There are many things to think about when getting ready
to paint. Here are a few examples of mood-setting color
combinations that may help you to achieve harmony within
The guidelines for attaining tranquil color schemes are
exactly the opposite of those used to create a striking
mood. Use cool colors like blue and green. Secondary
colors like these, along with turquoise and purple
are more calming that the primary colors.
Another thing to consider is to avoid high contrast.
Pinks and pale blue are more tranquil than vivid shades.
Black and white are striking, while gray is tranquil.
An exciting color scheme makes use of bright red and
strong contrasts, not necessarily the other primary
colors. An example might be red contrasted with unusual
secondary colors like yellow-orange, or pale green
and purple. In general, warm and secondary colors are
more exciting than cool or primary colors. Exciting
colors will clash with each other, like red and purple.
To calm theses exciting colors slightly, use a dark
color like gray or black to mediate between the clashing
Natural colors are subtle, complicated hues that are
often dark, and muted, never gaudy. Dark brown is made
from all three primary colors, with black added. Since
natural color schemes tend to look a little drab and
lifeless, it’s often helpful to include at least
one brighter hue. Don’t make it too bright though
or it will overwhelm your other colors.
Colors and combinations of colors that we don’t
see in everyday life seem surprising. Colors now considered
fashionable like the pink and turquoise scheme of South
Florida looked a bit strange when they first arrived
on the scene. Almost any color scheme will become acceptable.
The trick is to be the first to think of it. Three colors
we don’t see very much of in nature are the process
colors used in the world of printing, namely magenta,
yellow and cyan. A lot of new wave designs use these
More next month on ‘Choosing and Knowing your
Art Perspectives from Shirley Reade ©