Mastering Colour 6: Capturing Light – Colour and Light

The ultimate lesson in how to paint light on any subject. Build your colour perception skills and learn to use the information in the scene to help you convey the temperature and intensity of the light on your subject.


The relationship between the lit and shadow planes on any 3-dimensional object offers the key to capturing a sense of place, light and mood in any location. Learn how the eye and mind perceive colour and deepen your understanding of how the intensity and temperature of the light will affect what you see. Build your skills with an exercise that will teach you how to capture the colour and light in any subject you ever tackle!

Contents: Slide talk, practical demonstration and skill building exercise.
Running time: 1 hr  33 mins
Time required for exercise:  1 -2 hrs

Materials List

Materials and equipment required:

One 9 x 12” board or A4 sheet of paper
A small flat paint brush, around 1cm or ½ “ wide is ideal, a round brush would also be fine
A palette knife of any size and shape you like to use
Paper towel for cleaning/drying brushes
Plenty of clean water if you’re using acrylics or watercolours
Just one from each line of the following list of colours
• Titanium white
• Any bright greenish yellow – Cadmium lemon yellow, bright yellow lake, bismuth vanadate, Lemon yellow (not Michael Harding’s lemon yellow though – be sure to use his cadmium lemon!)
• An orangey yellow – Indian yellow red shade, cadmium golden yellow, cadmium yellow deep, gamboge, Yellow lake deep
• An orangey red – Cadmium red light, vermillion, possibly napthol red if it is an orangey shade
• A purplish red – Quinacridone pink, opera rose, permanent rose, alizarin claret, permanent alizarin, alizarin crimson, (or perhaps even magenta though that is a bit too purple really)
• A purplish blue – Ultramarine or cobalt blue
• A greenish blue – Phthalocyanine blue lake, phthalo blue green shade, Windsor blue, cerulean blue

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