Monday, July 7, 2008

Colour Schemes - Monochromatic and Analagous Colour Schemes, Part III of a Series

Martian Dawn

It's an almost sunny day this Monday here in Ireland and I'm going to add a little more to this series. For earlier parts see part I here and part II here.
When dealing with colour there are various colour combinations that work together to create harmony within a painting. Some involve several colours widely spaced on the colour wheel and some are more restrictive. The most restrictive is the monochromatic colour scheme, shown above in Martian Dawn (if you omit the foreground). It involves just one colour used in varying intensities. Black and white may also be used in this colour scheme. When white is mixed with a colour, the result is known as a tint. When black is mixed with the colour the result is known as a shade. When the colour is not mixed with black or white, but allowed to vary in strength of pigment the variations are known as tones. If you want to experiment with various effects described here with a particular colour, you can visit and look for their virtual reality colour mixing program. It is unique on the web I believe, and allows you to experiment on a virtual palette with mixing all the various combinations you desire.
When first we think about it, a colour scheme based around a limited amount of colour or just one, might seem to have little impact, but these limited colour palettes can be used to create unique atmospheres within paintings. Hence they should not be dismissed so readily and this post is really to make people aware of their possible uses.

Compare my work Symphony of Silence with Desert of the Blue stones, shown above. The latter uses what is almost a monochromatic scheme, whereas the former is very colourful. I like both pictures, but the restricted palette of Desert... is able to convey a certain type of atmosphere. The colour scheme for Desert... is best described as almost Analagous. All the colours are emphasising a cool atmosphere. If I had used the complimentary colour to blue, which is orange then it would be a complimentary colour scheme. Orange is warm and would transform the atmosphere of the painting. However I preferred to use a colder yellowy green in places and this is not a compliment.
Analagous is where the colours used are all close together on the colour wheel. Desert... is using colours which are slightly further apart than would fit this model, but is okay to illustrate the general idea. For a true Analagous colour scheme, all the colours used are fitting into at least one quarter of the colour wheel. Martian Dawn is really an example of this when the foreground is included as all colours are close together. If the foreground rocks were the red brown colour as the background it could be a monochromatic scheme.

Some points about the two schemes.

When using the Monochromatic scheme it is easy to achieve balance in the painting, but it may be more difficult to emphasise a particular element. However it is easy on the eye if used correctly and creates atmosphere easily.

The Analagous scheme is as easy as the monochromatic scheme but increases the possibilities for creating interest in the painting. Mixing warm and cool colours together should be avoided in this scheme. One of the colours should be used as a dominant colour and the others used to enhance the painting.
Where did I get the idea for Desert...? Well, the answer lies in a combination of my imagination and a dream I had which left a vivid memory. I dreamt of this place with those mountains in the distance and straight away I drew a sketch the moment I woke up!! Crazy, but true. The sky, well it just evolved as I worked. I didn't really know what was going to be, and just tried experimenting. My handwriting is filled with such swirling shapes and I just allowed them to fall into the brushstrokes of the sky. The girl and the dragons, from a strange imagination!! The result is what you see! Hope you can enjoy it.
That's it for a Monday wakeup call! I hope you are enjoying the blog. Feel free to share it with anyone you think would like my art. If anyone likes poetry, tomorrow is the day to check in... Catch you later.

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