I have been thinking about and observing colour a lot recently. Whilst walking in the Forest yesterday I was aware of how we can look at a scene and perceive bright colour, but when we examine it more closely we become aware that actually there is very little colour.

So as we observed a large area of dying bracken in a lit clearing what we saw first were the autumnal yellows, and we thought it was more colourful than it actually was.. Most of the bracken was a very uninspiring brown colour and there were only a few touches of brighter colour, and even this on examination was not that vivid. What made the yellows appear vivid was the dullness, or neutrality of the tan brown, and the dark greens of the surrounding holly trees and deep shadow areas.

My tendency can be to go straight to colour, and I need to be brought back to using neutrals to show off a few colour patches that make a painting sing. So that’s my challenge of the month now – observe the neutrals, observe how colour really works around me, and find the balance!