Atmosphere. How Does This Effect My Colours?

Atmosphere. How Does This Effect My Colours?
by Artist Ron Gribble
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The answer is everywhere. If you are painting a still life, in the corner of a shed somewhere, it is going to be less, because there is less distance in your painting. But the more distance you put into your painting, the more that atmosphere is going to be a factor. What do I mean by atmosphere? The way that light and thus colour is changed by the water particles, or lack of water particles that exists in the atmosphere of the day. The time of day, the heat of the day, the time of year, the place on Earth where you are painting, there are so many factors, that will all combine to make each day what it is. This atmospheric colour will be the dark colours that are visible in your scene, from the front right through to the back.

artist tip How Does This Effect My Colours
How Does This Effect My Colours

The atmospheric colour will be lighter in the back, as the distant colours are effected more by the light. So the more distance there is between you and what you are looking at, the lighter and warmer it should be in your painting. This is called “Aerial Perspective”. I prefer to call it colour perspective, and if you can grasp the importance of settling on an atmospheric colour, and tinting this for all of your dark colours through the painting, you will make your job a lot easier.

So, find the atmospheric colour, decide exactly how hot it is going to be, as per my other tip. Atmospheric colours are cold or cool colours, as they are in the shade, but decide how cool you want it, and mix up the value of the colour that will be in the mid-ground. If you mix up plenty of it, you can slit it into three piles, and lighten and warm one for the back ground, and darken and cool the other one for the front.

This atmospheric colour will appear in ALL of your colours. Yes, even your highlights. There may only be very small amounts in some colours, but the whole painting will ‘hang together’ in a common family of colours.

Happy Painting,
Ron Gribble.

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