Color Masterclass

Learn what color truly means, how it works, and how to get the most out of it in painting.

Dear aspiring artist,

Nothing can set an artist apart like skillful use of color. You could build a whole art career around being good with color. Many have—just look at all the top Impressionists.

There’s also nothing quite like the feeling when you place a color on the canvas and it just works. Magical things can happen when you place the right colors together. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever witnessed the work of Velázquez, Monet, or van Gogh in person.

But it’s not easy. The world of color is remarkably complex and filled with tricks and illusions. Not to mention we are all flooded with information, much of which is misleading, confusing or downright wrong.

Introducing Color Masterclass

Color Masterclass is a deep-dive on color and how you can use it to create better art. Over the next several weeks, we will explore what color is and why it works the way it does, how to mix and manipulate it, how to make good color decisions, and what the most effective color techniques are and how to perform them.

We have taken all the complexity and confusion of color and distilled it into something clear, concise, and practical for you as an artist.

By the end of the course:

  • You’ll have a better understanding and appreciation of color.
  • You’ll be able to mix and manipulate color with control.
  • Your paintings will be more impressive and you’ll be able to make the colors really “pop”.
  • You’ll be able to look at your favorite paintings and know what makes the colors tick.
  • You’ll have a better appreciation of color in general.
  • You’ll be a better observer of the world around you and you’ll be able to notice subtle relationships and nuances that will stay hidden to others.
Color Masterclass Featured Image

Hi, I’m Dan Scott

I’m the artist behind Draw Paint Academy, which I run with my wife Chontele. For the last seven years, we have dedicated our lives to helping aspiring artists.

Color is fascinating, but it’s also frustratingly complex. I created this course to share what I’ve learned about color so that you can progress faster and more efficiently. I also want you to avoid the mistakes I have made along the way. In my early years, I tried to learn color through trial and error. I would make a few dabs on the surface, see if it worked, then go from there. This will only get you so far. I could have saved myself time and frustration by learning the theory behind color and why it works the way it does.

I also want you to have more fun doing it. Color is one of those areas where the more you learn, the more enjoyable it becomes as you gain control and understanding. You go from guesswork and confusion to gaining control over what you’re doing and understanding why it works.

I’m passionate about this stuff and I hope that I can share some of it with you. It really is an exciting area to throw yourself into.

Dan Scott

Course Structure and Highlights

In terms of course structure, here’s what you can expect:

  • This is an online learning experience with five core modules: Color Basics, Light and Color, Observation, Advanced Saturation, and Color Techniques, plus the Resource Hub.
  • The lessons are mostly text and image-based, with videos and links to other resources to supplement as needed.
  • At the end of each module, there’s a comprehensive exercise to help you put what you learn into practice. The only exception is Module 1, which will have a 10-part quiz to test your understanding of the fundamentals. There are also numerous mini-exercises throughout the course.
  • You’ll get a chance to share your attempt at the exercises with other students (or you can keep it to yourself if you prefer). You’ll also get to see how I went.
  • We will start with the basics and get progressively more complex from there. The first module will bring everyone up to speed and make sure we’re all on the same page. Then we will explore more challenging areas together.
  • All exercises are optional but encouraged. It is also a judgment-free zone, apart from constructive and helpful criticism. So no need to feel embarrassed about sharing your work!
  • Each lesson will have a comment section for you to chat with other students and share your thoughts or questions. We will also be monitoring the comments and responding as needed.
  • I suggest a week or two for each module, but you can go through as fast or slow as you like. You have lifetime access to all the content, so no rush.
Dan Scott, Elora and White Roses, 2023
Dan Scott, Elora and White Roses, 2023

Module 1: Color Basics

The first module will bring everyone up to speed on the basic fundamentals of color. This module will be essential for those new to painting and color. More advanced artists will be able to consolidate what they already know and iron out any misconceptions about color. You’ll learn:

  • What color is, how we see it, and why it works the way it does (you’ll be surprised how many artists don’t truly know this).
  • The color hierarchy for conveying realism.
  • Which element is the most critical to a painting’s success.
  • How to rank your colors in terms of value.
  • The subtle relationships between the different elements of color. One of the tricky aspects of color is that changing one element has a domino effect on the other elements. It’s essential to understand the relationships so you can predict how the dominos will fall.
  • Why learning more about color doesn’t always lead to better paintings and how you can fix this.
  • How to think of color mixing as a beautiful dance between the elements and why you must be careful about blindly following color recipes.
  • Fundamental principles to guide your color mixing without limiting your options.
  • The most common color mistakes artists make. If you can identify and fix just one mistake you often make without knowing, you’ll get your money’s worth out of this course.
  • Why you must think about color in relative and not absolute terms, plus a simple technique to get you into the relative mindset.

