My Mental Color Wheel
A few years ago I signed up for a painting class. I didn't know the first thing about art, so I was pumped when I realized that I could make any color that I wanted. But it really wasn't that simple.
Now we are all adults and aware that when you purchase a color cartridge for your printer it contains three primary colors: magenta, cyan, and yellow. Close to those kindergarten primary colors, but a little different. It was in exploring this concept, and trying to set up my watercolor pallette, that I developed a working model of simple color theory.
I use a (mental) color wheel with twelve hues: a "cool" and a "warm" version of each primary and each secondary color. In other words, with each color I encounter (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, or purple) I decide if it is closer to the color on one side of it, or the other. (Of course, there are all manner of tints and shades as well.) Consequently, a blue will be either a green-blue (cyan) or a purple-blue (periwinkle). Here's an image that's pretty close to my mental one.
This works for me. And I realize now, in writing this post, that I have finally moved beyond the trauma of realizing that they taught me lies in kindergarten.