Sunday, May 28, 2023

Russell Flint on Color Harmony

Russell Flint, Cordoba, watercolor

In his book Water-Colour for Beginners Sir Frances Russell Flint warned that a painting will lack color harmony if it has too many colors in it. He said: 

"You must aim at getting tone and harmony in your work, although it may not be easy. All pictures may be divided into masses of bright color or light, medium-strength color, and shadows. It may be difficult to trace the exact places where they occur in a picture, but they are there all the same. It is obvious that when you are working out of doors on a bright sunny day all the colors will be strong and bright in tone, and even the shadows and middle tints will be strong too. The opposite occurs on a dull day, when the whole scene is changed to one of low tone, when both colors and shadows will be soft and subdued. In each case the colors will harmonize and all complement each other in tone. Mix the colors of these two scenes together and the result is a discordant picture which will be unnatural and unbalanced."


james holland said...

Good to see this illustration and sensible comment.Flint is particularly well known in the UK for his watercolours of the female nude.He also used the technique of soaking his paper in white before working .This helped him in his attempt to get brilliant effects .The same technique was used by his fellow Scot, Arthur Melville.

James Gurney said...

Thanks for that intriguing info, James. Now I'm wondering what sort of white he would use? Gesso? Water-soluble gouache? I've heard that Burt Silverman would coat his board with a thin layer of white gouache, and of course the Pre-Raphaelites would paint in oil over a wet white layer.

james holland said...

I think you could use all those things for a watercolour but gesso might be absorbent.When I was young there were tubes of white watercolour called Chinese White.That would work well.

James Coffin - Drum Teacher said...

Hi James, do you have any tutorials or book recommendations on watercolor fundamentals, specifically in painting and rendering basic forms? I want to approach it like I did drawing, by gaining confidence with the simple forms before moving on to more complex skills. Thanks in advance!