Bold colour challenges and how to overcome them

by | Creative Tips | 5 comments

This is the third post in my series about BOLD COLOUR (if you missed them the first was one is about “the power of bold colours” and the second about where to find bold colour inspiration.

Today, let’s talk about challenges because let’s face it, it’s not always easy to use bold colours!!!

1. Colour Clash Drama

So, you’re all hyped up about using bold colours, so you start slapping them on the canvas and suddenly… It’s like a clash of the titans. You may NOT believe me but yes, I’ve been there!

Sometimes, bold colours can get well… a little too bold and start fighting for attention but the secret here is finding the right balance and harmony.
Think of it like putting together a killer outfit – you want your colours to complement each other, not steal the show. So take a step back, squint your eyes a bit, and see if things feel balanced. And, if they don’t, no problem Just tweak things until they sing in perfect harmony (this is why using acrylic paint is so amazing!!)…

But… How do you know if colours are clashing?

Colours clash in a painting when they create visual discord or tension, rather than harmony. This can happen for several reasons (please note these reasons can also be what makes your painting work so I’ll let you be the judge depending on what you feel is not working with your personal painting):

  1. Complementary Colours: When colours directly opposite each other on the colour wheel are used together, they can clash because of their strong contrast.
  2. Intensity: Clashing can occur when colours with vastly different intensities are placed next to each other. For example, a highly saturated colour next to a muted or desaturated colour can create discord.
  3. Value Contrast: Clashing can also result from placing colours with very different values (lightness or darkness) next to each other, creating stark contrast that disrupts the visual flow.
  4. Temperature: Colours with different temperature biases (warm vs. cool) can clash if they are placed together without consideration for how they interact.
  5. Unintentional Colour Choices: Sometimes colours clash simply because they were chosen without thought to their relationship with the overall colour scheme or the mood of the painting.

Overall, colours clash in a painting when they create a jarring or unpleasant visual effect, rather than contributing to a sense of unity and balance.

overwhelmed dog MIMI BONDI COPYRIGHT 

2. The Overwhelm Factor

Bold colours are like that friend who’s always a bit extra – they demand attention and can sometimes overwhelm the scene. But a little goes a long way! You don’t have to splash bold colours everywhere like confetti at a party. Instead, sprinkle them in strategic spots to add pops of excitement and energy. Maybe it’s a bold red here or a vibrant blue there – whatever floats your boat! Just remember, it’s all about finding that sweet spot where bold meets balanced.

3. The Fear of Going Overboard

Let’s address the elephant in the room – the fear of going too bold. I mean, it’s a legit concern, right? Nobody wants their painting to look like a neon sign on steroids. But here’s the beauty of art: there are no rules! So what if you go a little crazy with the colours? Embrace it! I know I do 😉

When I first started painting, and until not that long ago I admit… All I did was throw all the colours of the rainbow together because to me, brighter, bolder is always better hahaha

To prove my point, here are some of my older paintings – the one on the left is from around 2007-ish and the one on the right from around maybe… 2003 – when I was young and skinny (sigh LOL).

As you can see, even back then I was definitely NOT afraid of colour!! But can you also see how easily they could be improved? The one on the right is definitely on fire but, it’s also BLAH and flat (I am completely self taught by the way). A little toning down and better contrast would go a long way… Let’s talk about some solutions 😉

Mimi Bondi early work
Mimi Bondi earlier work

Solutions for tackling bold colour challenges

How to avoid colour clashing

It’s actually quite simple: think of colour harmony like a killer playlist. You want a mix of jump along songs AND chilled tunes that flow together like magic. Start by picking a couple of bold colours that you love, then round them out with some softer, supporting shades. It’s like creating a colour symphony that’ll have your artwork singing in perfect harmony!

Stop the overwhelm feeling

You can dial down the volume without sacrificing the excitement. Try this: use bold colours as accents rather than the main event. Think of them as the sprinkle of glitter on your artwork – a little goes a long way! By strategically placing bold pops of colour, you’ll add just the right amount of pizzazz without overwhelming the scene.

This is particularly obvious if you like fluorescent colours. If your whole painting is neon, you’ll need sunglasses! But by having little pops of it here and there, the less intense colours around them will actually make the pops… POP more 😉

Fluorescent girl MIMI BONDI

Don’t be afraid of going crazy!

The age-old fear of going too bold and ending up with a hot mess on canvas. But here’s the thing – there’s no such thing as too bold! Embrace your inner wild child and let those colours run free. Start by laying down a solid foundation with your boldest hues, then balance things out with some softer tones. It’s like creating a colourful dance party where every shade gets a chance to shine. And hey, if things start feeling a bit too crazy, just take a step back, breathe, and trust your gut. You’ve got this!

I may not be the best person to tell you to tone things down (almost falling off my chair with laughter) because I definitely have a problem holding back!!  am trying very hard to but as you can from these latest paintings below… I can’t help but go crazy:

Mimi Bondi Original Art mixed media abstract colourfull happy (mob)
Reverie abstract colourful mixed media painting about the power of dreams MIMI BONDI
Together family love sunflower painting mixed media whimsical by MIMI BONDI
Harold, whimsical bird, funny colourful mixed media painting by MIMI BONDI

Still… I hope you will find these suggestions helpful for conquering those bold colour challenges and creating artwork that’s as cohesive as it is striking.

Remember, art is all about experimentation and having fun, so don’t be afraid to let your colours fly and see where they take you!

Next time, we’ll talk about how to create impact with bold colour so stay tuned (via my email list) 😉

x mimi bondi

PS: Blog posts take a lot of work to create – your feedback and comments are truly what makes the hard work worthwhile 🙂


  1. Comment *

  2. Thank you for this information and examples- these are very helpful tips!

    • Mimi Bondi

      I’m so glad you found this helpful Denise, thank you 🙂 xx mimi

  3. Thank you for this, I like the idea of a colour playlist, it really explains putting colours together. I love all your paintings but the new ones are especially beautiful! Really enjoying your blog posts!

    Cheryl Turtlemoon

    • Mimi Bondi

      Thank you so much Cheryl!! It’s a good way to think of it, a colour playlist or a great outfit… or a delicious cake with just the right amount of sweetness 🙂 Thank you so much for your feedback on my latest paintings, I really appreciate your support x mimi

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Mimi Bondi Profile

Hi there, I'm Mimi!

Artist of Wonder ♥ Author ♥ Designer ♥ Teacher 
My style is abstract, whimsical, expressive, full of positive energy!
From layering to collaging, throwing ink around, painting with my fingers…
To creating digital art… my creativity has no bounds!
I hope to share with you the joy and peace I experience when creating 🙂

Mimi Bondi PETA Member - Protect our beautiful animals!




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