Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Studio Tip: Using an Analogous Color Wheel

'Once By The Ocean' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis
Do you have an Analogous Color Wheel? It is one of my favorite tools for creating a pleasing and harmonious color scheme. I find that I am drawn to analogous color palettes. They are often serene and can make the viewer feel comfortable, but since there isn't much contrast they can benefit from a little spicing up. That's where my Analogous Color Wheel comes in handy.

Analogous Color Wheel by Art Video Productions

This great studio tool is made of heavy duty cardboard with a wheel that rotates so that you can easily see your dominant hue and related complements and discords. It is based on the Munsell color wheel which uses five primary colors instead of the usual three (red,yellow and blue) of the traditional color wheel. Read more about the Munsell Color System Here. I like the way the complements shift slightly with this system creating more pleasing color palettes (for my taste)
This color wheel is very helpful when you are planning your colors or when you feel your painting lacks some color punch. Read blow to see how the Analogous Color Wheel helped me choose the colors for my wave painting.


Close-up showing the use of the complement and discords of my dominant hue

  • I began by choosing an analogous color scheme of Green, Blue-Green and Yellow-Green all neighbors on the color wheel.
  • I used various tints and shades of these colors with the greens being a bit more dominant than the others.
  • If I only used these three colors my painting would lack something so I looked at my color wheel for help. You use a small amount of the complement..a larger amount if it isn't full strength. You can also use a tiny bit of the discords in equal amounts.
  • On the Analogous Color Wheel the complement of my dominant color is Red-Purple. So I introduced a lighter red-purple into the surf.
  • Discords are like spices. A little goes a long way. They are usually used in equal amounts near the center of interest. In my painting the discords are orange and blue-purple.
  • I used a pale orange in the light part of the wave and a spot of blue purple in the shadow area.

5 comments:

Julie Ford Oliver said...

A lovely painting with movement and good color harmony. Thanks for the tips on using the wheel.

Karen said...

Thanks Julie. I'm glad you enjoyed today's post!

Dawn Boyer said...

This is great. I was just thinking the day before yesterday that I wanted to do an analogous painting, but I was concerned about it being boring, so I decided to wait. And then, there was your blog post! Thank you!

Donna T said...

Thanks for pointing out this wheel, Karen; I just ordered one. I hope it will be more useful to me than the regular wheel I have.

Karen said...

Thanks Dawn & Donna! It is a great tool!