At the end, you’ll be able to test your understanding with a 10-part quiz. This won’t take long but it will challenge your understanding and get you to ponder about color from a broad and fundamental perspective.

Paul Gauguin, Still Life With Apples, a Pear, and a Ceramic Portrait Jug, 1889
Paul Gauguin, Still Life With Apples, a Pear, and a Ceramic Portrait Jug, 1889
Module 1 Sales Pages

Module 2: Light and Color

This module is a deep dive into light and how it determines the colors we see. You’ll learn:

  • What light is and why it’s inseparable from color. Most people take light for granted and have never stopped to ponder what it truly is. After this module, you’ll be one of the few who know the answer.
  • What the color temperature of light means and why it’s one of the most influential factors in painting. If you’re unaware of color temperature, this lesson will have a profound impact on you as an artist.
  • How to capture the subtle effects of secondary light sources and reflected light. You’ll also learn how to do this without compromising the major lights and shadows.
  • The three key factors that influence our perception of reflected light.

For the module exercise, we will paint a still life illuminated by different types of light. This will be a fun and challenging exercise to put what you learn about light and color into practice.

Module 2 Exercise Sales Page

Module 3: Observation

This module is all about seeing clearly and noticing what’s around you. Too many artists overlook this, despite it playing such a pivotal role. Every painting starts with observation and if you want to be a great painter, you must be a great observer. You’ll learn:

  • How to be a better observer. If you can master observation, you’ll never be short of inspiration.
  • What we artists can learn from children.
  • Why color is not always as it seems. The world is filled with color tricks and illusions.
  • Why our brain’s perception system can sometimes work against us as artists.
  • When you should ignore what your eyes are telling you and trust your initial thoughts.
  • Why every painting looks wrong at some point in the process, even when you made all the right steps.
  • Why you don’t need to invent your own color themes and who you should turn to for inspiration.
  • My observation rules of thumb for common subjects.
  • How to use color studies to capture and document your observations. Your observations are fleeting and there’s no better way to capture them than through color studies.

In the module exercise, we will venture into nature and document our observations using color studies. This exercise is best done plein air (outdoors) but I’ll also provide you with reference photos if you would rather paint in your studio.

Module 3 Color Studies

Module 4: Advanced Saturation

This module will cover some of the more advanced aspects of saturation. If you want to make your colors “pop”, you’ll enjoy this one. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s helpful to break saturation down into categories.
  • The difference between saturation and chroma.
  • What the Munsell Color System is and the key findings you should know.
  • That colors are not all equal. Some colors are naturally more brilliant than others.
  • Why it’s so difficult to translate vivid and highly saturated colors into value and what you can do about it.
  • Why more color isn’t always better and how you can do less with more.
  • Why grays and browns are the unsung heroes of painting and how to use them effectively.
  • Why there’s no such thing as beautiful or ugly colors.

In the module exercise, we will create a painting that showcases saturation contrast. You’ll be able to follow my lead or choose your own subject to paint.

Module 4
Dan Scott Painting New Farm Park, Roses

Module 5: Color Techniques

The final module will give you practical techniques to get the most out of your colors. This is all about taking the theory you learned from the earlier modules and learning how to apply it in your paintings. You’ll learn:

  • Multicolored strokes, broken color, and pointillism. These are some of my favorite techniques. With just a few strokes, you’ll be able to convey a lot of information about the subject.
  • That you don’t need to cover the entire surface with color and why it can be more effective to leave parts of the white surface exposed.
  • How to seamlessly transition from one color to another without using hard edges.
  • How to create subtle color links between different parts of your painting. This will give your work a sense of harmony and coherence.
  • What it means to paint within a compressed value range and why it’s so effective.
  • How to inject life and variance into your work without compromising its fundamental value structure.

In the final exercise, you’ll get a chance to test one or more of these techniques out in a painting.

Module 5 - Sales Page
Dan Scott, Perth, Cape Peron, 2

The Resource Hub

We have curated some of the most helpful websites, readings, and other external resources to support your learning. There’s no shortage of information out there about color, but good and reliable information is hard to come by. Our resource hub will point you in the right direction.

There’s also a gallery of master paintings that demonstrate particularly stunning use of color, a list of master artists to explore, and a list of quotes by famous artists providing their thoughts on color.

