top of page

Triadic Color Palette

Updated: Aug 20, 2018

With all the color choices possible for a painting how do you choose? If you desire to capture the essence of what you are feeling about a subject it can be tremendously helpful to use a limited palette. When starting out on a new painting with all the many color choices before you, it can seem hard to know where to start. We will talk about the process of how to make the decision more simple in the Color Workshop coming up August 15th and 16th, but for now I want to give you a peek at one palette choice I've enjoyed using lately, the Triadic palette...

Triadic Painting from Alizarin Crimson, Gamboge Yellow, and Peacock Blue.

The Triadic palette is made up of only three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel, any other color must be made from those three. By having this triangle of colors it limits the clean vibrant colors down to only those three, leaving everything else somewhat neutralized and that can be good for when you need to keep too many colors from being important, and it can help keep your painting more calm and peaceful avoiding too much vibrancy (excitement and action).


Plein air study with Triadic.

One thing I love about the Triadic color palette is that it makes a beautiful harmony because

in all of your mixes each color is in the other causing soft, subdued harmony pleasing to the viewer. The Triadic palette has been a pleasure for us to use plein air painting landscapes simplifying with three colors with semi neutrals great for nature, soft earthy hues with rusty colors. 

Every color scheme has it's rightful place, but I wanted to take a moment and spotlight this color scheme, the Triadic.   

The triadic can be made from a variety of combinations, as long as they are equally spaced on the color wheel. You can choose a combination based on your dominant color. All examples on this page are using the same Triadic combination.

Triadic painting from Gamboge Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Peacock Blue.

My Triadic palette shown here is New Gamboge (mixed with a tiny bit of Alizarin Crimson), Peacock Blue, and Alizarin Crimson.  

All mixed from the three colors mentioned.

bottom of page