How Does Real Knowledge of the Primary Colours Help with Painting?

Well, imagine being able to make any colour you want using only the three primaries and white. Colours for skies, trees, skin, eyes, clothes, interiors, shadows, even imagined colours, anything.

You may ask why we would want to use only the three primaries, when we can simply go to a shop and buy 100 different tubes of paint to cover all our possible needs? Surely if we bought all of the colours available we wouldn't even need to mix any colours, would we? Well, there are two answers to this:

1) Apart from being a very expensive way of painting, even if you were to buy every colour of oil paint available, it is a certainty that they will almost never be exactly the colours you need (once you really begin observing the colour of things accurately).

2) Working with the primary colours is the only way you will achieve a sufficient understanding of colour so that as a painter you can be free to mix precisely the colours you wish in any situation.

© 2009

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