Struggling with Harmony?

Read on to learn how to use a mother color to create harmony in a painting.

But first…

What is harmony? 

Simply put, harmony in a painting is using elements to create unity in your composition. It’s often the missing unifier that makes your artwork “sing”

With so many options, color can be confusing, especially if you are just starting out on your painting journey. There are tons of colors to choose from, several color schemes to adopt, and then there’s making your OWN black and gray paint

But you’re brave. So you get to work. You’ve made your grid, your focal point is in a good place, and you’re using all your wonderful colors, but it’s still not quite right.

Blue is one of my favorite colors to start with!

What can you do? 

A nice trick to achieving harmony in a painting is to use a mother color.

We will discuss harmony in more detail in later posts. 

The Mother Color

A mother color is a single color that you mix, in small amounts, into every other color in your painting. This adds a subtle unity to your painting. For example, you can add a tiny touch of the same gray to every color that you mix. This will unify the color palette and make it more harmonious. 

Experiment with mother colors by doing studies on paper.

When I paint on paper, I like to use fluid acrylics to lay a ground color so as to start off with a rich base. This helps with the stark contrast of the white paper and would be a great opportunity to introduce a mother color. 

In this timelapse, you can see how I create variations of blue: my mother color for the painting at hand.

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