Are you interested in a deeper dive into color theory by exploring some new color palettes?

Would you like to try both a limited palette as well as an extremely vibrant one?

Helen Dannelly

Join Helen Dannelly for this 5-week color workshop for artists as we compare and contrast these very different color palettes.

During 5 live 90 minute sessions,

Helen discusses and demonstrates:

  • the Zorn palette, its history and use
  • images of practical applications using this palette
  • Modern Transparent colors
  • how to create color wheels using both the Zorn and Modern Transparent palettes
  • mixing color charts using the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors of both palettes
  • incorporating these different palettes into your own unique style.

Helen Dannelly

Gain a deeper comprehension of each of these palettes and how to maniuplate them for use in your work. You will discover new ways to express your creative ideas.

Since my first color theory course as an undergraduate art student over 30 years ago, I've had a deep appreciation for the difference color theory can make with your painting practice. I find that artists often hit a roadblock with their work, get stymied by color and just don’t know how to resolve it. It's exciting to see the lightbulb go off as students do the color mixing exercises and realize all the subtleties they can achieve with a given palette. I love watching them dive in and create beyond what they thought was possible, to be surprised by how much further they can push their work. Once they understand how to achieve harmonious color palettes and combine color to achieve the look they are after, their painting practice just blossoms.

~Helen Dannelly

Helen Dannelly

This course is for you if you:

  • Want to further explore unique color palettes
  • Want to quit getting "mud"
  • Want to understand color relationships
  • Want to learn new ways of employing alternative color in your work
  • Want to broaden your essential color vocabulary
  • Are an adventurous beginner, skilled artist, or anywhere in between
  • Want to expand your painting practice with new found knowledge

Helen has a knack for guiding you in amplifying your ideas. Her methods of teaching involve showing the potential of what you can do with the concepts at hand and then letting you loose to discover what is possible.

As an instructor, Helen draws upon her formal art training to add richness and depth to the classroom experience, incorporating the history and fundamentals of color theory.

Why should I add color theory to my practice?


  • You can master the fundamentals of color through color mixing assignments in order to understand color relationships and apply those to your work.
  • Understand color interactions, perceptions, and contrasting mood to employ in your compositions.
  • Understand how to manipulate hue, saturation and value to convey your intent.
  • You can refine your ability to make subtle color distinctions.
  • You can add a new level of complexity to your work.

Helen Dannelly

Color theory knowledge and exercises are essential for any painter to achieve the results they desire. There is so much more to color than one initially learns. The potential is incredible! You realize how you can combine different colors together to create complexity and harmony. Students get excited when they realize how how much more they can achieve with colors they never used to use.

~Helen Dannelly 

Helen Dannelly


  • Five 90 minute sessions with time for Q&A. 
  • Live demos.
  • Prompts and exercises tailored to students’ needs.
  • PowerPoint presentations & discussions exploring color theory and practice for inspiration.
  • View examples of artists employing the techniques we discuss.
  • 3 months of access to the recordings of the live sessions. Now you can be fully present soaking up the demos instead of frantically taking notes.

This is an informative and practical course specifically for painters who want to increase their skill and confidence in using color.

Helen is a dynamic instructor who supports you in realizing your vision.


Q: What kind of experience do I need?

A:This class will benefit painters at all levels who use any type of paint, although we will be using acrylic in the course.


Q: I work in mixed-media. Will the course be applicable to my work?

A: Yes! Any artist working with color can benefit from this course. We will be doing exercises in value, saturation and hue, and more. These characteristics of color don't just apply to paint.

Q: I have more questions. How do I reach you?

A: You can email me at [email protected]

Helen Dannelly

Helen Dannelly draws on over 30 years of professional experience in helping you realize your artistic goals. Helen’s teaching is informed by a unique combination of training that she utilizes in guiding you conceptually and technically. She received a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She studied painting at San Francisco State University (working with Bay Area photorealists) and sculpture at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. 

Moving easily between drawing, painting, and sculpture, Helen has developed unconventional ways of mixing mediums that create emotionally evocative pieces. Helen’s work focuses on metamorphosis both personally, in natural phenomena, and of the materials. Her organic sculptures are inspired by the natural world, a nod to sea life and plants. Complex surfaces and engaging forms invite viewers to explore the impact of climate change--a metamorphosis of decline.

Helen is attentive to the importance of art fundamentals weaving them into her classes. She recognizes that these components (color theory, elements of composition, and drawing/ mark-making) are skills that need to be continually developed and refined in order for students to leverage them effectively in their work. This mastery results in students creating more sophisticated work and understanding why it is more successful.

Helen Dannelly is also:

  • A Golden Artist Educator
  • A Silver Brush Educator
  • R&F trained Advanced Encaustic Instructor


"This is a great class! You are answering questions I never knew how to ask. You are such a generous teacher."

~ Suzanne D.~

I’ve loved the class, have been surprised and humbled by how much I didn’t know and how much there is to know about color. You are a dynamic teacher and the experience makes me want to take more Catalyst classes in the future." 

~ Karen N.F. ~

"You are an excellent teacher and the curriculum you’re sharing is helping me to grow by leaps and bounds."

~ Jan. M.

"I wanted you to know I love the course and am very appreciative of the teaching and support. Then so many ways to contact you, get feedback, etc. Thank you. I am getting more comfortable with Beginner's mind."

~Adelaide S.

"This course is fabulous and I am learning so much - which is usually the case when something is a challenge. So glad I’m taking it. Highly recommend it."

~ Lacy J. ~

"Thanks for the help and encouragement.  You are right in saying that I will never forget the concepts of this lesson! I love how academic these classes have been. Right up there with college classes."

~ Pam H. ~

"Absolutely wonderful class!"

~Ann E.

"What an inspiring class. I am really learning so much and am surprised at how interesting colors are! Thank you."

- Deb P.

"The class provided the artist the foundations to explore taking work in new and exciting directions. Helen was patient in answering students’ questions and generous with her support well beyond the actual time spent together in the Zoom class. Helen shared her knowledge and time to support each student individually as we experimented. She challenged us to think in new ways and gave generously of her support when we had questions or encountered problems in our work.”

~ Laureen W. ~