Watercolor schemes – Triadic is a color scheme using three colors on the color wheel. To locate a Triadic scheme on the color wheel, an equilateral triangle could be drawn with each of its points pointing to three equidistant colors forming a triad chord.
There are four triad color groups on a color wheel, as follows:
- Primary Triad – Yellow > Blue > Red
- Secondary Triad – Green > Purple > Orange
- Tertiary Triad #1 – Yellow-Green > Blue-Purple > Red-Orange
- Tertiary Triad #2 – Blue-Green > Red-Purple > Yellow-Orange
For corresponding watercolor paint names for the above see What Watercolors To Buy.
The Primary Triad color scheme allows for mixing all of the Secondary and Tertiary colors using the Primary colors Yellow, Blue and Red.
All of the Triad groups allow for an almost endless array of colors, neutrals, and grays by varying the proportion of each color mixed.
In a composition, make one of the triad colors the main color. Add interest by mixing small amounts of one of the other triad colors into the main color to create neutrals and grays. Add accents using the remaining triad color. Place two of the triad colors side-by-side or near each other at the focal point of the composition to draw the viewer’s eye to the center of interest.
Compatible Triadic Watercolor Palettes
- Delicate Transparent Triad – Aureolin, Cobalt Blue, Rose Madder Genuine
- Standard Triad – New Gamboge, French Ultramarine, Cadmium Red
- Intense Staining Triad – Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Winsor Red
- Opaque Triad – Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue, Indian Red
- Old Masters’ Triad – Raw Sienna, Payne’s Gray, Burnt Sienna
- Bright Earth Triad – Quinacridone Gold, Indigo, Brown Madder
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