Use Color Theory as a Guide when Creating Paintings
What is on your color palette? Why? And how do you harmonize them and keep them clean? Share your insights with us!
Many a color theory abounds, and every artist and art teacher seems to has a favorite.
The good news is that no matter your level, whether you are a beginning or an accomplished master, you really only have to contend with the practical aspect of the color theory.
For example, you want to know how to make colors lighter and darker in value without muddying the mixture. Also you want to know what color to use for shadows and reflections, etc.
When you see colors, you experience an optical response to reflected light waves. White light can be separated into the 7 colors of the spectrum, each with their unique wavelength.
All objects either reflect or absorb these light waves and the reflected waves are the colors we see. For example, an orange takes an orange color because all the other colors besides orange are absorbed and the orange light is reflected.
Choice of colors is very personal. In art, color is used to create moods, provoke emotional responses, lead the eye through a painting, and define depth and form.
Highly technical color theories aside, the color theory you need to be concerned about here is really simple and straightforward
Every child learns at school that blue and yellow make green, red and blue make purple, and red and yellow make orange. Starting from that, you move on to learn other characteristics of colors such as intensity (or saturation) and tone (or value).
Do you have a
If not, you can make your own. In fact, making your own color wheel is probably
the best way to learn about mixing colors and the interactions between different colors.
Identify the 3 key properties of colors
Colors have 3 attributes. They are hue, intensity and tone(or value). Learn to identify and differentiate these 3 qualities and you will soon become keen on colors!
- How to see colors
Nature is your teacher in that it shows you a wide range of colors everywhere. Although you can't possibly reproduce the colors of nature exactly, you can still learn to identify a color with your eyes. This is the first step in learning how to mix paints and colors.
- Start with three primary colors and mix all the colors you want
A typical artist's color wheel is composed of 12 colors. You can learn to start with just 3 primary colors and mix the rest of them. From there, you will be able to mix a great range of colors that are more than sufficient for creating a painting.
I promise that you will learn from this basic, yet profound, approach!
Far from limiting yourself (“only” three colors), you instead gain more freedom to control colors. And it will keep you from spending time and money on colors you do not need.
- Expand the three color palette approach and use the color wheel to your advantage
To continue from above, use analogous, complementary and split complementary colors to spruce up your paintings and give more illumination to your art. Known impressionists, such as Monet or van Gogh, went a step further and used colors for depth and variety.
- 3 steps - How to change the color intensity without changing its value
A very simple way to modify the intensity of your color and keep the same value(tone).
- Tips on how to retain the color intensity
Find out how to keep the brightness of the colors without the danger of getting them too garish, or out of place in the art work.
- Discover how to see tones in colors
Harness the tones in the colors before they confuse you!
- Learn how Monet used broken colors in his paintings.
Ever wonder why the impressionist paintings have airy and cheerful colors?
- Discover how to mix colors like impressionists do.
Witness the demo of using 'full color seeing' method and achieve the luminosity of light in your painting.
- Resources for learning more about colors
Color sensitivity takes time to develop, but it can be learned.
Wouldn't it be exciting to learn how to mix colors and gain control over the process instead of the other way around? Then you can develop your own color theory and be even more free to express yourself through art.
At first, however, just stick to 'how' and you will go a long way.
What's On Your Palette and How Do You Mix Your Colors?
Every artist has his or her set of eyes viewing the colorful world around us. You probably have had some success with your unique selection of colors on your palette. Please share with us. How do you mix your colors? Why do you prefer some color palette? How do you harmonize your colors? We want to hear what you have to say!
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
My Palette Not rated yet
I learned my choice of palette from a teacher who is primarily classically trained. I have these many colors for many years. I have some brown colors, …
Lots of Colors Not rated yet
I have about 17 colors on my palette. I love impressionistic paintings and that is how I I like to paint. I know what many people expect to see in impressionistic …
A Limited Palette of 6 Colors Not rated yet
Hi, I have about six colors on my palette. They are titanium white, ivory black, ultramarine blue, oxide red, lemon yellow and cadmium orange. This palette …
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