First-rate Finds: Pin-pointing Colours

A while ago, I was painting a pair of pears and I stuffed up the colours pretty whole-heartedly.

One of the areas that really had me stumped was a cast shadow along the left hand side of one of the pears. I couldn’t place the colour I was after. I honestly couldn’t see it for looking, and trust me, I was looking pretty hard.

That’s when I came up with what I thought was a pretty clever, potentially revolutionary idea:

I took a sheet of paper and a hole-puncher, and I punched a hole or two into it.

My fancy, hi-tech invention even works with apples too.

Holding the paper up so it blocked out most of the subject matter, I lined up the hole with the area of colour that I was struggling to define.

With all the neighbouring colours blocked from view, I was better able to see that what I was looking at was not a brown, but a khaki green.

Thrilled with what I now called my ‘colour isolator’, I mixed up my paint colour and found that it did indeed work with the rest of my painting. I was onto a winner with this new-fangled invention!

You can imagine my surprise when some weeks later, while watching a painter on YouTube, he pulled out a tool that worked the same way, for the same purpose.

Laughably, I thought I had something super-original to share with everyone when I came up with this idea.  As it turns out, I had instead just stumbled upon what millions of artists, photographers and hole-punching enthusiasts around the world have discovered before me.

And what do the millions of artists and photographers before me choose to call this handy tool, you ask? (Brace yourself, it’s pretty lateral…) They call it: A ‘colour isolator’.

Google it, and you’ll even see photos of paper and hole-punchers, alongside other more commercial variations. Hysterical.

I guess that clinches it for me: I’m better off practicing my painting rather than marketing my clever, potentially revolutionary inventions.

Happy hole-punching everyone!


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3 thoughts on “First-rate Finds: Pin-pointing Colours

  1. I saw a youtube video last year of a painter using a similar device but it looked overly complicated and time consuming to use. It was more than a hole punch though. To make my shadow colors I usually just take the main color and desaturate it. It’s usually pretty spot on or close enough that it looks right.


    1. Thanks Amber. Yes, desaturating colours to create darker shades of them usually works, but sometimes there are surfaces with reflected light and colours that throw me off the scent! These are the times the ol’ colour isolator comes out.

      Liked by 1 person

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