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Painting Art Ezine: Color is something every artist needs to know, Color.
April 19, 2022

, welcome to the Ezine!

Color is Something Every Artist Needs to Know

Values are the backbone of successful paintings. But color is what gives life and joy to our paintings.

Color is something every artist should have in their tool belt.

What Do We Need to Know About Color?

For years I bought and used a variety of colors. But I got tired of juggling so many different paint tubes. So I asked the Lord what colors should I have on my palette?

"The rainbow colors", He said. That made sense because I knew when light goes through a prism, it is divided into seven colors. They are the seven colors of the rainbow.

Seven colors are all there are in the universe. All other colors are just variations of the original 7 rainbow colors. The colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet/purple.

How Do We Translate The Colors to Our Palette?

We can mix all the colors for our paintings from these original seven colors. But for convenience a warm and cool version of each color makes mixing colors faster and easier.

Blue and indigo are actually a warm and cool blue. That narrows our color selection down to a warm and cool versions of six colors. (There is a link below to the suggested 12 colors for either oil or watercolor palettes.)

If we want to scale our painting palette down to even fewer colors, we could us a warm and cool version of the primary colors.

Lemon Yellow and Cadmium Yellow

Cadmium Red and Alizarin Crimson

Ultramarine Blue and Phthalocyanine Blue GS

We could scale our palette down even more by using just the primary colors.

Cadmium Yellow Light

Cadmium Red Light

Ultramarine Blue

This primary palette is great for beginning painters. It is an excellent way to learn how to mix and use colors.

Oil or acrylic painters, also need to add a large tube of white to their paint supplies.

How Many Colors Do We Use in a Painting?

Use a limited number of colors in each painting. Three or four colors are perfect for each painting. The paintings will display a beautiful color harmony.

Don't think using only 3 or 4 colors will be boring. A huge number of other colors can be mixed from the original three or four.

You may wonder, why not just buy the other colors instead of spending the time to mix them? Then we would need to inspect the original pigments used in each tube of paint.

What hues and color bias were used in manufacturing the paint? If there is a mixture of pigments (which most all are) what are they and how do they mix with other colors.

They may not mix with other colors at all. More importantly, they may not harmonize with the rest of the colors in our painting.

On top of that some manufactures may use similar names for their paints, but different ingredients. How confusing!

What's the Solution?

Use single pigment colors. Single pigment colors mix well with other colors. They produce clean, clear colors that give joy to our paintings.

We can speed up our mixing by using a warm and cool version of the three primary colors, as noted above.

Color is the joy of painting and single pigment paints give us the best colors.

Color Makes Our Paintings Sing!

Link to recommended colors for watercolor or oils.

Selecting Paint Colors

Feel free to send your questions or comments.

Do you have questions or comments?

Next month “Here's a Shortcut for Composition."

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