As with all forms of artistic expression, colour is an important building block for a great work of contemporary art. The role it plays depends largely upon the piece which is being created, though simultaneously we can pinpoint a few key areas where colour has an integral role in communicating to the art fan.
Notably, colour often operates differently in contemporary artwork when compared to more traditional art forms. This is particularly true in the world of abstract art. Here are some of my favourite ways in which colour can be harnessed to create something incredibly special.
- Draw the eye to details
Compositionally, colour can help to draw the eye towards crucial details within the piece. This is as applicable in works by the Old Masters as it is by modern artists in the 21st century, though the abstraction of some of these later pieces perhaps makes the role even more critical.
- Create texture
Texture is not only created by the materials and ‘staging’ an artwork receives. In modern art paintings, texture and depth can also be formed using shading and differing colour palettes. This is a popular method for helping a fundamentally two-dimensional piece feel more alive.
In addition, it is worthy of note that the absence of colour is every bit as pivotal in art prints for sale, as monochrome likewise sends an interesting textural message.
- Evoke emotion
Colour has an emotive quality, and even a rudimentary exploration of colour psychology demonstrates that we all respond to colour using not only our logical sense, but our emotive, individual viewpoint. Orange in a painting may inspire a sense of urgency, or blue a cooler, more controlled aesthetic.
The colours an artist uses help bridge the divide between the art and the onlooker.
- Describing a scene
The descriptive power of colour is arguably more important in abstract art than other forms, as things may not be immediately as they seem. A clever choice of colours, using descriptive hues which accurately describe the intended visuals, can go a long way towards making a contemporary art piece come to life.