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...from the note pad of Shirley Reade

May 2008


There are many things to think about when getting ready to paint. Here are a few examples of mood-setting color combinations that may help you to achieve harmony within your composition.

The guidelines for attaining tranquil color schemes are exactly the opposite of those used to create a striking mood. Use cool colors like blue and green. Secondary colors like these, along with turquoise and purple are more calming that the primary colors. Another thing to consider is to avoid high contrast. Pinks and pale blue are more tranquil than vivid shades. Black and white are striking, while gray is tranquil.

An exciting color scheme makes use of bright red and strong contrasts, not necessarily the other primary colors. An example might be red contrasted with unusual secondary colors like yellow-orange, or pale green and purple. In general, warm and secondary colors are more exciting than cool or primary colors. Exciting colors will clash with each other, like red and purple. To calm theses exciting colors slightly, use a dark color like gray or black to mediate between the clashing hues.

Natural colors are subtle, complicated hues that are often dark, and muted, never gaudy. Dark brown is made from all three primary colors, with black added. Since natural color schemes tend to look a little drab and lifeless, it’s often helpful to include at least one brighter hue. Don’t make it too bright though or it will overwhelm your other colors.

Colors and combinations of colors that we don’t see in everyday life seem surprising. Colors now considered fashionable like the pink and turquoise scheme of South Florida looked a bit strange when they first arrived on the scene. Almost any color scheme will become acceptable. The trick is to be the first to think of it. Three colors we don’t see very much of in nature are the process colors used in the world of printing, namely magenta, yellow and cyan. A lot of new wave designs use these colors.

More next month on ‘Choosing and Knowing your Colors’…

Art Perspectives from Shirley Reade ©

________Art Quote_______

We shape our lives
Not by what we carry with us,
But by what we leave behind!