Colour is the most important element of paintings. The kind of colours you choose, and how you mix and combine them, speak a lot for your skills and knowledge of painting. Although, in this era of technology, people get their photo to paintings created using services like Instapainting. When you are painting from a reference photo, you will be more than often confused if you should copy the colours exactly as they are in the picture. In this article, we will share with you some important traits about colours that you should keep in mind when painting.
When you talk about colours in a painting you should mainly focus on four essential elements: chroma, hue, value, temperature. Let’s discuss them in details here:
Hue and tone are two different things, at least a lot of artists assume that. But let’s not get into those debates now. Hue in simple language means what colours you use. For example, the sky is blue, the grass is green and rose is red. The hue here would mean which colour family the subject belongs to.
Chroma means the depth and purity of a particular colour. Chroma helps you understand how colourful a particular subject or how saturated it is. For example, if you are painting a rose red, then try to find how ‘red’ the red of the flower is. High chroma colour is one where the colour is the purest form of its family.
Value is about how dark or light a particular colour is. For example, start with making monochromatic paintings, that will give you a good understanding of how light or dark a colour is. The value proposition of a colour can be distracting to a great extent. Compare the subject matters in your painting and see for yourself which subject is lighter and which is darker in comparison to each other.
Temperature is another important concept in painting. You need to understand if a certain colour in the painting that you are using is warm or cool or neutral. Warm colours will have a reddish tone to it, while cool colours have a blue-ish tone to it. Neutrals are mostly naked colours such as peach, white, mauve and beige.
Here’s an example to all the above: if you are painting a rose, you will not just take any random red to paint it and its petals. You will have to understand the composition of the subject which will include its hue, temperature, chroma and value. These concepts will help you understand how to paint the subject well. You might want the left petal to be a little muted as compared to the right petals. You might want the outer layer to be lighter as compared to the inner layer and in that case the inner layer should have warmer tone in comparison to the outer layer. The little details have huge impact when you are painting especially the focal points of the painting. It need not be necessary for you to copy the colours as it is from the photo, but what is really important is to ensure that you understand how to coordinate colours well in the painting, and you will be assured of a great result when you complete the painting.