The Colors Of Corrosion: Rusty Palettes

When iron meets oxygen and water a colorful process takes place that leaves the vibrant red-orange color we know as rust. Rust is the corrosion of iron caused by a chemical reaction that take place when iron is exposed to oxygen in the presence of water or moisture. The chemical reaction creates red oxides, the familiar red-orange.

Photo by limonada
Bleeding Rust

Iron oxides were used in the paints of the earliest prehistoric art. It is also used in ceramics, and synthetic versions of the pigments are widely used in cosmetics.

Rust can be a humbling reminder of the passing of time and the fragility of humans and their creations, like seeing rust appear on the edges of your first bike or car, or returning to a building or home to find it has taken on a new personality, one faded from the passing years, but it also can be inspiring with its rich color that changes and compliments the colors that surround it.

Let’s have a look at some rusty palettes, colors and patterns pulled from incredible photos and the COLOURlovers library.

Photo by scottwills
Peeling PaintGMC truck

Photo by Leo Reynolds

Photo by mr_gonzales [away]
Used to be a door Bright Rust
Photo by tanakawho

Photo by Mike Ruggirello
Inspired This Post Where'd We Leave It?
Photo by tashland

Photo by tashland

Rust Palettes, Colors and Patterns from the CL library

passion for colour diamonds & rust

Rusty Crusty Rusting girders

Rust Distressed Copper

Rusty Water Pail rusted

Rustique Rust and Sea

rusty_nail rusted_and_used

rustic_blue rusty

rusty_pelican Rusty_Red

Rustic_Charm Rust

rusted_rainbow rust

Rusted Rusty Morning Glory

rusty flowers rust phalaenopsis

rusted heart rusty fence

Rusty flowers Rusted Flowebed

rusted retro rusty

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (, a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.