Paint Color Schemes

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You have selected the subject for your painting, determined the support and the medium you will use. The next task is laying out your palette. If you are a beginning art student, the colors in your tabouret may be minimal. You have fewer choices to make. However, if you are past the beginning stage or are just a paint junky, you may have a drawer overflowing with tubes of paint. If you are unable to resist the impulse to buy every new color that comes along, you have to decide which hues will work best with the color scheme you have in mind for your painting. Do you have a color scheme in mind? Scheming Whether or not you plan to paint a still life in the colors you see before you, or create an abstract that is entirely non-representational, you will decide several things about your palette. There is a basic question of lightness and darkness. Will the painting have high contrast or will you use understated passages of light and dark? Are the colors vibrant or subdued? Will the paint choices be analogous, complementary, limited palette, monochromatic or a full range of hues? A conscientious decision of all these factors will help the artist formulate a color plan for his painting. If he fails at least to think of these things, he may end up with a very jarring, unappealing or boring painting merely because he chose the wrong colors. Plotting Just as the student plans his composition, he may find it helpful to plot out his color layout. Strong contrast will draw the eye to that area. It will become a focal point or center of interest. Complementary colors or strong lights and darks used adjacent to each other will attract the viewer’s attention. Plan where you want your focal points, as well as passages that will lead the... ... middle of paper ... ...before rushing headlong into paint flinging. The artist may make several compositions and color sketches, which may each have potential for completed paintings. Setting them aside for a brief period can allow the artist to return to view them with fresh eyes. Conversely, having them in view for a day or two can allow the artist to ponder the good and bad points, allowing new ideas to ferment. In either case, time is not of the essence unless there is a deadline looming on the horizon. An artist can deviate from any color scheme and create a successful painting. The potential for this occurring improves exponentially with the student’s growing experience and ability to observe. These suggestions are ones that an artist of any level can incorporate into their painting habits, and even the most experienced of painters utilize some of these tenets at some level.
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