Deep winter – a lesson in colour

Yesterday morning the light in the back room surprised me so much I thought the neighbours must have cut a tree down. But it was just winter and the leafless limbs were letting the low sun in and I was happily home to appreciate at it.

By evening it was chilly again and the sky gave me a colour lesson. Marco said I paint with a lot of cool tones and I should bring in more warmth – but I always think purply blue is warm – and then Hilmi showed me how burnt sienna will warm and deepen shadows far more than adding more blue ever will. But the cool / warm tone concept still eluded me.

Although the colour wheel and I have been great mates ever since I could say the colours of the rainbow, the use of colour and mixing in painting seems to me to be another mysterious thing in art making altogether – it is a kind of alchemy.

So I had to grab this photo across the backyard which shows the warm yellow of the house light against the cool purple blue sky. Sorry for being such a slow pupil – penny drops…


This small chart also makes the point quite clear so I’m not sure why it isn’t just obvious.



There is also an interesting description and examples of use of warm colours in design on the design shack website.

Now it’s off to painting today and another effort to balance cool and warm.

Exciting stuff .



2 thoughts on “Deep winter – a lesson in colour

  1. Hi Kate – I was sitting at the computer and suddenly looked up to see this great inky sky. The proportion is so right – the tilt of the planet and what wavelength it lets in means we get more blue in the south in winter – there’s a reference to it in the article which rings a bell. It’s half a century or so since I did any physics so you’d want to get a fact check on that. <:


  2. That’s a great shot, and shows how the eye explains the ambient environment to the brain. That image says cold in a way no tropical twilight image ever will, even though the same colours may be present. I think it’s proportions, how much of which colour…


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