Deciding what colors to use in a painting is more of a science than you think

Art lessons on Video; beginner through advanced tips and technique on how to paint with watercolor.

Color schemes, the painting techniques used to introduce harmony or dissonance to your paintings. This is a lesson on the watercolor painting technique of using color effectively.


To be effective, color needs to follow a plan. Thankfully, there are only a few plans that really work, and they can be formularized. Very little in art is as easily understood as color. That's amazing, because color is the most subjective of the compositional elements. Beyond the basics of color alone (hue) is the concept of darkening the color (shades), and lightening the color (tints). This is referred to as neutrals and semi-neutrals. Semi-neutrals (potentiate) the colors and make them sing. The color schemes covered are:


A monochromatic color scheme is a simple watercolor painting technique.

MONOCHROMATIC. A single hue which can be darkened or lightened but exists alone in a painting.

Analogous colors bring harmony to a painting

A group of colors that constitute a wedge of the color wheel. Thereis no exact definition of the width if the pie slice, but thenarrower the safer. We can safely widen the wedge using semi-neutral colors. Analogous paintings arealways serene, because there is harmony between the colors


COMPLEMENTARY. Colors exactly across the wheel from each other are said to be complementary. Complementary paintingssetup a contrastand potential conflict because the colors are opposites.

Complementary and split complementary color schemes are the color techniques I usually us in my paintings.

SPLIT COMPLEMENTARY. A group of analogous colors with the addition of the exact complement of the center color in the analogous group. This color scheme is the most complicated, colorful and potentially interesting.

It sounds very difficult but in this 10 minute lesson, you will find it quite understandable.. The knowledge gained is not only useful in creating paintings, but also applies to such everyday issues such as getting dressed or furnishing your surroundings.

Watercolor palette showing a warm and cool paint for each of the primary colors This is a map of the captains color palette.
See materials list below...

The map shows the location of each of the paints. The group on the left are the sedimentary colors. Those in the right are the non sedimentary colors. The palette is just a cut down ice cube tray

Burnt Sienna
0 - Red
Yellow Ochre
1 - Yellow
2 - Green
Cerulean Blue
3 - Blue
  ...( non sed. )
Phthalo Blue
4 - Cool Blue
Ultramarine Blue
5 - Warm Blue
Pyrrol Red
6 - Warm Red
Info Alizarin Crimson
( Quinacridone )

7 - Cool Red
Arylide Yellow FGL
8 - Warm Yellow
Arylide Yellow Deep
9 - Cool Yellow

140 Lb. Cold Pressed
140 Lb. Cold Pressed

The warmest color is orange

The coolest color is middle-blue

A warm red would be like a tomato (orangy)

A cool red Is like a strawbery (purpleish)

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