Monday Motivator: Believable Colour

Monday Motivator

“Believable” color does not mean how accurately the colors match reality. It means that the viewer can accept the painter’s reality on their own terms. … A painting is not reality, so its colors don’t necessarily have to conform to reality.

Mitchell Albala, “The Landscape Painter’s Workbook“, page 108

Colour is a combination of observation and interpretation, between what we can see (and what we know about the colours in a subject) and what works for the painting (and what we know about how colours work together).

We may not easily see colours in a shadow, and perhaps not at all, but we know that not simply using black makes for a more interesting painting. Which colours is then the question, and therein lies the joys, the frustrations, and the explorations. It might be the answer lies in darker versions of the colours, or in dark complementaries.

Just as he excelled at teasing colours out of snow scenes, so Monet could do it with shadows.

“Rocks at Port-Goulphar, Belle-Île”, Claude Monet, 1886, Oil on canvas, 66 × 82 cm. In the collection of the Art Institute Chicago

3 Replies to “Monday Motivator: Believable Colour”

  1. Love this. Colour perception isn’t the same for everyone. My colorblind brother cant see reds and brown. His paintings are very green!

  2. I love colors… when I process my photos… I crop and enhance the colors and contrasts… same with painting…people say “ that’s not real”. I say.. “ It’s real to me!” 😊💙🎶

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