AMO Painting Challenge

(“Sketch”, 11×14, oil on canvas, by Jessie)


Hello painters! Thank you Linda for giving me the opportunity to write the current AMO Challenge for the fb AMO Challenge Group.

The Challenge: Try a complementary color combination that is totally new to you, and use a very limited pallet with that color combination. I hope you find it fun and challenging!

color-wheel Instructions: Find a complementary color combination that you haven’t used before. Something that looks lovely to you, but you have never used in a painting. You can try a Red/Green combination or a Yellow/Violet combination. Or try something really different, like Red-Orange/Blue-Green.

See my home-made color wheel (left), and follow the lines to find a combination you love. (Y/V, YG/RV, R/G, RO/BG, B/O, BV/YO)

After you’ve chosen a combination, completely clean off you pallet.

Mix up a pile of each of the complementary colors that you have chosen. If you chose Yellow-Orange/Blue-Violet, then mix up one pile of Yellow-Orange and one pile of Blue-Violet, and add one pile of white. When your pallet is ready to use, you will only have 3 piles of paint – the two complementary colors that you chose, and white.

If you are feeling cheated because you have so few colors, here is the theory behind why this will work:

Even if you cannot see all of the primary colors, they are all represented on your pallet. If you chose YO and BV, there’s a little bit of red in both colors… Or if you chose RV and YG (my favorite), there’s a little bit of blue in each color.


This part may seem backwards, but NOW it’s time to find something to paint. It can match your color combinations, or not! It’s up to you. Either way, paint it using only the paint on your pallet.

At the very end, if you must spice it up with a dab of another color, go ahead. But wait until you feel that you’ve really gotten all you can out of the complementary colors you chose.  You may be surprised and find that you do not need any other colors for this painting.


The purpose of this challenge is to fall in love with some new colors, to work with an intentional color scheme, and also to see how far we can get with a very limited pallet. If nothing else, imagine how luxurious it will feel next time you paint – when you can put all of your colors back on your pallet.


Have fun, and let us know what you think! We look forward to seeing your challenge painting over at the  FB AMO Challenge Group. It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to join before posting.


Happy Painting!
Jessie Rasche

2 thoughts on “AMO Painting Challenge”

  1. That’s a great challenge, Jessie!
    Back when I colored comic books for a living (can you believe that’s a real job?), we used to have to do stuff like this for certain effects. Even monotones – ONE color! It was all great practice, and I still use what I learned on all those tiny paintings. It will be neat to see what you come up with.


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