Extended analogous palette

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Have you ever ventured out and attempted a painting using an analogous color scheme? It can be a challenge, yet a very rewarding experience.

Learning to paint with your neighbors.

Many color wheels contain diagrams suggesting that only small selected portions of the wheel be used when seeking possible color schemes for a painting. For example, there are triads (triangles), quadratics (squares and rectangles), complements (opposites), but then there’s also analogous…generally any three colors in a row.



For my work I use an extended analogous…five colors in a row…still very limited but with a few more options. I explain the reasons for this choice in the recently posted YouTube video seen below. In the video I not only explain the extended analogous palette chosen for my first on-line painting demonstration, but also how it is mixed. You will find it very informative.


If you think about it, there are twelve possible palette selections using the extended analogous, even more if you just use a three-color analogous. Furthermore, within each of the analogous selections there is the possibility of numerous variations depending on the color emphasized. For example, if the extended color palette included red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, and green, a painting would look noticeably different if the dominant hue in one was red-orange and in the other it was green.

These experiments are well worth exploring. I think you will be really surprised at the results.

I have created a number of color wheels using various combinations of blue, red and yellow. In every case the analogous palette is a product of these three primaries. For all the examples shown here, the palette of choice was ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and cadmium yellow pale. Just be aware that any red, yellow, and blue may be substituted in place of these.

Below is my most recent painting, just delivered to Southwest Gallery in Dallas. The completed painting reveals just how dramatic an analogous color scheme can be. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge of the landscape and qualities of light, one can convert common scenes into something extraordinary.

Photo reference for "Italian Vineyard"

Photo reference for “Italian Vineyard”

Extended analogous palette choice: blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet, red-violet

Extended analogous palette choice: blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet, red-violet


"Italian Vineyard" - 16"x 27" - Oil

“Italian Vineyard” – 15″x 30″ – Oil


"The Tonight Show" (Study) using same analogous color scheme

“The Tonight Show” (Study) using same analogous color scheme

...and also this one.

…and also this one.


For a real tight color harmony, I suggest mixing the analogous palette using only the primaries. Some artists insert tube colors into each slot of the color wheel; for blue-green or yellow-green, for example, they’ll insert a tube color for each of those in their appropriate position on the wheel rather than mix from their selected primaries.

Following are a group of analogous paintings. All the combinations were mixed from cadmium yellow pale, ultramarine blue, and alizarin crimson. I chose to focus strictly on color, thereby taking the attention from the subject. Are these the best and only possibilities using these selections? Not at all. With a little more thought and time invested, one could create some very interesting moods, color and value relationships. These each took one hour a piece, so I was flying through them. All the paintings are on gessoed paper, 5.5″ x 8.5″. The paintings themselves are 4.5″ x 6″, so they will look somewhat crude when enlarging them.

You can probably figure out my palette notations: RV (red-violet), YO (yellow-orange)…and so on.











...and then there is this wild one.

…and then there is this wild one.


For a more complete analysis of the analogous palette, I encourage you to watch the video. Happy painting.


John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view his art and bio, please click HERE



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