Color Wheel using only Three primary colors

Color Wheel using only Three primary colors of watercolor paint.

I don’t ask my students to take the time to create new color wheels if I don’t do it myself. This afternoon I made sample color wheels in both watercolor and oil, both from a limited palette of only three colors. For the watercolor wheel I used Winsor Newton Artists’ Water Colors: New Gamboge, Quinacridone Red and French Ultramarine. For the oil wheel I used Winsor Newton Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine Blue. Though I have recently been using a limited palette of six colors, a warm and cool each of yellow, red and blue, I had forgotten the full spectrum of gorgeous color that can be created from a limited palette of only three colors.

Color Wheel using only three primary colors of oil paint

Color Wheel using only three primary colors of oil paint

I encourage artists to create color wheels using the medium and colors they normally work with. The color wheels are then personal and extremely useful in the field when used with the various templates that can assist in determining a color theme based on the time of day and current weather conditions. Focusing on color selections before starting a painting can lead to playful brushstrokes and a more enjoyable exploration of the colors in the highlights and shadows of the landscape, figure or still life.

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