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Cool/warm generally refers to the position of a color on a color wheel. Half of the color wheel is cool (purple to green) and the other half is warm (green-yellow to red).

By using colors just from either the warm or cool side of the color wheel, you can achieve interesting color harmonies. For example, Claude Monet used a cool analogous color harmony in many of his paintings, using many variations of greens, blues and purples. The result of this is a very calming and peaceful harmony.

The balance between cool and warm in your painting is very important, arguably more so than the actual colors you decide to use. This is because of the contrasting emotions warm and cool colors evoke and the role of warm and cool colors in establishing the overall composition of your painting.

When you are mixing your colors, one question you should always ask yourself is how warm or cool do you want the color to be.

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Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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2 comments on “Cool/Warm”

  1. May I use this information in a book I am putting together. I teach a class in watercolor at an Adult Center and would like to use this if possible. Thank you


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