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Color Fidelity for Artists: Best Tips for Accurate Color in your Artwork

Have a Clear Vision
The first step to ensuring that the color in your work is as solid as it can be, it to have a clear picture of your final, finished piece. Whether you have a way of planning out your artwork, like a vision board, or whether you rely on a strong mental image, it helps to know where you are going when you start. Why do you need to know what your finished piece will look like? Well, maybe you don't. Maybe you have a set color palette that you work with, or perhaps you've established a color theme for a series of pieces. In fact, a lot of color choice in an artist's work can come with experience and intuition, but if you aren't sure of what you want from your piece, or you are working your way through a new medium, then it helps to plan out when you have the moments of inspiration that lead to a fantastic finished piece of art.

Keep It Simple
Struggling for a mental picture of your final piece? When it comes to color, and you're stuck for your end point, keep the color palette simple. Use the triad approach of artwork: choose three particular colors that will be the foundation for your work. In fact, challenge yourself to use only those three colors, and see how the vision of your work develops. (And yes, white and black count as two colors!)

Clean Your Tools
One of the worst feelings is watching a hidden pocket of black paint come streaking out in a gorgeous swatch of your newly mixed turquoise. Keep your color exactly what your want it to be by making sure that your tools are clean and ready for the next project. Clean your paint brushes, sharpen your colored pencils, clear your studio space of leftover projects and debris, and use clean rags, erasers, and other clean up materials. Make sure your easel is clear of wet paint, as well as your studio clothes and other cloths that you commonly use while making your art.

Evaluate the Time of Day
Color is a perception, and can be very subjective. Light reflects the colors of objects, including art mediums and tools, and it is important to know that natural light is not always pure white. Early morning light is at the bluer end of the spectrum, high noon is strong white light, and late afternoon spectrum is warm yellows, goldens, oranges, and reds. Working in your studio, especially if there is strong natural light in your space, should be a consistent experience, so be aware that the time of day can affect the color of light landing on your artwork.

Learn About Studio Lighting
Just like the color of natural light affects the color of what our eyes see, the lightbulbs you have in your studio space also create a color cast. Incandescent lights emit an orange hue, and fluorescent lights give off a green cast, so make sure that your studio lighting is something as close to natural, full spectrum light as possible.

Create with the End Space in Mind
Are your creating artwork for a gallery space? Perhaps you are creating something for a specific place in your home, or a friend or family member's home, or perhaps even a business. Wherever your artwork will live once it's finished, work with that space in mind. Study the space and evaluate the light in the space, the feel of the space, and use this analysis to make sure that the creative choices you make for the work, like the color palette you use, is complementary, consistent, and melds seamlessly with your vision.