Color Theory – The “reduced color palette” for a floral watercolor

by | 12.04.2018 | Watercolor paints, Watercolors of flowers | 0 comments

The “reduced color palette” from the color theory for an exciting flower watercolor


I often get asked, if there is a concept for color schemes for paintings. Beginners or not yet experienced hobby painters want a safe color concept to get more security in the color composition of their pictures. If you have difficulty finding the right color for your painting, it is adviseable to limit the color selection. The theory of colors gives information about a reduced color palette. Here I show you a very easy to use color composition.  Its only mixed with a single color. I explain it with green but it works very well with blue and other shades. 


First, mix the green color with its neighbor colors. The color wheel below shows that the neighbor colors from green, are blue and yellow. The mixtures give yellowish warm greens and bluish cold greens.

Next you need a color that is opposite to the green in the color wheel, the so-called complementary color. In the color wheel you can see its a red. The mixture of complementary colors always results in cloudy color or also called broken color. These are important for shadows and backgrounds. Now experimenting and mixing is important to get to know the possibilities of this color palette.

This is important if you use a limited color palette in a painting

If I only use a limited color selection, it is important to set contrasts in the image to achieve excitement. Make warm and cold color contrasts as well as strong light and dark contrasts.  And the broken colors, when combined with the pure colors, help them to greater luminosity.

For my watercolors I usually put the colors spontaneously and intuitively into the picture. But for my rose watercolor, see above, I used the limited color palette for the green leaves. For the development of the flower heads I used the red stronger as a complementary color. But in the shade color of the roses heads, the green is included again. In this way you can approach and find beautiful color compostitons with a limited color palette. 

I hope you like my articles and I would be happy if you give me feedback. Or write me if you have questions.

Have fun experimenting!

Your Angela Tatli

PS: For my rose watercolor, I worked on a watercolor paper from Canson 300 g / m² with a format of 76 x 56.

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Ich bin Aquarellistin aus Leidenschaft und schreibe hier in meinem Blog über Kunst.