- You can create harmonious paintings when you know how to choose painting colors.
I normally use only three to five colors in a painting. All the other colors in the painting are mixed from these colors.
There were so many colors to choose from. Which colors are the best ones to use?
Use my easy method to select paint colors for your paintings.
Two Stripies - Banded Butterfly Fish
my color education
I learned to paint with oil paints. I just used the colors the
instructor said. Sometimes I looked at an object and used what seemed
Then just before the turn of the century, about twenty years ago, someone gave me a Christmas present of a calendar with watercolor paintings on it.
I was intrigued and I wanted to give watercolor a try.
Back then I never had heard of odorless stuff to clean my oil paint brushes. It was winter and I didn't want to open the window for ventilation.
So watercolors - here I came!
i got more colors
I started buying watercolor paints. Someone gave me a used rectangular watercolor palette. I filled it with paints, but I was always hunting for certain colors. It was a bit cumbersome to me.
So I purchased a round palette that held twenty-four colors with extra space in the corners to hold an additional eight colors. I was so pleased with my new palette and all the beautiful colors.
it was confusing
I liked all the beautiful colors, but it was confusing to paint with so many colors.
i knew, if you use too many different colors in one painting, the painting has no
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 painting colors! Hmm -
So I started reading, studying and pouring
thru my painting library. I was searching for how to choose painting colors.
I came up with a plan!
make a color wheel
I made myself a color wheel from the watercolor paints I was using.
I drew and cut out a circle of mat board.
Poster board or any heavy type of paper would work fine for making your own color wheel.
I painted twelve colors on the color wheel from the paints I was using.
I made this years ago and I still use it today for all my paintings.
There is a warm and cool version of each of the six basic colors.
I Made A Color Wheel
From My Palette Colors
make color scheme templates
Certain color schemes are commonly used by artists. I cut out the color scheme templates from newsprint.
These are images of the templates. Today, almost twenty years later I still use the same templates.
how to choose painting colors
I have been using these templates for many years now to choose the colors for my paintings.
using the templates
I look for the main color of the focal point of my proposed
painting. If the painting is a landscape, I look
for the overall color of the landscape.
- First, I put the
color schemes over the main color I will be using.
Then I try the various color schemes over my color wheel. I always include the main color in the scheme.
- Choose a
color scheme with additional colors that suit the rest of the proposed painting.
Choosing My Paint Color Scheme
Make sure the scheme includes complimentary colors for mixing dark values.
using the selected colors
After the color scheme is selected, I
paper clip it to my color wheel. Only my
selected three or four colors will be showing.
I hang this on the wall to keep it in front of me when I am painting.
Then I am not tempted to use all the other colors on my palette.
This gives my paintings cohesiveness and it works for me. I have been
doing this for years and I still use the same color wheel and color
schemes that I made years ago.
Now you know how to choose painting colors.
- Make a color wheel from your paints.
- Use a template to choose your color schemes.
Choose Your Colors