Artists Creating Harmony of Colours, How to Choose the Colors

Creating harmony of colours in a painting is a skill and a technique.
The Flagellation of Christ by Piero della Francesca (Image courtesy Wikimedia commons)

What is Harmony

Harmony is a state of happening where wavelengths of those present around and lying in near vicinity meet each other. Together they form a pleasant scenario. In the art of painting, the element of harmony of colours is paramount. Harmony of the colours would create a feeling of tranquillity in the minds of the viewers.

Harmony in Painting

If the colours are used creating a harmonious looking painting, it is an achievement for the artist who did it. Here the artist creates a single effect using different characters of the colours lying on his or her palate. The plate might be full with cool colours or bright colours, but a painter configures a whole picture to facilitate the eyes of viewers to enjoy the artwork.

An artist, while painting in water colour or oil colours or in any other medium, endeavours finding equivalents of the colours he or she sees in the real atmosphere. But his or her choice is limited to the colours available in the palette. So the artist would select the harmonious colours to make a painting beautiful. As the piece of music entertains listeners by creating the interest in listening, the painter also tries creating visual interest in the eyes of viewers.

The viewers, or the listeners, enjoy the art or music if the sense of order is there. The sense of order is pivotal for creating interest and generating final enjoyment through the work of art. By harmonising the tones and values of colours, the painters create the same sense of order. With the help of his or her painterly vision, an artist creates a kind of lively equilibrium among different tones of the colours used. Ultimately the end product, the painting on paper or canvas, arises as a convincing reality of the object the artists has recreated.

Harmony in Colour Displayed

The above painting is done by renaissance artist Piero Della Francesca. In addition to creating the harmony of colours in his painting, the Italian artist was known for depicting compositional elements like perspective and arrangement of light in his paintings. The Italian artists of renaissance period were expert in showing the subject and executing the theme of painting they chose to paint. In the above painting of the element of light painted around figure of Jesus is astonishingly superb.


Every trade or profession has its tools of trade. The art of painting has its own, peculiar type of tools. From the days of cave paintings, human mind endeavors to find out newer and more efficient tools for depicting its painting prowess. By manipulating the use of colours and brush strokes, the clan of artists does create beautiful perspectives.

Choosing Colours: Artists create virtual world on the blank surfaces of canvas. Here we would look into the characters and qualities of colours, the important tools of painting. Now a day most of the colours are sold in packing and manufactured by professional companies. Colours are as in numbers as are the stars in the moonless sky. Though there are no watertight rules regarding how to use colours, there are certain set of colours making pleasant combinations. If used in a set pattern, the colours spread on paper or canvas would promise success.

The most important aspect to be kept in mind wile using colours is the concept of “balance”. The balance of bright, cool, and subdued colours in their proper proportion is the key factor. Though there are no watertight rules regarding how to use colours, there are certain sets of colours making pleasant combinations. If used in a set pattern, the colours spread on paper or canvas would promise an aesthetic combination.


If we closely look at any painting, we would notice that one or a group of colours dominate the whole frame. Among this set of colours, one of them might be dominating its immediate surrounding. This dominance would be in terms of hue, intensity or value of that particular colour. When we feel like that, the balance is created there. If we weigh the colours spread on canvass in terms of weight, we can clearly say that an area of dominant colour is much heavier, heavier than the area covered by the adjoining colours. Were we to make our painting a balanced in all respect, we should develop a well-balanced colour scheme.

Balancing of the colours means to equalize the weight of all the colours used. Knowing about the weight of particular combination of colours can be known by technical reading or it can be gained through the practice, too. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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