How important is color in a picture? Is it mere decoration, sweetening?
Most of the great masters came up with a good drawing and then colored it, just as a child colors the figures in a coloring book. They made their sketches not with colors but with charcoal or black ink. Clearly, color was secondary to them.
Close your eyes and think of a famous painting. You recall the layout, the figures, the action. Can you say what color it is? What color is Botticelli’s Spring? Velazquez’s Lanzas? Rembrandt’s Nightwatch?
Yet there have always been artists for whom color came first. They made a painting for its color. Men like Monet,Van Gogh, Renoir, Chagall. If you have seen and liked any of their pictures, you will remember what color they were, or at least that the colors were especially bright and attractive :
Matisse : “Color helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, the light in the artist’s brain.”
Picasso : “Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? — No.”
Chagall : “Color is everything, color is vibration like music.”