One of the secrets to great color harmony is how you organize your palette. Laying out your palette might seem simple, but many beginners do not do this in the right way. It is important to have a logical organization and flow to the sequence of colors on your palette. If you organize your palette logically, you will find color mixing much easier and you will end up with much more beautiful color in your paintings. This is how.
Color harmony secrets
One of the best ways to layout your palette is to arrange the hues in a spectral order. In other words, lay the colors out in the order of a rainbow. Then if you want to make a color warmer or cooler, you simply mix a little of the adjacent color into your mix.
Another tip is to organize your mixing areas logically. Reserve areas on your palette for dark colors, light colors, and grays.
When you are mixing colors, drag them into the mixing area to make colors that harmonize well. Do not pick up small amounts of color and create lots of small color mixing areas. You can easily lose harmony that way.
A beginner palette
It is best for beginners to start off with a simple palette like this warm/cool primary palette. This is a logical layout of colors organized by value from light colors on the left to darker colors on the right. When you are starting out, these are all the colors you will need. There are two of each of the three primary colors: a cool (bluer) version and a warm (redder) version of each.
To learn more
We have built an advisor tool to help you choose oil colors. There are a lot of potential palettes you can use, and this tool will help you decide.
Beginners can see more lessons on color and palette layouts in our Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice program.
To learn much more about how to achieve beautiful color harmony in your paintings, as well as learn about other extremely useful tube colors you can add later on to your palette, see the Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Pro Program.
‘Ladder of Learning’ adds to overall positive experience of this awesome course
The VAA course is built on four main building blocks including PROCESS, REALISM, MUSIC AND POETRY. These are further divided into topics that are continuously developed throughout the curriculum. Drawing, Form, Observation, Colour, Brushwork, Notan, Composition and Poetry are all thoroughly taught. Working on-line we meet students from all around the world, interacting with them regularly in a process we call the ‘Ladder of Learning’. We help each other regularly as we proceed and this adds to the overall positive experience of this awesome course.