The Colors of Fall

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Let the brilliant greens, neon pinks and iridescent blues fade as the temperatures drop, and summer packs her bags to join the snowbirds in the southern climes.

You’ll be enchanted with the warm, muted colors of fall that speak of opulence and fiery enthusiasm.

While a summer palette is often lighthearted and airy, the colors of a fall palette are rich, mellow and can portray a somber demeanor as easily as a warm and inviting image.

Hues range from soft and buttery Naples Yellow and Yellow Ochre to fiery Cadmiums and rich, mellow Sap and Olive Greens.

Add muted blues and browns for a full array of colors, and let the god of the harvest be your muse in creating rich, colorful paintings with this autumn palette.

Rich, Warm Yellows

The yellow colors for your fall palette are warm hues with no trace of green. Choose colors like Yellow Ochre Light, Naples Yellow and Gamboge for the rich, golden colors of the grasses drying in the fields and the turning leaves of the Birch and Quaking Aspen.

Yellow Ochre Light

Naples Yellow


Fiery Oranges And Reds

Reds for your fall palette include orange tones progressing to deep maroon hues. Indian Yellow Orange, Cadmium Orange, and Vermilion give way to Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Medium and Alizarin Crimson. These pigments provide a rich range to portray the whirlwind of colors in the stately Red Maple and Dogwood that add brilliant bursts of life to your fall scenery.

Indian Yellow Orange

Cadmium Orange


Cadmium Red Deep

Cadmium Red Medium

Alizarin Crimson

Mellow Greens Of Fall

As the days shorten, the green leaves around us begin their preparations for winter. They lose their vigor and take on a more mellow tone. If they aren’t busy converting themselves to wildly colored reds, oranges and yellows, they take on softer, muted shades. Choose Chromium Oxide Green, Sap Green and Green Earth to add to your fall palette.

Chromium Oxide Green

Sap Green

Green Earth

Lush And Opulent Browns

As fall advances, the leaves fade from yellows and oranges to deep, rich browns. Pin Oaks and Magnolias typically have brown leaves in the fall, and pine tree needles fade from green to brown. The forest floor lies thick with drying leaves and the stark, bare limbs play counterpoint to a pale sky. Add browns like Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna and Sepia to capture the rich colors.

Burnt Umber

Burnt Sienna


Warm And Velvety Blues

Contrasting with the stark and jarring blues of a hot summer, blues of fall are silky and enveloping. The blue sky that acts as a complementary color to the orange and red trees beneath it lacks the intensity of the summer sky. The Cerulean and Cobalt Blues are replaced by French Ultramarine, Indigo and Phthalo Blues.

Cerulean Blue

Cobalt Blue



Phthalo Blue

Changing your palette to fit the mood and tone of your piece is a good lesson for a beginning artist. Don’t think you need every color you own on your palette when you begin a painting. You’re better off limiting your palette to make it easy to keep the color continuity in your work. Too many colors lead to a confusing, discordant hodge-podge. This is very easy to do with all the wonderful colors of fall.

Many of these tubes are already in your tabouret. Maybe you’ll need to pick up a color or two, but what better excuse for an artist to make a trip to the art supply store?

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