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Paint Like A Professional Using Colour Harmony
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Paint Like A Professional Using Colour Harmony

Creating a painting is really quite a mammoth task. You have to have an idea, a subject to paint, and of course the ability to unite these to aspects and translate it into the language of paint. Manipulating what is basically coloured mud onto a surface is in itself a challenge and the other aspects to creating a painting such as composition, tonal values, perspective, painting techniques etc etc all add to its complexity . There is one thing though that will give your painting a unity that will do much for it’s success and it’s something that even many professionals forget to do.

When painting, one uses a variety of colours to recreate the objects seen. These have the power to work together to achieve your aims or, if you’re not careful, fight among themselves and therefore undermine your idea. It’s a bit like the colour control on a TV. Turn it up full and you get a disturbing, garish picture which actually repels you to look at. You therefore play about with the switch to achieve a harmonious balance (using contrast and brightness…more about this later).

Let’s first look at a universal truth. We live in a unified world made of light. This light is one source and splits into colours and reflects everywhere. Can you see where I’m going with this? The dark brown chair you may be painting also has aspects of the blue carpet and the off-white wallpaper and in fact every other colour in the room. When we squeeze paints out of the tube onto the palette we have a series of separate colours. What we have to do is bring them together the way they are in nature i.e. reflecting in one another. This is so basic but I still have to sometimes remind myself to do it. We get wrapped up in the whole complex process of ideas and techniques straightforward work of painting that in our hurry to paint we forget about this fundamental truth. So here is what I want you to think about the next time you start a painting:

When you mix one colour, for example, pink, keep some to the side and mix it into whatever colour you use next. Continually intermixing a smaller or greater amount of paint from what you have previously used ensures that you will attain harmony in your painting. When you do this you will immediately recognise the effect it has. Working with a limited amount of colours but a maximum amount of intermixing can create a highly effective and impressive painting.

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