Artist love color, but there is such a bewildering array of colors!
Your paintings will have more cohesion and harmony. Your viewers will find pleasure and peace in viewing your paintings.
Any additional colors are then mixed. Your paintings will exhibit color harmony because the additional colors are mixed from your original color scheme.
Over 20 years ago, I learned this method of selecting the colors for each individual painting. Today the method still works for me.
You may purchase a color wheel.
You are familiar with the colors you commonly use in your paintings.
So when you choose colors from your homemade color wheel, you know exactly what colors to use in each painting.
You can use any type of paper. These templates were cut out of newsprint.
Cut out your templates the same size as your color wheel.
These are the templates I made years ago. And I still use them today.
The painting color schemes I use most often are the Compliment + Left 1/2 and the Compliment + Right 1/2.
(The examples are the giraffe above and the turtle below.)
My second favorite is the Split Compliment template.
Here the main subject was the turtle. Burnt sienna, a red-orange was his dominant color.
The compliment of burnt sienna is the blue-green. We need complimentary colors to mix the dark colors.
Yellow was great for the sunlight areas of the painting. Some painting color schemes may include another color or two like in an analogous scheme.
After you select a painting color scheme, you will know what colors to use from your palette.
The color scheme will keep you on track and give you a beautiful, harmonious paintings.
These have been my go-to color schemes for over twenty years and I am happy to share.
White will give you various tints of the color.
Adding black will create various shades of the color.
This orangutan is basically orange, so it is the closest monochromatic painting from my current work.
It was painted with Quinacridone Sienna. The addition of its compliment, (Ultramarine Blue) made the black and neutral shades.
One of my earliest painting lessons was to do a painting with only one color.
Monochromatic paintings teach us to see and use values in our paintings.
Compliments are any two colors directly across the color wheel from each other.
Complimentary colors can be used for high contrast paintings.
Compliments are also used for mixing darks and other neutral colors.
In this painting I used the color yellow-green with its compliment red-violet.
The red-violet mixed with the yellow-green gave the darker leaves. The mixture also gave the neutral colors for the background.
White softened the colors for a lovely rose painting.
Here I used the same two compliments as the rose painting.
But to give the painting more variety, I added a color next to each compliment.
This gave me some brighter colors for the highlights by adding yellow.
The addition of purple gave more depth to the darks.
Some artists call this a rectangular color scheme.
A split compliment color scheme uses the colors on each side of the direct compliment.
Here I chose orange and new gamboge yellow with ultramarine blue.
Blue and orange are compliments for making the darks to darken the feathers, his dark beak and eye.
Yellow was used for the highlights on his chest.
Complimentary colors are any two colors directly across from each other on the color wheel.
Move two spaces left or right for your third color.
Any additional colors in the painting are mixed.
Orange and blue are mixed to create the browns in the wren.
The green leaves are mixed with the yellow and blue.
Compliment plus a right half and compliment plus a half left (the turtle painting) are my favorite color schemes.
The triad painting color scheme uses three colors spaced equally around the Color Wheel.
A triad color scheme gives a balanced painting.
Turn the color scheme template and select any three equally spaced colors that suit your subject.
This painting uses the primary colors red, blue and yellow.
The greens and dark colors were easily mixed from these primary colors.
The semi-triad painting color schemes use two primary colors with the addition of a secondary color.
Primary colors are always ideal for mixing other colors.
If you use single pigment colors, the secondary colors are also good for mixing.
An analogous color scheme is made of three or more adjoining colors anywhere on the color wheel.
They may be either warm or cool colors or a combination.
Analogous colors have automatic color harmony because they join each other on the color wheel.
This sea shell painting was done from actual shells. Their natural colors were in perfect harmony.
Make your own color wheel and painting color