Artistic Tone (AT)

Artistic Tone (AT)

‘Tone’ simply refers to the lightness or darkness of a colour. Each colour encompasses a wide range of tones.

In art, ‘tone’ relates to the varying levels of light and darkness employed to depict objects realistically or to craft an abstract composition. For instance, when working with pastels, artists might use coloured paper as a base, applying pigment in certain areas to define light and dark elements, while letting the bare paper serve as the middle tone.

Without tone, a painting may seem two-dimensional and lacking vitality. Yet, when an artist masters the use of tone, their work can become profoundly evocative, stirring powerful emotions. This concept gained prominence in the 19th century as painters turned their attention to nature, striving to capture the myriad tones present in landscapes.

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Parra's studio, with Parra at the centre, his back to the camera as he works on the large painting takes centre stage, showing a faceless blue woman in a striped dress, painted in red, purple, blue and teal. The studio is full of brightly coloured paints, with a large window on the right and a patterned rug across the floor under the painting.