examples of artist's painting color schemes
These have been my go-to color schemes for about thirty years and I am happy to
- Let your artistic license run wild.
- But use a color scheme.
- Painting is fun!
Monochromatic paintings are done with only one color.
White will give us various tints of the color.
Adding black will create 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 Burnt Sienna and New Gamboge, a warm 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.
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 are joined together on the color wheel.
This sea shell painting was done from actual shells. Their natural colors were in perfect harmony.
Cardinal 'n' Dogwood
The triad painting color scheme uses three colors spaced equally around the color wheel.
A triad scheme always makes a balanced painting.
Turn the color scheme template around and look at the different colors. Select any three colors that suit your subject.
This painting used the primary colors red, blue and yellow.
The greens and dark colors were easily mixed from the primaries.
The semi-triad painting scheme uses a primary color with the addition of a secondary color.
Primaries are always ideal for mixing other colors.
If we use single pigment colors, our mixed colors will be good for mixing more clean colors.
How to select the best colors for your paint palette.
compliment + 1/2 right
Wren with Morning Glories
Complimentary colors are any two colors directly across from each other on the color wheel.
Move two spaces left or right for the third color.
Any additional colors in the painting are then mixed.
and blue were mixed to create the browns in the wren.
The green leaves are mixed from the warm yellow and blue.
Compliment plus 1/2 right and the compliment plus 1/2 left (next) are my favorite painting color schemes.
compliment + 1/2 left
This color scheme is very similar to the one above in the wren painting.
The difference is we moved from Ultramarine to blue-green.
This painting used Peacock Blue, my favorite watercolor blue-green.
The compliment is orange, I used Burnt Sienna.
Then, moving left one half brought us to the highlight color, a warm yellow.
how do we choose a color scheme?
- That's what I used to wonder.
- Nowadays it's easy to pick a color scheme.
first - we need a color wheel
The best option is to paint a color wheel from our paint palette.
We may purchase a color wheel, but we are already familiar with the colors we use most often.
When we choose colors from our homemade color wheel, we have a good idea what they will look like in our selected painting scheme.
second - make some color templates
Make templates of the eight painting color schemes.
I made some color scheme templates from newsprint about thirty years ago. Today, I still use them to select the colors for my paintings.
third - choose a color scheme
Try different schemes over our color wheel.
Try each template over the color wheel to find one that suits our individual painting.
We usually have an idea of the general colors and mood of our intended painting.
Look for what will be the dominate color in the focal area.
Almost, always we need a complimentary color for mixing the darks in the painting.
An additional color is usually the one used for highlights or mixing more colors.
Get more details on choosing colors for a painting.
now it is your turn -
- Make your own color wheel and painting color
- Select your color schemes.
- Then enjoy painting beautiful, harmonious paintings!