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Make your paintings draw people in, simply by using the right colors


Color Psychology – it seems to be a thing some smart guy discovered at some point…you know, where the color red enhances appetite, where green is a soothing color, and blue has a calming effect.

I’ve discovered that in fact, the guy has a point – on Wikipedia, we read that crime rates were reduced in neighborhoods where cool blue street lights were installed…red pills seem to act better as stimulants than the blue ones…yellow painted houses sell faster than any other color…

So while it may seem random the way colors are used, in fact, there is a method to most madness (I would say, Jackson Pollock might be an exception to that rule…) .

In the case of my paintings, I discovered that in fact, colors matter – a lot.

They work as a magnet to the eye, if used in the right way. One artist’s orange painted with three colors may look entirely different painted by another artist, in terms of vibrancy and saturation.

People often comment on my colors in my paintings – “Do you use a certain kind of paint?”, “How do you mix your colors to make them so vibrant” – there is a secret behind it, and I can at least share part of it with you:

In keeping with the color psychology I mentioned above, keep in mind what emotions you want the viewer to experience when viewing the painting: do you want them to relax, calm down, feel serene or cool? Then having blues and/or greens as a main color scheme would be best.


Off To LaLa Land

Off to Lala Land by Conni Togel

You want them to feel warm, fuzzy, comfy, embraced? Warm reds, earth tones, warm yellows are the ticket there.

Just Lion Around

Just Lion Around – by Conni Togel


But that does not explain the vibrancy much, does it? Here’s the secret: clarity.
Any time you mix paint colors on the palette, it will introduce a bit of muddiness  – that is based on the fact that most colors straight from the tube contain at least some part of another color in them: certain blues lean towards green (which, as you might remember from kindergarden, is a mix of blue with yellow). So when you try mixing a purple with a blue that contains a trace of yellow and a red than contains a trace of yellow, you will get some sort of brownish/green. Most certainly not a vibrant purple.


Silence of the Lambs by Conni Togel

Silence of the Lambs by Conni Togel

So try this: find a blue that leans towards purple (a color wheel is a marvelous thing to possess – get one!) – the blue closest to purple is what you are aiming for. Then, rather than finding a orange-ish red to mix with, grab a magenta colored red – something that already looks almost purple. Mix them – and, OMG, it’s PURPLE!

So the same method applies pretty much to any vibrant color you want to mix: keep them clear of added colors that are opposite on the color wheel, unless you are trying to make a grayish/brownish/blackish neutral.
To make a vibrant orange, mix a warm/leaning towards orange kind of yellow with an orange/leaning towards yellow red. That will keep the colors clean, crisp, and un-muddy.

Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening Sheep Incognito painting by Conni Togel


The basic lesson in all of this: grab a color wheel – pick a color you want to mix, use the two colors beside it to obtain that shade. The further apart the colors are on the wheel, the muddier they will get.

So there ya have it – just a little secret to help you keep your painting glowing with color – it will magnetize your paintings!

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