colors, you can make sure to know exactly what kind of milk is in your cheese.

Discover What Animal Your Cheese Came From Using Knowledge of Warm and Cool Whites

According to staff at VanHook’s Grocery in Jersey City, New Jersey, you can tell what kind of milk is in your cheese just by how warm or cool the yellowish whiteish cheese color is, as long as no other additives or colorings are blended into it. There is a warm/cool scale for milks in cheese that looks approximately like this:

The color of goat milk cheese is the coldest of the cheese colors. This has to do with the diet of goats, and the purity of their digestion process eliminating cloudy elements in the milk they produce. The next coolest color of cheese comes from the Buffalos, followed by the Sheep’s milk. Finally, the Cow has the warmest richest coloring due to the diet and digestion process of how cows translate feed into milk.

So you could essentially make a warm/cool color scale to demonstrate the color of milks in order to help you determine from which animal the cheese in front of you came.

There are, of course, many practical applications of warm and cool colors when painting, but I find that my students pay closer attention when cheese is on the line.

Want to learn more about warm and cool colors? Check our our free art lesson plans.

Are you surprised to learn that all colors are both warm and cool? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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