Choosing Colors to Communicate Your Theme

Choosing colors to communicate your theme is part of any kind of painting whether you be attempting to paint in acrylic or paint in oils. 

When it comes to painting in watercolors learning how to use colors can make the difference between producing a masterpiece or something very muddy looking.

In general colors that are darker are used to convey more melancholy or depressing themes and colors that are lighter convey happier messages to the viewer. However this rule does not always apply as sometimes using complimentary colors on the color wheel can also create quite a jolly effect.

Different hues create different ambiances. For instance if the theme of your painting is innocent or child like or creates content for kids then paint it in primary colors. Primary colors in painting look great in a children’s room or playroom. 

If you want the painting to be joyous or create energy try using a great deal of red, orange and yellow. Lighter greens, blues and pinks also convey joy.

There are also male and female colors in painting. Pinks, lavenders and violets are considered to be very feminine colors while browns, reds and blacks are considered to be more masculine colors,

If you want to create a more formal look in a painting then go to traditional oil painting hues such as dark brown, black, brick red, slate gray and sapphire blue.

Contemporary art makes a lot of use of white space and white paint to create a minimalist effect. This cool effect is seen in a lot of abstract painting. If you want to augment an area so it looks more sterile or modern then use a lot of greys or whites.

Some paint colors are considered to have magical meanings. For instance in Feng Shui green colors are said to bring money, blue to bring peace and orange to bring joy. Red brings sexual energy to a place and yellow brings health. Brown colors can help you feel more grounded and peaceful.

Paint colors can also be used to convey places. If you want to give a painting a tropical feel use corals, clay collars and misty light greens. To convey the crispness of winter use blues, whites and grays.  To portray mysticism use dark forest greens, whites and browns.  As you can see creating atmosphere with color is quite easy once you know color basics and their meanings.

ultimate painter tool

pencil portrait mastery course

oil painting techniques