What is Colour Disharmony?


Image “Portrait of Madame Matisse. (The green line)”, 1905 by Henri Matisse from accessed 13/10/2016

Matisse’s painting above is a fine example of colour disharmony.  Here is an exercise.

Take a plain sheet of paper and brush onto it a dab of bright red and close by a dab of bright green. These complementary colours create a disharmony between them and create tension.


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Your task is to paint the rest of the paper so these colours disappear and a harmony is established.  If you are like me you will create “mud” and that is not a bad thing.


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Mud has significance and emotional strength depending on the colours around it. If you were to paint six “mud” squares and put a thick outline of different colours around them you will be amazed to see how different each of the squares looks against their different backgrounds.
An easy way to remove disharmony between these two colours would be to paint several squares of different colours leaving space between them.


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Then paint ivory black in these spaces so that this network of black unites the picture. The painting ends up like a stained glass window, the black lines intensifying the colour and at the same time helping to bind the design together.
The drawing below is a group work done by children aged 12-14. See how the black is hardly noticeable at all, and how beautiful is this work?  This painting reminds me of the work of famous Swiss artist,  Paul Klee.


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