Tag Archives: personal color palette

Using your Personal Color Palette

Blue-orange Example

Under the Bridge, 24×24″, Acrylic, by Lucinda Howe, with collage used to develop color scheme

Did you make a collage of your favorite color combination in part 3, Analyzing Your Personal Color Palette?  If so, it’s time to use this as a basis for creating art.

Start by collecting your favorite art supplies. You  can use paint, pastels, fabric, or any other medium.  Mix or select colors to match your collage.  Pay attention to value and intensity.

Once you have mixed or selected colors, then choose your subject.  You can choose an abstract or geometric design or find an image that relates to your chosen color scheme.   Draw the design and then paint it with the colors you have chosen.  If you use a photo, you may need to replace some exiting colors with a different color of the same value, but stick with the preselected colors.  This will result in a harmonious color scheme.

This process shakes up the usual method of selecting the subject matter first and reminds you not to be constrained by “real” colors. The painting at the right is an example of this process.  In reality, this  bridge is gray stone, but I replaced the natural colors with colors from my blue and orange collage.

Now it’s your turn.  Make some art and post comments about your results.  Have you enjoyed this process?  Have you developed a color palette that works for you?

Read the other parts of the series..

Part 1:  Developing Your Personal Color Palette

Part 2:  Developing Your Palette Using the Munsell Color Wheel

Part 3:  Analyzing Your Personal Color Palette

Posted in Color Theory

Analyzing Your Personal Color Palette

After reading the first two parts of this series, Developing Your Personal Color Palette and Developing Your Palette Using the Munsell Color Wheel, have you collected samples of colors that appeal to you?  Now it’s time to analyze what you have.  Do you have just a few colors, or did you choose a wide variety?  If you have a variety, sort them into piles that have something in common and choose a favorite combination.

Yellow color scheme

Color Collage: Yellow and Blue-Purple

If you have collected objects, take photos of them and combine the photos with your other pictures to make a collage.  This doesn’t need to be fine art. Just stick them to a piece of paper with a glue stick. I made my collage by gluing my pictures to an 18×24” piece of drawing paper, but you can use any size paper.

Now, think about how your collection of colors can be described using the  three characteristics of color: hue, value, and chroma.  For example, I would describe my collage this way:

  • Hues: Mostly yellow with its complement blue-purple and bits of red-purple and blue-green
  • Value: Full range of light (white and yellow) to dark (blue-purple)
  • Chroma: Mostly high intensity with some less intense lighter colors.  Very few muted or gray colors.

If your collection is mostly leaves and twigs from the forest floor your description may be more like this:

  • Hues: Orange, yellow, green (analogous)
  • Values: Mostly middle values, very little extreme light or dark
  • Chroma: Low intensity, muted, grayed down

These descriptions are very different, aren’t they?  Of course we can see the difference, but this exercise builds a vocabulary for describing color with words.

Let me know how you do with this exercise.  Post the description of your personal color palette in the comments below.

Go to part 4, Using Your Personal Color Palette to learn how to use your new color vocabulary when you make or view art.

Read the other parts of the series..

Part 1:  Developing Your Personal Color Palette

Part 2:  Developing Your Palette Using the Munsell Color Wheel

Part 4:  Using your Personal Color Palette

 

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Developing Your Palette Using the Munsell Color Wheel

Munsell color wheel

Munsell Color Wheel

When I was in elementary school, the color wheel had three primary colors — red, yellow, and blue. Mixing these three colors formed secondary colors — orange, green, and purple.  In the six-color arrangement, there were three pairs of complements, blue/orange, red/green, and yellow/purple.

The traditional form of the color wheel is still being taught today, but I prefer to use an alternative color system developed by Albert Munsell.  The primaries are red, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Secondaries are combinations of these colors, red-yellow (also known as orange), yellow-green, etc.

The color wheel on the right is a simplified version of Munsell’s arrangement.  There is less space between red and yellow, so the complements are different from what we learned in school.  For example, the complement of red is blue-green instead of green. Complements are aligned so that they produce the greatest visual vibration when placed next to each other and produce a neutral gray when mixed.

Understanding a color wheel is the basis for designing any type of color scheme.  Complements will produce the most exciting color schemes. If you prefer less excitement, try combining analogous colors which are close together on the color wheel.  You can also develop interesting color combinations by combining triads of colors spaced one-third of the way around the color wheel from each other.

In part 1 of this series, I asked you to start collecting photos and objects with colors that appeal to you.  Have you started your collection?  Post some comments describing what you have found.   Keep adding to your collection, and next week we’ll talk about how to make sense of your personal colors.

Read the other parts of the series..

Part 1:  Developing Your Personal Color Palette

Part 3:  Analyzing Your Personal Color Palette

Part 4:  Using your Personal Color Palette

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Developing Your Personal Color Palette, Part 1

Blue and Orange Complementary Color Scheme

Have you noticed that you always gravitate toward certain colors in your home or wardrobe?

Do you wonder where to start when building a harmonious color scheme for an art project?

Would you like a more precise vocabulary for describing and mixing colors?

In this series of 4 posts, I will describe ways to identify and use your personal color palette.  These exercises are aimed at collecting or creating art, but can also be used to develop a color palette for your wardrobe or home décor.

Over the years, people have been challenged by how to describe color.  Clothing and paint manufacturers raid the thesaurus to come up with names like “live wire” and “confetti”.  I doubt even Merlin could imagine his namesake color.

In the early part of the 20th century, a painter and art teacher, Albert H. Munsell, developed a system for naming color.  He said that color has three characteristics; hue, value, and chroma.  Hue is the color name such as red or green.  Value is how light or dark it is.  Chroma (also called intensity) describes the purity of the color.  In general, paint straight out of the tube has the highest chroma.  However, there are exceptions.  For example, Hansa yellow has higher chroma than yellow ochre.  The intensity scale moves from pure color toward neutral gray.  All colors can be described using a combination of these terms.   For example, “live wire” is a light-medium value, high chroma, yellow-orange.  And Merlin, bless his heart, is a medium-dark value, medium intensity violet.  Are you getting a better picture?  Being able to describe colors in this way is a good starting point for mixing colors and talking about it with others.

In part 2, I’ll talk more about the Munsell color system and how to use it.

In the meantime, start collecting color samples that appeal to you from magazines, personal photos, favorite objects, and natural elements.  Don’t be concerned about the images; just concentrate on color and try to identify what you like. Later we’ll identify common themes in your collection and build a collage of your personal palette.  At the top of the post is an example of one of my favorites, a high intensity complementary palette of blue and orange, but yours will likely be very different.

Read the other parts of the series..

Part 2:  Developing Your Palette Using the Munsell Color Wheel

Part 3:  Analyzing Your Personal Color Palette

Part 4:  Using your Personal Color Palette

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