photographer, visual artist and designer.

Vlog: Acrylic painting and the basics of colour theory.

Acrylic painting.

I sold most of my art materials to lead the life of a digital nomad, but 2020 got me revisiting my old hobbies.


2020 got me revisiting my old hobbies. I previously sold most of my art materials to lead the life of a digital nomad and saw photography as an art medium that works well with my travels. But travelling freely like before doesn’t seem quite possible anytime soon.

I find joy In being indoors these days. Especially since wearing a mask 😷 in the hot and humid Singapore weather and having to check in and out at every location bother me more than I thought it would. If that’s the new norm, I guess getting back to old hobbies is also a new norm for me.

I don’t remember when I last painted on a canvas. And I’m not sure if it’s reflected in my photography, but I enjoy painting in bright colours. I also enjoy playing with colours more than painting details.

While I paint, I thought I’d share some tips on colour theory, which is applicable to photography as well. Colour is one of the most important and exciting part of visual art. It conveys mood and evokes emotions.

I always thought colour theory’s something everyone knows and understands. But a recent conversation with a friend who’s interested in photography told me otherwise.

Essentially, there are six colours to be aware of and they can be cool, warm and/or neutral. It gets complex and less straightforward when you’re working with different tones and shades. But for a start: Red, orange and yellow are warm colours. Green, blue and purple are cool, while white, grey and black are neutral.

Contrasting colours, aka complementary colours, are colours opposite to each other on the colour wheel. It makes a picture look vibrant and interesting, but it can also be jarring if done incorrectly.

What you see here is an example of analogous colours. It’s basically colours next to each other on the colour wheel. Compared to complementary colours, it’s more harmonious and soothing to the eyes.

In photography, contrasting colours could be used to highlight a certain object.

One thing I like about acrylic paint is the ability to create texture. It’s not always necessary to smooth out the paint. And I don’t usually mix colours on a palette. I prefer doing it on the canvas itself.