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The Color Mix

Mood & Temperature: Warm and Cool Palettes



We are all affected by color, regardless of whether we realize it. Studies show that color schemes make us feel certain ways. Warm colors, such as red, orange, yellow, and light green, are exciting and energetic. Cool colors, such as dark green, blue, and purple are calming and soothing. Use these color schemes as tools to express the mood of the painting. In fact, you'll find that you don't even need a subject in your painting to communicate a particular feeling; the abstract works below demonstrate how color is powerful enough to stand on its own.

Warm Palette

warm palette

What is this a painting of? Who knows! It doesn't matter. The point here is to express a mood or a feeling. Here the mood is hot, vibrant passion. Energetic reds and oranges contrast the cool accents of blue and purple.

Cool Palette

cool palette

A much different feeling is expressed in this painting. It is one of calm and gentle inward thought. The red-orange accents create and exciting counterpoint to the overall palette of cool greens and blues.

Text and images excerpted from Watercolor Made Easy: Expressive Color by Joseph Stoddard

How do you use color to evoke emotion in your artwork?




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Art, like life, should be free, since they are both experimental.

George Santayana

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