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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > Apr-19 > Tone and colour

Tone and colour

Part 2 After discussing the importance of tone last month, Jem Bowden goes on to look at the role of colour in your work


Keep colour simple. It needn’t be confusing!

You don’t need to match the colours you see

Realise the importance of the tone of any colour

Colour is an important aspect of the visual world, and therefore of painting, but it is only one aspect. For those just setting out with watercolour I believe it can be best not to focus too much on colour theory or even colour mixing. Sometimes people become fixated with colour precisely owing to this, slowing progress with the other aspects of painting, which are just as important. A less scientific, more intuitive attitude towards colour is possible, and you absolutely don’t have to learn colour before you begin painting.

In this article I set out to explain a way of thinking about colour that I hope makes it less of an issue, and may even offer a sense of liberty. Although I’m talking in relation to landscape mainly, much will be relevant to other subjects.

In brief, I’d particularly like to pass on the following tips to anyone relatively new to painting landscapes, or anyone who struggles with colour generally:

1 You don’t usually need to match the colours you see.

2 There’s no right, wrong, best or worst choice of colour palette. You don’t need to copy anyone else’s choice of colours, and you can probably stop buying new ones right now.

3 Don’t worry about brand, Student vs Artists’ quality, or anything at all it says on the tube. Not yet anyway.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the April issue of Leisure Painter. From experimenting with watercolour and gouache to paint a winter landscape and a beginner's guide to acrylic painting to sketching animals from life and drawing trees using ink, this issue is packed with practical advice and information for the amateur painter. There is a plethora of demonstrations to paint in watercolour, acrylic, water-mixable oils, pastels and more to help build confidence and skills along with projects from photographs, tips and techniques and inspiration. Enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter.