6 Color Schemes for the Serious Oil Painter

Have you ever started a painting and then hours into it found yourself muddling around with the colors unsure which direction to go?  Have you ever wanted a simple way to think about your color compositions?  Are you still unsure about how to design color into the total concept of your oil painting?

Your color schemes need to be thought out well in advance before you begin painting.  Settling on a strong color scheme for your work of art in the initial stages of planning can save you hours of time once you are fully into the process of actual painting.

 

Here are 6 basic color schemes and ideas on using them.

Complementary Color Scheme

#1. Complementary color scheme
Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementarycolors (example: red and green).

The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation. This color scheme must be managed well so it is not jarring.

Complementary color schemes are tricky to use in large doses, but work well when you want something to stand out.

Complementary colors are really bad for text.

 

Analogous Color Scheme

#2. Analogous color scheme
Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs.

Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

Make sure you have enough contrast when choosing an analogous color scheme.

Choose one color to dominate, a second to support. The third color is used (along with black, white or gray) as an accent.

 

 

Triadic Color Scheme

#3. Triadic color scheme
A triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.

Triadic color schemes tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues.

To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.

 

 

 

Split Complementary Color Scheme

#4.Split-Complementary color scheme
The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement.

This color scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme, but has less tension.

The split-complimentary color scheme is often a good choice for beginners, because it is difficult to mess up.

 

 

Tetradic Color Scheme

#5.Rectangle (tetradic) color scheme
The rectangle or tetradic color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementary pairs.

This rich color scheme offers plenty of possibilities for variation.

Tetradic color schemes works best if you let one color be dominant.

You should also pay attention to the balance between warm and cool colors in your design.

 

 

Square Color Scheme

#6. Square color scheme
The square color scheme is similar to the rectangle, but with all four colors spaced evenly around the color circle.

Square color schemes works best if you let one color be dominant.

You should also pay attention to the balance between warm and cool colors in your design.

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About Gary Bolyer Fine Art

I am a New York City-based landscape artist.
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One Response to 6 Color Schemes for the Serious Oil Painter

  1. Pingback: Mastering the 7 Key Components of Value: How to Paint Like a Modern-Day Rembrandt | Gary Bolyer Fine Art

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