how to choose paint colors

for beautiful, harmonious paintings

do your paintings have a disconcerting look?

  • You can create harmonious paintings when you know how to choose paint colors.

There are so many colors to choose from. Which colors are the best ones?

How to choose paint colors for beautiful, harmonious paintingsCedar Key Canal

how to choose
paint colors

for beautiful, harmonious paintings

do your paintings have a disconcerting look?

  • You can create harmonious paintings when you know how to choose paint colors.

There are so many colors to choose from. Which colors are the best ones?

How to choose paint colors for beautiful, harmonious paintingsCedar Key Canal

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you are not the only person concerned about colors

When I was learning to oil paint, I just used the colors the instructor said.

Then about twenty years ago, someone gave me a Christmas present with watercolor paintings on it.

I was intrigued and wanted to give watercolor a try.

Back then I never had heard of odorless stuff to clean my oil paint brushes. I wasn't painting because it was winter and I didn't want an open window for ventilation.

Watercolors here I came - I jumped in full-force!


are you making these painting mistakes?

  • I started buying watercolor paints.

Someone gave me a used rectangular watercolor palette. I filled it with paints. But it was a bit cumbersome to me. I was always hunting for certain colors.

So I purchased a round palette that held twenty-four colors arranged like the color wheel. There was extra space in the corners to hold an additional eight colors.

It was easier to organize and find the colors in the new palette. I was so pleased with the new palette.

  • I filled the new palette with lots of beautiful colors.

but....

There were so many beautiful colors, it was confusing to paint with so many colors.


are your paintings disconcerting?

  • When there are too many different colors in one painting, it is confusing because there is no place for the eye to rest.
  • The viewer's eyes jump from one color to another in a disconcerting manner.

I needed to figure out how to choose the colors for each individual painting.   Hmm....

So, I started reading thru my painting library. I needed to learn how to choose paint colors.

After studying the work of professional artists and reading everything I could get my hands on about color - I came up with a plan.





the plan for choosing paint colors

#1 - make a color wheel

I made a color wheel.

Poster board or any heavy type of paper would work fine to make your color wheel.

I painted twelve colors on the color wheel from the paints I was using.

There is a warm and cool version of each of the six basic rainbow colors.

The color wheel is over twenty years old. I still use it today for all my watercolor and oil paintings.


I used watercolors to make my personal color wheelColor Wheel of My Colors

you may purchase a ready-made color wheel



#2 - make color scheme templates

  • Professional artists often use certain color schemes.

Cut out the color scheme templates the same size as your color wheel.

These are the templates I cut out of newsprint years ago.

Complimentary color scheme
Double compliment color scheme
choosing paint colors with a split compliment color scheme
analogous paint colors are next to each other on the color wheel
A triad color scheme uses the primary colors
Semi-triad paint color scheme
The compliment plus half left color scheme is one of my favorites.
One of my favorite color schemes the compliment plus half right.


#3 - select your paint colors

Look for the main color of the focal point of your proposed painting.

  • Place various color schemes over the main color.

Try various color schemes over the color wheel. Always including the main color.

  • Choose a color scheme with additional colors that suit the rest of your proposed painting.

A scheme with complimentary colors makes it easy to mix darks.

Try the different color scheme templates over your color wheel to select the paint colors for an individual painting.Choosing a Color Scheme

After the color scheme is selected, I paper clip it to my color wheel. Only my selected three or four colors will show.

I keep it in front of me when I am painting. Then I am not tempted to use all the other colors from my palette.

  • A limited number of colors in each painting gives the painting cohesiveness and color harmony.

Today I still use the same color wheel and templates to choose the colors for my paintings.



choose paint colors like the professionals.

  • Make a color wheel from your paints.
  • Use the templates to choose your color schemes.


you can create harmonious paintings!

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