Color Schemes Made Easy
Color Schemes are easy if you understand and use a Basic Color Wheel. With a little knowledge and practice you’ll be able to choose paint colors with confidence, plan an interior decorating project, pick colors for a graphic design or create a piece of art.
It seems like there are millions of paint colors to choose from. It can be a little intimidating. Artists all have their own approach to palette selection and there are a lot of different theories. This simplified approach is for those of you trying to ‘get a handle on using color’ harmoniously.
The easiest way to choose a color scheme !
If you’re one of those people who don’t like to follow rules there’s a very simple way to select a palette for your projects …..
Look around you ! Color is everywhere. We’re living with more color in our lives today than at any other time in history. It used to be only the extremely rich who could afford the expensive pigments which were used to make paints, dyes and inks. Today, color is so prevalent that we hardly pay attention.
1. Notice the color palettes being used for art, interior design, advertising, web sites, fabric. The list goes on. Even black, grey and white are colors too. Start noticing the color combinations you find attractive in your world.
2. Take a reference photo, make note in a sketchbook, or keep tear-outs of the ones you like best. Watch your taste change as you become more sensitive to color.
3. Use those color schemes in your projects. This is great for choosing a room palette.
4. If you’re painting creatively, paint palette mixtures to match the ones you want to use.
5. Remember to try and create these colors from as few paints as possible using what you’ve learned as a mixing guide.
6. It’s always helpful to date and keep your reference ideas for future creative projects.
Bonus ! Practice Mixing Color Schemes using my Free Blank Color Wheels
The easiest way to start learning about color.
If you want to mix colors yourself that NEVER clash……..
1. In your paintbox, begin with no more than the SIX Primary and Secondary paint colors + White and Black.
2. Stick to the SIX colors which are pure Yellow, Orange, Red, Violet, Blue, Green until you can use these confidently. You can easily create millions of mixtures with these.
3. Buy paint pigments as close to the Pure Primary as possible with nothing or little added to alter them. They will be quite bright.
4. Truly believe that with practice, these 6 colors + white and black will easily create an endless variety of subtle tints, tones and shades. If you stay within a specific color scheme, your colors can’t clash.
5. Print out the first of the free ColorWheel sheets. Get familiar with your pigments by painting your own Basic or Primary Color Wheel.
7. Mix your paint colors very gradually and test as you go on a separate sheet of paper. Patience is the key. Your pigments can easily be overwhelmed, especially yellow and white.
8. Paint with no more than 2-4 colors + black and white in any one painting until you become skilled with color mixing. Believe it or not this can give you literally millions of variations.
9. Decide how many colors you want to work with for your project.
10. Choose one of the Color Schemes from the ones below. Take out white, black and gray paint to further mix Tints, Shades and Tones.
11. Select your main ‘Mother Color’ and work only with the 2 – 4 colors suggested for your chosen color scheme, plus white, black and gray.
Give it a try. Start mixing paint and see how many variations you can make.
Hot Tip !! Keep it simple ! ”’Have fun !!
The wrong way to choose paint colors …..
Many creative people who work with paint love going to an art supply store. So many colors – so little time. It’s tempting to just buy a tube of what looks like the perfect shade of Yellow-Orangeinstead bothering to mix paint colors every time.
Well, this is usually when things start to go sideways. What looks so luscious in the bottle or tube often clashes with all your other colors. Why ?
That’s because the manufacturer added certain pigments to Primary Yellow to achieve that gorgeous Yellow-Orange. It’s those hidden pigments that get you in trouble. For example, they might add a tiny touch of Blue/Violet to reduce the intensity of the Yellow-Orange. This tiny amount would affect all your colors and make it difficult to control your palette. On the other hand, if you really understand color, you can use it to your advantage.
Working with a Color Scheme Palette
Hot Tip ! Mix paints with a dominant ‘Mother Color’ in mind.
1. Begin by choosing a ‘Mother Color’. This is the main color. For example if you know you want the overall tone of your project to be some variation of green, that’s your “mother color”. That means every other pigment will have Green added to it.
2. Take your ‘Mother Color’ as a starting point on the Basic Color Wheel select one of the Color Scheme Combinations.
3. Mix your 2 – 4 hues palette with each other to create an interesting range of new Hues that don’t clash.
4. Make these new hues lighter, darker and less intense by adding white, grey and tiny drops of black.