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So how can Colour Be ' Clever'?

Martin Kinnear on the fine art of not stating the obvious and making better paintings




What's in a Name?

Naming a course is tricky. I guess that it's a bit like choosing the right cover for a book because it's hard to convey what one can learn from it in a single catchy phrase.

Take ' Simply Oils' for instance , which is far and away my most popular course and has transformed the fortunes of self taught oil painters by completing their understanding of the process.


I chose 'Simply' because the course was 'simply everything' I wished I'd been taught when I wanted to learn oils - and I've spent the last 20 years looking for a name which says that, whist not suggesting 'simply' has indicate a facile course for absolute beginners.


As with Simply, so with 'Clever Colour', one of my intermediate style building courses. To be honest I thought I was on fairly safe ground with this, after all who doesn't want to be clever, and who doesn't have problems from time to time with colour?




Anyway, no sooner had I posted up a quick heads up video about how Clever Colour can help painters to avoid using boring colours than someone messaged me to archly enquire as to if I could kindly explain 'how a colour can be 'boring'?


Leaving aside what I thought was the widely understood concept of predicative adjectives (you know wise savings, safe bets, silly questions and so forth), the question is a valid one - how exactly can colour be clever?


Surprised and Amazed

I'm sure you've had the experience of walking into a gallery and being struck by the visual strength or harmony achieved by unexpected colour choices in a great painting - Monet painting Rouen cathedral lemon yellow or dusty rose for instance, that is clever colour.


Colours can be amazing all by themselves, an orange sunset over dusky blue hills is just perfect, or red poppies in a green field, or yellow sand under a purpling sky... yet all of these things while beautiful are also expected.


Clever colour is when a colour is wrong for the observed subject, yet right for the painting, when a colour is unexpected, exciting, intriguing or just good old fashioned inspired.


You don't get these things from patient observation or some kind of special artists only eyesight, but from the insightful application of the unwritten rules of colour. You can sit as long as you like opposite Waterloo Bridge and it won't turn the enchanting blue violet which makes Monet's famous paintings of it so enchantingly, hauntingly, memorably, beautiful.


Clever Colour is what allowed Monet to become the household name he is today, this is what defines colourist and being a colourist.

Colour use has a beautiful and often surprising logic to it. When an art critic who saw my last solo show remarked that my 'use of unexpected colour raised grittiness to something wonderful and magisterial', he was talking about clever colour.


The good news is that the ideas behind making clever colour choices can be taught, and that's what Clever Colour is all about.


You can join me for Clever Colour when I'll be revealing how I choose colours which are anything but expected and boring on the 6th of September for a live and interactive oil painting course. If on demand is more your convenient, delegates can enjoy my Clever Colour course on the day and then again and again for seven days on demand.


Clever Colour is open to book here, and I'll see you for a truly transformative way to see your world in full colour!







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Fabulous Blog Martin I have booked thank you

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Thanks Maureen and yes I love colour but used in a sensible manner so when a title like this for the course was briefed in this blog by Martin I jumped into it immediately and you are right there’s nothing wrong in repeating a course with NPS as Martins reinforcement of the principles in exciting new ways every single time with loud thinking amidst the cohosts and Jane makes it really a very active learning experience and the Waterloo example in the above blog made me smile ❤️

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