It can be intimidating--how to combine colors so that there is more value from both, instead of some garish or childish clash. As beginners, we can be absolutely stunned at the "disappearance" of a beautiful color we thought would be a lovely and eye-catching addition. Colors do such surprising and unexpected things in combination!
The color wheel and color theory provided me with some palette basics, as did the "chips" in the paint aisles of hardware stores. But, it still wasn't enough. Searching for some "way" I could use, I remembered that I'd once chosen to create a palette of glazes, for a class, based on the colors commonly used in Central Asian mosaics. Then, I recalled that I'd been told, as a child, that certain colors "didn't go together," only to discover that Indian textiles regularly incorporated those same colors. So, I went directly to mosaics, carpets and textiles for color combinations "that worked" and practiced them on other objects. Sometimes, I even practiced them first in a graphics program--selecting the colors for a palette, and then coloring shapes and designs in various proportions of each. I could test several variations before translating it into a piece of work.
Playing in graphics programs, I learned that "pleasing" was not just a matter of which colors, but also how much of each. Some colors were only accents and would destroy the harmony if overused. Eventually, I began to use rooms in home decorating magazines, nature shots, advertising pages, and even websites to provide the palettes and proportions for new creations. And, after doing all of this out of an anxious wish to learn "how," I suddenly realized I had already been doing it, naturally, for a very long time.
|My Object of Desire|
Just as good writers are inevitably lifelong readers of good literature, facility in color and design is born of "reading" good palettes and proportions in nature and in the wider world of art and design.
Some Palette Blogs to Start With--
Design Seeds (favorite)
Brandi Girl Blog
Purple Lemon Designs