I am learning the seven contrasts of color. What is your opinion about the main difference in contrast of temperature? Should it be warm vs. cool hue, or bright vs. dull or light vs dark? Thanks in advance.


Those that you mentioned are all great ways to create contrast. Depending on the subject matter and on the feel you are trying to achieve, you can use each and all of them.

When possible, I like to include the most variety in effects, which keeps the painting interesting.

-warm vs. cool hue

-bright vs. dull

-light vs. dark

All three are great ways to create variety and visual interest in the painting, and they can be used on the same piece.

I usually try to create the highest contrast right at the focal point; like the darkest dark near the lightest light. Also, I like to have a bright spot at the focal point, when it works.

I also learned that to have a lot of bright colors in a painting (which I love), you need to use dull (or boring) colors next to them, to help them pop without a fight.

One more thing I learned is that all of these contrasting colors work better when used to unify bigger shapes. For example, creating cool/warm contrast between a big cool shadow shape and a warm sunny shape, but with color variation within each mass.

Updated on April 3, 2018

Original Article:

Color Temperature for Artists
By Robie Benve