Which Color is That Warm or Cool

Is That Color Warm or Cold

You hear a lot about the terms warm or cool colors. There is a broad definition and a more detailed explanation for warm and cool colors. The basic definition for your primary colors are red is warm and blue is cold some refer to yellow as warm but I consider it a neutral color meaning it can lean either warm or cool. Next you have your secondary colors Orange is warm and Violet is cool but once again I consider green to be neutral because it can be warm or cool.

General Definition

Warm Colors Neutral Colors Cool Colors
Red Yellow Blue
Orange Green Violet

The more detailed definitions or warm or cool are applied to every color on color wheel and the colors you have on your palette

Warm and Cool of each Primary and Secondary Color

Warm Colors Cool Colors
Yellow -Orange Yellows Yellow- Greener Yellows
Blue – Green Blues Blue- Violet Blues
Red – Red Orange Red Violet
Red Orange Yellow Orange
Red Violet Blue Violet
Yellow Green


Blue Green

This palette contains the warm and cool of every primary color. These are spaced around the color wheel the closer proximity of the colors allows us to get more color variations. Because as we will learn distance between your colors is everything in controlling your color mixtures.

More detailed still is colors are warm and cool in context to one another you can take a cool color from a overall warm painting(with mostly oranges and reds) and put it in an overall cool painting(painting with a a lot of purple and blues) and that color that was cool in one context can be warm in another. Below is a good example.
Put here 6 colors with different relationships.

The Violet Color Seems Warm among blues and greens but cool among yellows and reds

To see videos on Color Theory and Mixing visit my YouTube channel

Here is a video on Warm and Cool colors

5 thoughts on “Which Color is That Warm or Cool”

  1. This was a brilliant, thank you! I love the way you mix the colors and what one can achieve with the various mixes. I enjoyed your article on what to look for when purchasing paints, and found this to be extremely informative. I wish I had this information before I purchased my paints as I really went to town and probably won’t even use some of them, nonetheless, I have them now and will try to put it to good use in future.

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