Saturday, October 6, 2018

How to choose colors

How to choose color schemes is mostly likely a problem that a lot of people have including you if you are reading this article. If you are just starting out in art or thinking about purchasing ceramic wall art for a home decorating project most likely you have encountered questions like decorating ideas for white walls for the interior of your house or how to choose color schemes for your bedrooms and more.

Usually you have a great drawing or you have lots of ideas for décor but draw a blank when it comes to choosing colors. I know because this happens to me so I share your thoughts. 

When thinking of your color scheme you should think of colors as part of your work and not an afterthought. For example, look at David Michael Jackson landscape paintings. He uses a lot of greens but not all the same shade of green. The different shades of greens make the artwork more interesting. Make sure to give the same amount of thought to your color scheme as you did for your art project or your home decorating scheme.

You want your end result to look like it was all planned together and flows smoothly. One really good tips is to start thinking about colors in advance or at least very early in your art of home decorating planning stage.

Hack #1 Start thinking about your color scheme early. 

One easy way to choose colors is to decide on a mood. If you are having trouble deciding on a mood then you can always research other artworks similar to yours or look at other decorating ideas with the same or similar schemes to see what colors they used.

For example, look at the color schemes used in abstract art. This will give you some great good ideas. Also, you can always go by the general rule of warm and cool colors. See my article entitled 10 clever home color hacks for choosing colors to learn more. In this article I go into detail about cool tones that inspire relaxation and meditations and when to use them. Not only do I explain when to use them but also when they are most effective. In addition to cool tones I also reveal warm tone hacks. I explain what situations are best used with warm tones. And when lighting and other factors can decide the best color option for you. After reading my article you will know how to choose color schemes for the interior of your house.

Hack #2 How to choose color schemes by prototyping. 

Prototyping is the process of creating a sample or model of the artwork or end result before the final version is built. This lets you learn from the process of creating the model.

I often create paper samples of my artwork in different colors to get a good visual of the colors. After creating a sample or prototype I will either decide to create another sample in a similar or entirely different color scheme.

It’s much easier to change the colors while everything is still on paper. You can also do this with paint on a wall. Choose sections to paint in various shades of color and then decide which color to choose. This is easier than painting the entire room and then decide the color is not what you anticipated. I have used this method before with great success when choosing color schemes for bathrooms and bedrooms.

Hack #3 Think about contrast when choosing a color scheme. 

One of the most important concepts and important parts of your artwork or décor is contrast. You want a color scheme to provide a color contrast. This gives visual impact and make your artwork or decorating scheme interesting. Even very light or subtle contracts can make a visual statement and provide interest. See my article entitled best color combinations that look great together to learn more.

The easiest way to create contrast is to use saturation or intensity of a color. 

Value or the lightness or darkness of a color. Temperature and value. Read my article decorating ideas for white walls to learn more about contrast.

Even in an all-white room you can have contrast to make things interesting. Something as simple as painting the trim in a darker shade of white can add enough of a subtle contract to make a difference. Let’s take a closer look at my artwork looking at the color schemes I used and why. This will help you in choosing your colors and coming up with your own decorating scheme. Feel free to look at my online store and purchase wall art for your decorating project.

Dark Horse. Photo by Ed B.

In this example called the “Dark Horse” wall art, I am using a de-saturated background, light brown with a highly saturated, dark brown foreground. The contrast is between the de-saturated background and the highly saturated foreground.

There are no in-between saturation used. It’s either light or dark. Colors used are warm yellow-brown background with a highly saturated dark brown. This scheme tends to make your eyes focus on the dark horse immediately. The background contains very light variations and the appearance of grass to provide visual interest. Saturation between the background and foreground provides all the contrast. The color scheme used is very simple but really effective.

The dark horse stands out from the background. It’s like a 3D effect. This art work would go well on any light neutral or natural painted wall. 

The “Dark Horse” wall art would look great in a room with earthy tones. Due to the hanging wall art is framed on its own background color, the art work would go well on either a light or dark painted wall. With this piece you really have the best of both worlds.

The dark horse is trimmed in a red accent color to provide interest. The red next to the brown gives just enough color to provide a second look without being too over bearing or noticeable. It works so well it becomes part of the horse and looks very natural.

Bird n Flower. Photo by Ed B

The next art work is called “Bird n Flower”. This hanging wall art is similar to “Dark Horse” in that the art is mounted on a contrasting background. A dark purple background is used as the first background. The second background is a light yellow. Finally the art work of the birds and flowers are framed in the yellow background.

I am using a de-saturated yellow background on top of a highly saturated purple or dark violet background. The contrast is very vivid and bold. 

Using dark violet, yellow and red at the time this was a new color combination for me. According to the color wheel the colors of choice are violet, yellow and orange. But instead of using orange I substituted red.

This is where prototyping comes in. By creating a paper model I was able to visualize substituting red for orange would work. I was able to tell the color combination would be appealing to the eyes while also providing enough contrast to create interest.

Taking colors even farther. By mixing the Primary and Secondary colors in the right proportions you can create that is called Tertiary colors. These are Red-Orange, Red-Purple, Blue-Purple, Blue-Green, Yellow-Green and Yellow-Orange.


I hope this article was of value and you were able to learn a few things about choosing colors.

It’s a good idea to start thinking about your color scheme very early in your wall art project or decorating scheme. 

Don’t for get to use prototyping to get a visual result before finalizing your project. This will allow you to see the different changes in color contrast making your artwork or decor project more interesting.

Posted by:
Hello and my name is Ed and I enjoy working with clay creating ceramic art that is different from traditional clay ceramics made on a potter’s wheel. I have spent years perfecting my techniques working with clay.

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