Here is the color studies I completed for my most recent painting, 'The Devil is in the Details'. These color studies were completed digitally.
While the possibilities are vast, they are not endless. If you're trying to say something specific, it's your job to remove everything that doesn't support your message and keep what does. You need to be a good editor. Every color has an emotional state that must match the emotion you want your audience to feel. (Disney movies have mastered this.)
In this case it was regarding color: I had to find the most suitable fit. Deciding what the colors should be is akin to deciding what the colors can not be (Re: top left corner - what was I thinking?). Nothing quite said heat like warm colors yellow and orange. This image was kind of tricky because the painting is split in two with separate color schemes that still had to work together without being too obvious (Re: top right corner: 'Ooooooh - blue and orange, how'd ya come up with that one?').
I looked at cosmic and nebula photos (wanting the bottom half of the image to have a very tranquil state to contrast the fire in the top half) and saw there was a lot of blue-green. I incorporated that so it wouldn't be so direct yet still work well with the top half. (Compare top right with bottom right, the study chosen to based the final painting off of, shown below.)