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Color Harmony

wide shot of paradise

By Jonathon Williams

Whoa! Where to begin? First off, color harmony is using colors that are harmonious to the viewer.

Well, that sounded easy, but how do we accomplish that when doing, say, a landscape painting or portrait? Well, the first thing to think about is, if you look on a color wheel, all the range of colors are at their highest chroma, or strength of color. So if you painted in full strength, your painting would be chaotic! That said, to tone down your painting, you either use a narrow selection of color, use greys to cut the color intensity, or limit your palette. When you narrow your colors, you are really squinting down and seeing the overall color you are looking at. In a country scene, the overall look may be beige or red-brown. So you would be using colors that harmonize with this feeling or look. This can be done by moving colors across the color wheel to grey down the intensity and adding white, or mixing up a cool grey and a warm grey to mix into your colors, making them less intense.

In portrait, you might try a Zorn palette. Look up Anders Zorn, and discover the beautiful portraits and nudes he did with just white, yellow-ochre, red, and black. By mixing these out on your palette, you will be amazed to find beautiful blues, violets, greens, and other flesh tones. This palette also keeps you in a short range of colors, so nothing is heavy-handed or out of the box. Well, it is very hard to explain, but color mixing and a harmonious painting go hand in hand.

You can follow me on social media and look at my short videos. On Facebook, find me under “Jonathon Williams Artist” or on Instagram as jonwillart. And I would be glad to have an art talk over coffee. Reach me at my email, and What’sApp me at 415 102 1298. See you next month with more #ArtTips.


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