In this exercise you will discover how to make your flat colours more vibrant by laying them in a broken fashion rather than painting a solid mixed tone.
To start, watch the accompanying video above.
- Three similarly sized brushes (about ⅓ – ½ an inch wide)
- Two different pigments/hues in oils, acrylics or gouache
- Ideally hues that are typically mixed to make a separate colour, such as red and blue or yellow and red etc.
- White surface to paint on such as canvas paper, canvas or panel.
- A matching medium (water for acrylics and gouache or mineral spirits for oils)
- Use a pencil to lightly draw two 3×3 inch squares next to one another on the surface.
- Squeeze out the two different colours on your surface, near the edge.
- Now take one of your brushes and mix them together to form a new colour. For example, if you mix yellow and red you will make an orange, or if you mix yellow and blue, you will make a green.
- Now paint one of the 3×3 inch squares with this newly mixed colour. You can use the medium to thin the paint if necessary. This will be your flat colour.
- Next you can make a broken version of the same colour.
- Take your remaining clean brushes, and using one for each pure colour, start randomly applying spots of the two colours within the second 3×3 square.
- Keep adding more spots until all the white within the square is covered and the spots are evenly distributed.
- That’s it! If You step back from the canvas, or paper, you will see that the further you are away from the broken colour, the more it merges into a single colour. However, it should vibrate nicely and have a bit more life than the flat colour.
- Both approaches are useful in different situations. Broken colour is particularly useful for landscape painting and making field colour abstract paintings.