Part 5. Project 2 5.2 Building a Colour Response

5.2 Identify and Present your colour palette

Working with my new drawings I have chosen to take my colours from my Tropical Tourist work.  I love the softer, darker, murkier colours of the  UK  but that is not the world I live in.  Our sub tropical vegetation and our bright sunlight produce to me a more colourful and bright colour palette.

I drew my colours with Faber Castel Gelatos crayons and added water.  I was interested in how the Gelatos worked I thought they were a bit streaky but my subjects have fine marks and variations in colour too.  My palette looks decidedly warm temperature.


I have identified the complementary colours of red and green predominately with the addition of yellow orange and pink(tint).  Looking out at my garden as I type this blogpost I can see all these colours in the flowers and shrubs in the garden.  We have a very bright yellow green displayed on some leaves with the morning sun filtering through. Red, orange and pink Hibiscus flowers,  red arrowroot flowers, orange marigolds and orange geisha girl are all flowering together with red and pink frangipani.

Looking at my hand dyed fabrics I identified cotton fabrics  that matched my colour palette. Reflecting on these colours I can see, for example, that a modified triad colour scheme of red, orange and yellow would make a strong and bold work.  I need to be aware of the distribution of the design elements in my work too to produce equilibrium in my composition.  Think about the amount of colour or size of the colour area e.g. mass colour(large area) or broken colour.  I can also think of one colour like red from the pure hue to light to dark – the value the degree of lightness or darkness(see Fabric Postcard below by B McQuarie). A surface or fabric which is rich in line, value, pattern and movement can be made with  a limited or single colour.


In summary, I need to be aware of the contrasts of colour like hue(e.g.pure hue shows up well against neutral gray black and white), value(e.g. can use strong value to capture attention), intensity(my colour palette as presented has a high intensity and I need to be aware of that and think about and maybe add some neutrals to tone it down), complements(my red and green which are visually exciting side by side), quantity(think about large areas of colour(with just a hint of another colour) or small and powerful e.g. neutrals with a touch of red), temperature(art of a red desert you can feel the heat almost.  Need to think about too much heat and use a pale green/blue say to relieve the intensity).



Color is one of the great things

in the world that makes life

worth living to me, and, as I

have come to think of painting,

it is my efforts to create an

equivalent with paint color for 

the world – life as I see it.

Georgia O’Keefe


Postcard size “Red” fabric – Barbara McQuarie, New Zealand – shades of red.


J Itten, The Elements of Color, 1970, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York

N Leland, Confident Color, 2008, F & W Publications, Ohio


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