November 27, 2015

Analogous Colors

I'm going to venture off my regular individual color posts for a couple of months to explore some color theory concepts just a little. Nothing scientific or in depth. The study of color can be quite complex and there are already wonderful sources out there if you are interested in learning more. Instead, this will simply be another form of color observation. I hope you'll try it. I promise it will get you thinking about color in new ways.

I'm making the assumption you are familiar with the basic color wheel. This one shows the different groups of analogous colors.

This month the color concept is analogous. So what are analogous colors? The most basic definition of analogous is three colors that fall next to each other on the color wheel. Look at the color wheel above and then any three colors in a row to see the variety of analogous color scheme possibilities. Because the middle color in a grouping shares color properties from both of the colors on either side of it, analogous colors are inherently harmonious.

Analogous color groupings frequently fall into warm or cool ranges. These warm or cool color groupings are often found in nature. Fall is a season for warm analogous colors. The changing colors of the leaves are a wonderful example of analogous colors in nature.

Warm analogous colors are also found in summer flower beds like this test bed on the campus of Colorado State University. It's one of my favorite stops when I'm there in the summer.

Because analogous colors are inherently harmonious, they translate well into great color combinations for quilting. I find that one of my first color inclinations when designing a quilt is to select an analogous color scheme. See what I mean . . .

The cool range of analogous colors is a particular favorite of mine. Think water, sky, green leaves and grass. Love those colors.

Most of the examples I've shown use the three color analogous range, but if you expand the color range to four or even five colors you can add a lot of liveliness to the group. When you use five colors you are quite close to having a complementary color scheme depending on the color spread. I'll touch on complementary colors in December.

So . . .  do you have a favorite analogous color scheme you like to use in your quilts?  I challenge you to look around your home, your neighborhood, your work and really see the colors in your world. Look for some analogous colors in your life. Thanks for reading.

As with my single color stories, my intention here is to look for these color combinations in my own personal world. To see the colors around me in my house, my environment and my experiences. For that reason I've chosen to use my own photos rather than rely on the abundance of beautiful photos and color schemes available through sites like Pinterest and Design Seeds. These sites are wonderful places for inspiration on color but I want my series to be personal . . . representative of the color I see around me. You can see all my other color stories under the Color Inspiration tab at the top of my blog. If you'd like to see additional beautiful color images, you can follow my Pinterest color boards here. I've also added a board on analogous colors here.



  1. What a wonderful post - bursting with colour!!

  2. I love all your posts and this is no exception, it's absolutely beautiful. And I see you are a Kaffe Fasset fan also.

  3. The best part of these color posts Anne is that we get to see all your wonderful quilts again. I'm thinking that I don't use the analogous palette often enough. Thanks for the reminder! Have a great day, full of colour!

  4. This is a great post, I think that examples are the best way to illustrate some different color concepts and your pictures are just wonderful.

  5. Gorgeous melodies of colour! I can't choose a favourite as I tend to fall in love with so many different combinations and tones.

    1. I have the same problem. I love them all so much I want to use them everywhere, all the time. The result, though, is less than pleasing sometimes-LOL

    2. the pictures look nice, but at the same time i cant do it all lol btw i like the cool colors.>(:

  6. How did I miss this post?? It's just gorgeous. You have the very best pictures.

  7. Can you mix warm and cool analogous colors? What are the rules for doing this so that it doesn't look cluttered?


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