We will now begin to work with color.  The following project is designed to learn how to mix color from a limited palette.

Project:  Abstract Color Designs

Supplies Needed

–paint chips (handed out in class)

–oil paints (full palette)


–Liquin or Galkyd


–two sheets of gesso-covered, 18” x 24” paper


–To learn to mix a variety of colors

–To learn to mix a variety of hues, tints and shades

–To create one visually interesting design that employs rhythm and repetition as key elements of the design.


Choose sixteen of the paint chips provided in class.  These colors will be used to create an abstract design so consider the harmony of the palette when choosing paint chips. Choose a range of colors: reds, blues, grays, browns, yellows.  Create the painting on one of the gesso-covered sheets of 18” x 24” paper.  The painting should employ the design principles of rhythm and repetition and all sixteen colors.

It’s important that colors are kept crisp and clear. This can be achieved by wiping paint from the brush between strokes.  

Adhere the paint chips to the second sheet of gesso-covered paper and use this as a color test sheet.  List the pigments used in your mixture next to each color. This will be turned in with the paintings.  Make sure that both the painting and test sheet are signed.


60 points: The painting has employed all sixteen colors.  Colors are a near match to the paint chips.

40 points: The composition is visually engaging and employs rhythm and repetition as key elements of the design.


Student work examples by Nicki Sylvain (top of post), Jessica Rabbit and Isabel Detienne

Mixing Color from a Limited Palette
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