Pop Art

The Essentials of Visual Arts


Using Color for Emphasis

Throughout this unit, you have investigated the many ways that elements and principles can be combined to create interesting and powerful artwork. By using contrasting colors, or colors that are opposite each other, an area of the piece is emphasized. For example, placing a fruit that is painted in warm colors against a background of cool colors creates a high level of contrast and grabs the viewer’s attention, as shown in the following image.

Two bottles sit on a table with a glass and many pieces of fruit surrounding them. The fruit are red and yellow. The background is completed in many shades of blue.

The Peppermint Bottle
by Paul Cezanne
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Like with this example, any time that complementary colors, or colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, are used together, there will be a dramatic and powerful effect. These color combinations include red and green, violet and yellow, and blue and orange. In addition, when black and white are used together, the same dynamic effect occurs.

Review the use of emphasis in different elements and principles of art. Select the image and complete the Emphasis: Identifying interactive review.

Emphasis: Identifying interactive review

Select the link to access the alternative activity.

hyperlink icon  Emphasis: Identifying

You can review the elements of art and principles of design at any time in the Course Overview unit at the beginning of the course.