Paint's 2015 color palettes have an Impressionistic glow

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Color forecasts for 2015 look a little like the palettes of impressionist painters Monet, Renoir or Van Gogh.

Most paint companies have released their color of the year collections. They usually choose four themes to reflect the trends and then pull one standout color as the star. Pantone, which chooses colorways for products beyond paint, has called its 2015 fashion color report "En Plein Air," referring to outdoor painting with a range of "understated brights, pale pastels and tropical landscapes."

The Sherwin-Williams palettes cross the spectrum from the muted, colorful neutrals of the Chrysalis palette to the bold, carnival shades of Unrestrained. The companyís color of the year is Coral Reef (SW 6606), a shade that Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing, says "has a great floral component in it. Itís not too red, not too orange, right in the middle and just creates a buoyant mood."

The companyís press materials show splashy peonies, painted shabby chic furniture and a modern backdrop for lime green art.

"Possibilities Trends" is the theme behind the four new palettes at PPG Paints and Architectural Coatings. The companyís color experts chose Blue Paisley (PPG-1238-6), a crisp, saturated blue, as its color of the year.

"We have had a really great response to the shade," said Dee Schlotter, PPG color brand manager. "It is very optimistic and points to a new horizon. It is a serious, mature and positive blue, not like the baby blues of the past."

Blue Paisley is part of the Co-leidoscope palette, based on world trends and travels. It coordinates with Mother of Pearl, Bone White and a fun yellow called Curry Sauce.

The Good Life palette from PPG pulls from the harmony of the coastal regions. Fresh flowers and earthy browns hint of the sea in shades such as Oatmeal, Burnt Red, Holland Tile and Malibu Done. They work well with natural textures ranging from wicker to braided leather. Other palettes in the collection include the modern Iím Pulse, featuring urban neutrals paired with brights, and Introsense, which blends nature and technology with shades such as Antique White and Onyx.

Of course, there has to be somewhere for the eye to rest in this color bouquet. The Paint Quality Institute is naming gray as the winner over white for the second year in a row.

"This is the first time any color has headlined our forecast in back-to-back years," says color expert Debbie Zimmer. "But gray, a near-perfect neutral color, has really caught on."

Benjamin Moore never disappoints with its color of the year. This year, itís Guilford Green (HC-116), a stunning silvery green that changes with the light. Reminiscent of the perennial plant known as lambís ear, it pairs well with just about everything and adds freshness. Press materials show it on the ceiling with walls painted in Universal Black to great effect. The Benjamin Moore palette also includes Caponata (AF-650) and Portland Gray (2109-60) as dark anchors.

Dutch Boy paints has unleashed a much darker side of blue in Coal Blue (E16-1). Reminiscent of Pennsylvania blue slate, it becomes a neutral backdrop when paired with light tans, pale blues and even mustard yellow. Other shades in the collection include Faintest Idea (F-25-4), a pale lavender that pairs well with varying shades of blue from turquoise to pale blue; and Biloxi Blues (E-17-2), a cornflower blue that is friendly with Loden Woo, a basil pesto green, and Ashton Orange.

Behrís collection focuses on saturated colors paired with neutrals, including Essential Teal (T15-3) from the Deep Dreams palette. Theyíve also released a Frosted Pastels palette of Dreamscape Gray, Secret Blush, Elusive Blue and Dandelion Tea. Pop art takes center stage in the Social Brights collection, while Nuanced Neutrals wash ashore in Blue Clay, Mocha Foam and Snap Pea Green.

Last but not least is premium paint Farrow & Ball. The British company known for amazing front door paint has released four key colors for 2015 ó Breakfast Room Green, Light Blue, Pink Ground and Tannerís Brown. Neutral and saturated, they evoke a spring bouquet in the softest sense.

The trick to using all of these shades is getting to the undertones in them. Every shade has a warm, cool or neutral undertone, and it is wise to consult with the color cards each company provides to find its complement. This is especially important when painting a kitchen, where cabinetry can throw off color.

Whatever direction you choose, donít be afraid to stroke on some color. Itís almost as much fun as picking spring flowers.