Are You Really Painting With Muddy-Looking Colors?

by Jollyon Hooley
(Port Alfred)

Primary Colors

Primary Colors

Or does your painting lack life and is flatter than a pancake?

Well, we'll have to brush up with a little color sense.

To start off, have a vision of what you like to see in your paintings (and drawings if you are using pastels). Will your painting be high key (very light) or low key or just in the middle?" Then decide what side of the color spectrum you like - cool or warm?

If you want to blend a coolness and you'd like to throw a little warmth in, then check out how Monet's lilies series of paintings. Notice how the cool blues were placed in conjuction with the warmer colors. Van Gogh was quite a master of this also.

Color is a vast subject as there is much to know about the 16 million colors we can perceive - and those we cannot see!

My advice is to start off with the three primaries (red, blue and green) and experiment with specific proportions with these three. Example; a blob of green can come alive if it is only a dash surrounded by a big blob of red. As they are opposite in hue.

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