Warm and Cool Colors

Using warm and cool colors to express mood


  • Warm colors: red, orange, yellow
  • Cool colors: green, blue, purple
  • Mood: temporary state of mind or feeling

Colors can be used in lots of different ways. In this portrait, Mary Cassatt uses colors to convey how the person she is painting is feeling.  How do the colors she chose for this portrait help show how this person is feeling?


What about this one?


How did the artist combine color and body language?

Now, it’s easy to just assume that cool colors are always sad and warm colors are always happy.  However, there are many different ways to use these colors.  In this assignment you start by drawing your own face.  Don’t get hung up on making it look exact, the focus of this assignment is your choice of colors.  Once you have finished drawing your face use your ruler to divide your face into three sections.  Think of three different moods you’ve had recently.  Each section of your face will represent one of these moods.

Don’t just use one color for each section, experiment with layering colored pencil in order to mix colors.  Choose at least three colors for each section.  This means in theory you will have used at least nine different colors.


  • 3 sections representing three different moods
  • 3 colors chosen to represent each mood
  • layer colored pencil in order to create new colors

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