How to Use a Color Wheel or How to Choose Colors!

Choosing Colors?

There are times when you choose a piece of art because you want it to compliment your existing décor, not just because “you have to have it.” There are many ways to approach this and a couple of things to think about would be whether or not you want the art work, including paintings, metal sculpture or any other form of media or mixed media, to blend into your existing color scheme and décor or if you prefer that it stands out but yet still creates the visual experience you are looking for.

A helpful tool in playing with color is the color wheel.

Let’s focus on the basics of the color wheel. The color wheel can be used in three ways in helping you choose color for the piece of art looking for or for that custom wall art you may be looking to create.

The first possibility is to use Complementary Colors.

Pick a color on the color wheel then draw a straight line across the color wheel, this is the color’s complement. These colors are basically opposites. On the wheel we started with yellow and its complement or opposite is violet. The complementary colors are used to offset the main color and are thought to complete each other.
There are also split complementary colors which means that once you pick the complimentary you choose one of the colors next to it giving it a more subtle look.

The next approach would be to use Analogous Colors.

This is when you choose a color on the color wheel that is next to the color you are choosing. If we choose yellow the analogous colors would be yellow green and yellow orange. This type of color choice is great when you don’t want to match the exact color for your web design or if you want to use your art work and/or accessories to create the dramatic colors in the room highlighting the art. Quite often neutrals are used when highlighting the art work such as white, off whites, grays and browns, even black.

The final approach we will discuss is the use of Triad Colors.

Choose a color on the color wheel then draw an equilateral triangle to find the two other colors. You will notice that each color has 3 colors between them to form the triangle. Let’s choose violet, the other two colors will be orange and green. These colors would be the secondary colors. The approach organizes the colors in terms of purity but can be a little more difficult to work with.

Please keep in mind that you don’t need to use all the colors chosen but understanding the relationship they have to each helps in selecting colors and working with the existing colors within the room or space you are enhancing with a new piece or pieces of art.

• Be sure to choose colors that go with the theme of the room for example if you have a room that you like to use to relax and maybe read choose colors that are relaxing for you, maybe blues or greens.

• If you have a room that you want to feel more energy in you may want to choose yellows. But be careful, is this a room with a lot of windows? If so, you may not want to use yellow because it is already bright but how about a gold color?

• There are many other ways to use colors such as mono-chromatic schemes which uses any shade (color + black), tone (color + gray) or tint (color + white), but don’t overdue this it can get a bit stale.

Whatever colors you use be sure you love it!

I hope this helps you think of different ways to use color with your artwork. If you have any questions or would like more detail please contact me and I’ll be sure to get back to you.