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.

Colors- color theory or not, learn to see them and mix them

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 color wheel? 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.

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.

612425_BLICK Eco-Friendly Products

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!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

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 …

Click here to write your own.


Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Custom Search

Click here to watch video

Learn to draw well online.
click me

Have you already learned how to draw but like to further fine tune your skill? Read my review on this drawing tool that will just do the work! or simply look at this drawing tool here.

Site Build It!
Read my journey with SBI here.