Sunday, September 25, 2016

TESTING COLOURS: The Power of Primaries

Although it is well known that the three primaries of yellow, red and blue make up a host of other colours in the spectrum, few of us prefer to have premixed secondary colours because it is easier to get the colours right every time. I feel that if we are to learn to use only the three primaries, we can train our minds to pick out the right mix every time too.

This cluster of vegetables, a cauliflower, two tomatoes, a cucumber and two chillies were painted using only three colours - yellow, blue and red - which are the known primaries. When mixed in varied proportions, primaries give a stunning variety of colours under the rainbow.

The cauliflower was created using blue + yellow and a tinge of red; the tomatoes using red + yellow and a trace of blue; and the cucumber two shaded of green using blue + yellow and overlapped; while the red chillies were created using red + yellow with a bias towards yellow. The shine on the tomatoes and chillies were created by lifting off. The patterns/texture on the cauliflower were created by natural pigmentation - happy accidents, watercolourists call it.

WHY IT WORKS: In strict sense, you dont need a full set of colours in a 12 or 16-plate palette to do a good representation of your subjects. Understanding the power of primaries can give you that advantage of creating harmonious compositions as can be seen here. Every single colour placed shares a component colour of the other. How can that be not harmonious?

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