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ART PERSPECTIVES

...from the note pad of Shirley Reade

June 2008

CHOOSING & KNOWING YOUR COLORS
You’ve decided on the composition for your next painting, but there are further color considerations. Be familiar with hue, lightness and saturation as well as the emotions discussed in May Art Perspectives.

KNOW YOUR PURPOSE
What effect are you trying to create and what colors will help you to reach your goal? Are the colors appropriate for the intended audience? Can you improve the effect by changing any of the colors?

THE BACKGROUND COMES FIRST
In many paintings, the background is the largest visible area, so choices are critical.

CHOOSE SHADES BEFORE HUES
A tint is a light value and a shade is a darker value of any particular color. Pick the shades first when choosing a color scheme. The light and dark values are more important than the straight tube colors.

VARY THE SHADES
Subtle shifts in color will lend a realistic look to your painting.

USE COMPATIBLE HUES
Varying shades makes color compatibility important. Your hues do need to be compatible because the line between contrast and chaos is a fine one.

LIMIT THE NUMBER OF COLORS
If you are doing high visibility, high impact work such as posters, brochures or signs, the way to increase color harmony and contrast is to limit the number of hues in your scheme. The flip side is that nature contains every possible combination of color, so knowing when to limit the numbers is not always easy.

USE FAMILIAR COLORS
For conventional audiences, use conventional colors. Uncommon colors can look disagreeable even if they follow the rules of color harmony.

USE “NATURAL” COLORS
The most familiar colors you will find are the ones you see in nature everyday. They are harmonious by definition. Since objects in nature are rarely lighted evenly, subtle shading is important.

BE ORIGINAL
Ignore all the guidelines rather than use a color scheme that is boring. Some rules are made to be broken.

Art Perspectives from Shirley Reade ©

________Art Quote_______

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