Color Palettes

What colors do you need to start painting With so many colors available, which ones should you buy when you first start painting with acrylics? While we all know it’s possible to mix a rainbow of colours from just three primary colours (blue, red, and yellow), most of us don’t, preferring the ease of being able to squeeze a particular colour out of a tube. And some colours are simply brighter or darker than anything you can mix. The colors listed here make up a good basic palette of acrylic colors and from it you should be able to mix all the colors you’ll want.

Color Harmony

Harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, a balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it's either boring or chaotic. At one extreme is a visual experience that is so bland that the viewer is not engaged. The human brain will reject under-stimulating information. At the other extreme is a visual experience that is so overdone, so chaotic that the viewer can't stand to look at it. Color harmony delivers visual interest and a sense of order.

Cool Colors

Colors like blue, green, and purple (violet). These colors evoke a cool feeling because they remind the things like water or grass. It gives an impression of calm, and creates a soothing impression. Colors like blue, green, and purple (violet). These give an impression of calm, and create a soothing impression.

Warm Colors

The colors of red, orange, and yellow are considered warm colors because they are the colors of fire. These hues are also said to advance, meaning they appear to come forward, making the walls feel closer. Thus, they can actually make a room feel cozy when used in decorating.

Monochromatic Color Scheme

The monochromatic color scheme uses variations in lightness and saturation of a single color. This scheme looks clean and elegant. Monochromatic colors go well together, producing a soothing effect. The monochromatic scheme is very easy on the eyes, especially with blue or green hues.

Analogous or Adjacent Color Scheme

The analogous color scheme uses colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. One color is used as a dominant color while others are used to enrich the scheme. The analogous scheme is similar to the monochromatic, but offers more nuances.

Complementary Color Scheme

The complementary color scheme consists of two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This scheme looks best when you place a warm color against a cool color, for example, red versus green-blue. This scheme is intrinsically high contrast.

Triadic Color Scheme

The triadic color scheme uses three colors equally spaced around the color wheel. This scheme is popular among artists because it offers strong visual contrast while retaining harmony and color richness. The triadic scheme is not as contrasting as the complementary scheme, but it looks more balanced and harmonious.