The Color Wheel and Beyond: Color Theory, Mixing Colors, and How to Create Complementary Color Schemes

No matter what you want to paint or who you want to capture in your artwork, you need to know basic color theory to make any work look vibrant and feel like it could come alive. What’s exciting is that there are so many understandable parts of color—from the color wheel and color mixing to complementary color schemes—that all you need to do is break them down and explore them one by one, which is where this art tutorial comes in. This Artist Daily eBook gives you the sound knowledge and instruction on the main aspects of painting, so that you can paint anything and everything with strong and true hues!


With this free art lesson, you’ll first find a chapter devoted to the color wheel and an introduction to color theory and the basic ideas behind how to color works. This includes explorations of:

  • Primary art colors—the building blocks for all other hues,
  • Secondary art colors—created from two of the primaries,
  • Tertiary art colors—formed by mixing a primary and secondary color,
  • As well as what hue, value, intensity, and color temperature are and how they figure in to our understanding of art.

An Introduction to Color Theory

After exploring the depth of color theory and seeing how the wheel works, this free painting lesson goes into actually mixing colors, featuring a colors mixing guide on complementary color palettes as well as a landscape painter or plein air artist’s approach to color.


Working with a
Complementary Palette

In the first chapter of this section, you’ll find how working with a complementary color palette can lead to harmonious paintings and the creation of clear, vibrant shades. Artist Joyce Washor shows you how an infinite number of art colors can be mixed with the hues in complementary palettes, and gives artists advice on how to learn to paint by starting with a color chart, what colors can and can’t be created with a complementary color palette, and the colors that you will get a rich variety of as you work.

The scientific way to mix colours: every painter should know this.

Plein Air Painting Techniques

Then it is time to take what we’ve learned about how to mix colors and basic color theory into the great outdoors. Painter John Hulsey gives you his advice for plein air painting in the final section of this top art book. In it, Hulsey takes you through all the steps of painting, from laying out your art colors palette to premixing “mass” hues that you see in your landscape composition to the key aspects of blending and mixing colors.

Hulsey also gives great information on what harmonized grays are and why they are so important to any painting you might do.

Expand your knowledge of colors, mixing and how the color wheel works!

See how great artists like Van Gogh, Botticelli, and Whistler used their advanced knowledge of color theory to create interesting and powerful arrangements that illustrate contrast of extension, complementary contrast, and simultaneous contrast, among others. Along with this free paint lesson, you’ll also receive a free membership to our Artist Daily community. This membership provides you with access to our free techniques, blogs, and newsletter; plus you’ll gain the help and support of thousands of artists of all abilities. Download your free painting lesson today!