Can There Ever Be Too Much Color?

Of course not, but if there could be, the first block of Canyon Road would be a contender. Color is fantastic, but it can be challenging to handle a riot of color in a sketch.

Canyon Road is nicknamed “The Art & Soul of Santa Fe” because there are about 150 galleries in a little over a mile. The beginning block is particularly amazing because of the number of playful, primary color sculptures featured in the yards of the galleries. The following three pictures give you something of the idea

This last one has my friend Vivian Aldridge doing what she does best – expressing the pure joy of her surroundings – and also demonstrating the size of these totems.

But how to capture this joy on a page without causing eye aches? You’ve got all the complementary colors here at full intensity, so clash is a big concern. But Rainbows don’t clash. It’s all about careful arrangement.

  1. You need something unifying so the eye is not jumping from one color space to another. Here the soft yellow and green backdrop unifies the scene and offers a balance between warm and cool.
  2. You need to carefully arrange the colors so you have no equal sizes areas of complements touching. That part was most tricky on the righthand sculpture. It involved some artist license – changing the color sequence a bit.
  3. You need to balance where each color shows up around the page so there are echoes of each. That helps to move the eye around in a pleasing way.

I incorporated a photo into this page to show that the reality was as crazy with color as my rendition.



  1. Hi sweet friend, I love your posts. I now live half of the time in Idyllwild, California and Palm Springs. I am in Idyllwild right now looking out the window at beautiful trees and my tiny dog Bugsie on guard duty at the window. Wish you were here. ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Glad you’re blogging again. And I hope you keep the the Art of Living as the focus, not just sketching.

  3. Sherrill – I must get there or you must get here. It has been too long and we need one of those creative brainstorming sessions. Hugs to you.
    Miss Ernie – I am sure some of my adventures will creep in as well. Most of my sketching is about them anyway!
    Thanks, Alcina – glad to know you’re still listening.

  4. As I am featured in this blog with my coat of many colors you can tell I never feel there is ever too much color. In fact, I take a bath in it. 🙂 Thank you for embracing this style and the tips on how to manage it in our art forms.

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