‘Colour in a picture is like enthusiasm in life’

– Vincent Van Gogh

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As artists and illustrators will agree, we tend to have our ‘favourites’ – our favourite mediums, our favourite subjects, and in my case a favourite colour palette. Well it’s time for a challenge!

The topic of my current canvas painting is ‘sound through the eyes of autism’, which explores the impact a variety of ‘everyday’ sounds we have become accustomed to whilst living in a busy environment can have on someone on the autistic spectrum. I will be using colour as a mode of communication, to express the intensity of the sounds, as well as positioning clashing colours strategically to covey the sense of discomfort. Whilst being an exercise in the perception of, and relationships between colours, this piece also allows me to practice using colours outside of my comfort zone, to learn the nature of the colours better, which I feel I have with my ‘go-to palette’.

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‘I want to know more, where do i start?’

Of course there’s so much to discover when it comes to colour. Whilst at university I took a module titled ‘Understanding Colour’ which only scratched the surface on this vast topic. If you’re interested in getting serious about colour theory, I recommend reading ‘The Elements of Colour‘ by Itten, the famous expressionist painter linked to the Bauhaus. First published in 1963, it’s an oldie but a goodie! An unusual and interesting read also comes from Sara Fanelli’s ‘Sometimes I Think, Sometimes I am‘, which offers ample visual examples of how colour and a limited pallet can be used to convey a message. The book also includes a colour booklet, and you’ll discover a mass of quotes from famous artists regarding colour. Find it on Amazon here.

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Colour can mean different things to different people and can be used in inventive ways. I found some treasures on Folksy by artists who are embracing the effects colour can have. I recently discovered talented print maker James Green, whose work uses limited colours in each piece to produce a real impact. Here is some of his work, which can be bought in his shop here: James Green Printworks. You can also show your support by liking him on facebook.

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Another shop I recommend checking out is ‘Hush‘, whose owner Sarah Walters has produced a wonderful series of prints based on the seasons. Her notelet pack offers the whole series of designs, meaning there’s no need to choose!

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Coming next week: Monthly tutorial – Accurate drawing for beginners

16/09/2016 – Tutorial now available here: Accurate drawing for beginners

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