Вздыбленные лошади на картинах старых мастеров походят на кенгуру.

by Vjatcheslav Palatchev (Yaroslavl, Russia)


The original version in http://www.explore-drawing-and-painting.com/harmonization-of-colours.html

The choice of colours in the painting depends on the goal a painter has in mind. In every movement of painting, colours play the most important role in expression of feelings, changes of time during the day or to emphasize particular details.


While painting, I’m always trying as much as possible to realize colours as they are in nature. 

Painting in the open air or from photo is a good practice, but there are some major points without relying on which it’s very difficult to understand how to pass natural colours on to the picture.

First of all, our feelings and perception depend on a lot of causes. Before painting I imagine the whole process and consequence of using colours. In nature we can see all as a unity and while painting we create little by little what we see and it changes our perception.

In nature or in the picture, colours in one part are influenced by the colours of the other parts and often we just can’t feel this influence, because we are used to seeing landscapes as a unity. But we have to paint in parts, adding brush strokes little by little and our perception of colours can change during the work. While painting background I estimate saturation and hues counting on colours which I’ll use for the foreground.

For example, on the picture above, it might seem that I made the background too dark, because the foreground was just white canvas then. From my experience I knew that I would paint foreground with strong shadows and very bright colours, and as a result, the background would, as I call this, step back and there would be aerial perspective. Such estimation depends on experience in painting. I never copy colours from a photo. To succeed, one must feel colours and not imitate.

Electric light also changes our perception of colours, shadows, etc. I would compare this with daylight while painting. It helps to understand the interdependence of colours. Comparing different lights I see ever more connections between colours.

On the palette I arrange paints according to their tones. As a rule, I use 17-20 colors right next to each other according to their tones. When I mix paints I compare derived colours with colours on the canvas. Consequently, when I’m applying brush strokes, the paints on the brush mix with the paint on the canvas to create the colours which I want.

While mixing paints on the palette it’s neccessery to keep in mind, that on the canvas a painter works not with paints but with colours. In nature there are a lot of reflections everywhere. Colours change each other under the influence of light and the nearer the objects, the more intensive are reflections. Often I make reflections just using the ability of oil paint to mix while doing brush strokes and rolling a bit with brush. If I have to paint an intense reflection I take some paint with a side of the brush to make the reflection with a single brush stroke avoiding inappropriate mixture.

The most important and the most difficult is to decide where and how intense a reflection must be. For me, work with reflections is always closely related to the harmonization of colours of the whole painting. And this connection helps one understand how to make the picture as a unity.

An object or a landscape which we can see in nature is surrounded with a number of other objects interacting with colours and light. But we can paint only a fragment of our view and this influences our perception of the painting as a unity so that a painter must harmonize colours.

Painting from the photo above I made the horses smaller so I would not overburden the composition. The horses are the main subject of the picture and I had to harmonize colours accordingly. I added the brown path to the left and made pale red reflections on the grass.

Painting the sky and the river I add a bit red paint so that the horses are not so emphasized as on the photo. To harmonize grass on the foreground and a forest on the background I made the forest brighter using more yellow and white. This also helped to show the aerial perspective.

There are a lot of objects interconnected on every picture. Before painting I think about these connections and how all the colors relate to each other.


Палачев Вячеслав Николаевич, родился 24 декабря 1980 года, художник в третьем поколении. Подробнее...

E-mail: art.palachev@ya.ru