5 Ways to Create Color Harmony in Your Art

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Are you looking to create more color harmony in your art? Would you like 5 simple color harmony strategies to improve your artwork?

So, I've been working with some oil paints again, which can be a really nice break from using digital all the time.

It really simplifies the workflow sometimes and can be a much more visceral process.

Of course, when you're using traditional oil paints, you have to be deliberate about choosing and mixing your colors. Got me thinking about what kinds of colors I want to be using in my painting, and what kind of color harmony I want to create.

These are the kinds of things I go over in much more detail in my Smart Art Academy course, so if you haven't had a chance to grab it, make sure you sign up here!

So, let's go over some color harmony ideas today. Here are five different color harmonies you can use in your own painting process:

1: Monochromatic

Monochromatic literally means "one color". This could be anything from more greyscale to something with subtle variations of a more vibrant single color.

Using a monochromatic color scheme can often make things look more realistic and moodier and is great for night scenes like the one above.

2. Complementary

Complementary colors are colors that you could say are "opposite" one another on the color wheel. If you go to a color wheel and pick a color on one side, the complementary color will be the one opposite it at 180 degrees. Together, they make a great balancing pair of colors.

But beware — when using complementary colors, you need to make sure to not overdo it, as two complementary colors side by side will create a lot of contrast. If your painting is mostly green, then a little red goes a long way.

3: Analogous

Analogous colors are colors that lie closer to each other in hue and on the color wheel. They work well together simply because they are similar to one another.

Try using analogous colors to create more of a harmonious mood overall, especially with earth tones like in the painting above.

4: Split Complementary

This color harmony is one I use a lot in my paintings. I have a primary color, and then use the complementary of that, but somewhat split up, to give me a simple, harmonious and dynamic color scheme throughout the painting.

While most of this scene is quite desaturated and muted, if we look at the hues, this painting has mainly a blueish green (the seas and that glowing stuff), which is contrasted and harmonized with some oranges (light in the sky, fire and rocks) and purples (the sails).

5: Triadic/Tetradic

There are also triadic and tetradic color harmonies, which use three or four different colors to create vibrant and interesting combinations. They work in the same way as the others — they are simply colors used to balance each other out and achieve a nice harmony.

You can experiment with these on your own to see how they work for you.

And of course, I go over all these points in much more detail in my full course, Smart Art Academyso if you haven't yet, make sure you sign up!

Now go out and give these a try! It can be really inspiring to try a new color combination that you haven't used.

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