Achieving a sense of color harmony in painting is something that we all strive for as artists, but some of us just never seem to get there and eventually become frustrated and give up.
It is no surprise that color harmony is so difficult to achieve. For one, there are so many different colors to choose from today, and when you have this many choices, things can become rather confusing. Secondly, it is very difficult to find any clear cut advice on this topic.
Hopefully the following tips will help you get a better grasp on color in your painting and you will finally be on your way toward Mastering Color.
One of the most effective methods that will help you harmonize your paintings is to switch to a limited palette of colors. A limited palette simply means that you are reducing the number of colors on your palette.
You will only have a small handful of colors to choose from and you will be required to mix all the colors that you need. Because you are using the same small handful of colors, you become more knowledgeable about those specific colors. More knowledge means better control and more harmonious paintings. Too many different colors can lead to chaos in a painting. With a limited palette, you aren’t distracted by a full spectrum of hues, leaving you more time to focus on the project at hand.
The colors that you choose for your limited palette are completely up to you. There are no right or wrong palettes, but you may be interested in trying the following colors.
This is a palette that Richard Robinson uses. Richard is the creator of the Home Study Course Called Mastering Color. If anyone knows about Color Harmony, it is Richard.
I just recently got my hands on his course and I learned more about Color Harmony from his DVD than from years of reading books and taking classes elsewhere. His course completely opened my mind and made me think of color in a way that I never thought possible. His course is what inspired me to write this post.
Here is Richard’s Palette: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Mid, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.
Richard uses and recommends an oil paint brand called Archival Oils. You can learn more about them below:
Chroma Archival Oil Colors
Chroma Archival Oils is a line of professional-quality artists’ oil paints that includes an assortment of Series 1 “Gold Series” colors at a student-grade price.
The Gold Series completes a mixing palette that is much more highly pigmented and satisfying for students and professors to use in the classroom. All Gold Series colors are denoted in the table below with an asterisk (*).
With a formulation of “perfected consistency” and a rich, buttery texture, Archival Oils appeal to all oil artists, from beginners to experts. When combined with Chroma Archival Odorless Mediums, they dry quickly on the painting, but remain workable on the palette.
As Archival paintings dry, cure, and become stable, their surface layers stretch to accommodate movement below, allowing artists to complete their work quickly without harming it, even when complex layering techniques are used. Age-cracking does not occur on paintings created using Archival Oils.
Use Chroma Archival Oils with Chroma Archival Odorless Mediums for a healthier and more pleasant working environment.
Many professional instructors recommend starting with a palette of even less colors than the colors above. They recommend starting with just two colors: some kind of earth color like burnt sienna combined with white. This enables the artist to focus on form and value only and not get distracted with too many colors.
Once they have enough working knowledge of just two colors, they are then permitted to incorporate a third color, a blue for instance, so that they are now working with a warm and cool color. Then they are permitted to incorporate some sort of red, then yellow, etc..
Give a limited palette a try and see what paintings you can come up with!