Claude Monet, Shadows on the Sea. The Cliffs at Pourville, 1882
Claude Monet, Shadows on the Sea. The Cliffs at Pourville, 1882

What to Expect Once You Enroll

Once you enroll, you’ll get an email welcoming you to the course and providing you with the next steps. If you’re new here, we will set you up with an account and you’ll receive a separate email prompting you to set a password.

You’ll be able to access the course from your student dashboard. This is an online portal that you can access from any device, as long as you have an internet connection.

You’ll have immediate and lifetime access to all the course content. We will also use email to guide you through the course and provide additional information as needed.

If at any point you have questions or need help, we will be happy to help.

Enroll for a One-Time Payment of $197 USD

(Or two payments of $99 USD)

Dan Scott, Fraser Island, Sunset, 2023
Dan Scott, Fraser Island, Sunset, 2023

This Will Be for You If...

  • The colors in your painting appear flat, muddy, or uninspired.
  • You want to know why color works the way it does rather than trying to trial and error your way through.
  • You want to be able to look at your favorite paintings and explain why they work and why they appeal to you.
  • You want to gain a better appreciation of color in art and in general.
  • You want to learn how to make your colors "pop" in your paintings.
  • You want to learn control and restraint with your use of color.
  • You want to learn the beautiful dance of color mixing.

Suitable for All Traditional Mediums That Use Color

I use oils, but the course is suitable for any medium that uses color (acrylic, watercolor, gouache, pastel, colored pencil, etc.).


As this is a new product, you have a chance to be one of the first students to go through. We will then invite your feedback. Until then, here are some testimonials from our other trainings and resources:

“It showed me a new aspect, how other artists put things together. There were so many beautiful pieces of work I had never seen before. Artists I didn’t know and color approaches I had never thought about. Color theory is an onion with so many layers. I feel I learned a lot, thank you.” Noreen Myers

“Thank you for all the thoughts, encouragement and instruction. Your attention to having a well rounded art has encouraged me and helped me to focus my efforts on things other than just pumping out paintings doing the same thing over and over. I’m getting better because I’m back to doing life long learning – in my painting life – not just in my academic realm. I see being an artist as part of my whole person now – instead of a section of me. Thank you!” Terri Thompson

“Dan, I just completed my first “intensive” and have wrapped myself into each element of the guidance you have shared! The cementing of the ideas with reference to actual paintings is an inspired teaching technique. Thanks so much. Right now I feel like I have been drinking out of a fire hose… As I move into practicing and applying these thoughts I will undoubtedly be reading and absorbing time and again.” Dwight Richardson

“Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge. By the way, I recently responded on Facebook to a question.. “If you could have any artist come to your home for a day and teach you who would it be?” I posted, “Dan Scott, the best teacher I’ve sat under in decades.” True words. Annette Emens

“Hi Dan, I so appreciate your detailed and comprehensive explanations of light and shadow, and even more so of painting under different kinds of light. Your use of appropriate vocabulary and also of examples that demonstrate the concepts are allowing me to understand these complex aspects of painting. You are providing essential knowledge to the artist who truly wishes to grow and achieve mastery in landscape painting. Many thanks to you and to Chontele, who I believe plays an important part in the instructional programs that you so generously offer.” Irit Luria

“Dear Dan, I can’t thank you enough for your art course. It has been invaluable to me and given me the theoretical tools to change the way I approach my work. I’ve still to put into practice the lessons I have learned. It won’t be easy but I look forward to the journey. With my heartfelt gratitude.” Lucy Harington

Thank you for sharing this with all of us. It sure put a smile on my face, and I’m also sure I wasn’t the only one feeling happy for you. I wish you both all the best and many more happy years together. And many thanks to both of you for making Draw Paint Academy a pleasure. It’s not only informative, but it’s also a “family” place that provides encouragement and a love for painting.” Agnes Daemen

“Hi Dan, I just wanted to let you know how important and impactful your emails, lessons, articles and the artwork you use to demonstrate have impacted me. It has opened up so many streams of thoughts and desires, and I am hoping with time, I will be able to realize my goal of becoming a good painter.” Ileana Forment

Dan Scott, Perth Gardens, 2023
Dan Scott, Perth Gardens, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Guarantee - Painting Academy

My 100% Guarantee

Your satisfaction is my number one priority. If for any reason you do not enjoy the course, just send me an email within 60 days of purchase and I will refund you in full.

Enroll for a One-Time Payment of $197 USD

(Or two payments of $99 USD)

Hope to see you in the first lesson! If you have any questions, you can email me at