Advice for Using Intense Color

I’ve always loved the varied and intense colors of fall, and with winter only a few short weeks away, I thought this was the perfect time to share with you this stunning oil painting by artist Bob Rohm entitled Morning Color. It’s a wonderful example of how intense colors can be perfectly appropriate in an otherwise muted landscape.

The yellow cottonwood trees Rohm painted here seem especially vibrant compared to the cool grayish tones of the surrounding trees and mountains. By having these cool hues dominate the painting, the warm golden leaves appear all the more intense. To maximize color intensity, Rohm recommends using the background hues to enhance—not compete with—a composition’s more vivid hues, suggesting, “Only one color family should be dominant.”

Learn more about color intensity and how Rohm creates such impressive Impressionistic effects in his book, The Painterly Approach: An Artist’s Guide to Seeing, Painting and Expressing.

—Kelly Messerly
Editor, North Light Books

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