Warm and Cool Picasso

Contributor: Brenda Farrell. Lesson ID: 12932

You are probably familiar with famous artists, like Pablo Picasso. He invented a new form of expression, and you will learn (and use) his technique using oil pastels, warm and cool colors, and mood!


Visual Arts, World

Fine Arts
learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

I'm sure you have heard of Pablo Picasso.

  • But did you know he created an artistic style called Cubism?

He did this by breaking up his artwork into shapes. Picasso was also a master at using color to express a mood or feeling, as seen in his famous painting, The Old Guitarist:

The Old Guitarist

Image by Pablo Picasso, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

In this lesson, you are going to learn about warm, cool, and neutral colors and how to use them.

  • You've heard of all kinds of wheels, but did you know there is something called a "color wheel"?

Pictured below is the basic color wheel, and it will guide you in making color choices. You've probably seen it in school, but here's a quick refresher just in case you've forgotten:

color wheel

Red, blue, and yellow are primary colors. When you mix red and yellow, you get orange; mix blue and yellow, you get green; mix red and blue, you get violet. Orange, green, and violet are therefore called secondary colors.

Tertiary colors, like red-violet and blue-violet, are derived by mixing a primary color with a secondary color.

All colors have tints and shades. A tint is the variation of that color when mixed with white; a shade is the variation of that color when mixed with black.

Warm and cool colors

The key principles of balance when learning how to mix colors is between warm and cool colors. If you divide the solar spectrum roughly in half, you will have the reds, oranges, and yellows on one side, and the purples, blues, and greens on the other. The former are (roughly) the warm colors and the latter are the cool colors.

warm and cool colors

What are neutral colors?

Neutral colors can be cool or warm but are more subtle than blues and reds. Neutral colors help to put the focus on other colors or serve to tone down colors that might otherwise be overpowering on their own.

Try it!

There are a few different ways to make neutral colors. You can blend black and white to make gray. You can create brown in two ways: by blending two complementary colors together, or by blending all three primary colors together.

When you are ready, continue on to the Got It? section to examine Picasso's use of color.

Image - Button Next