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Paint color knowledge art how to.

Updated on October 9, 2014

Is your color knowledge limited to basic Primary school art but you need to know more to improve your artworks? Read on for some easy to understand helpful ideas that should improve your knowledge and artwork by the time you finish reading!

Using colors

I have written this hub with watercolor paints in mind. Other media are the same when following these rules with color but may not have transparency which is a consideration when using watercolour. For example using acrylic paint when mixing colors will generally result as an opaque color.

Limited Palettes

Limited palettes are used to develop an understanding of the use of color. The six color system uses two reds, two yellows and two blues with a warm and cool version of each.



Value and Chroma - 'High Key and Low Key Color'

Each pigment has a relative ability to reflect or absorb light (value) and each color has a relative intensity (chroma). Those which reflect a greater quantity of light or have a high intensity make ‘high key’ colors, for example Cadmium Yellow. Those which absorb less light or have a low intensity make ‘low key’ colors, for example Yellow Ochre.

Every color is relatively transparent or opaque and this also affects color mixing. Colors can be mixed by placing layers of transparent colors on the surface rather than directly on the palette. Depth is built up in paintings by this method, it is called ‘glazing’.


… color scheme uses variations in intensity of a single color.

Complementary colors are a color and its after-image.

... two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.

Complementary colors enhance each other when close together. Each looks more vivid.

...but neutralize each other when mixed.


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    • Frangipanni profile image

      Frangipanni 5 years ago

      Good morning BlossomSB. Glad you found it easy to follow. Thanks for the comment and dropping by. Have a great weekend.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Well thought out and useful. Love it and thank you.