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Creating a New Colour

Can you really count one hundred different colours in this painting?

Believe it or not, this painting has over one hundred different colours in it. I know, because I counted. Painstakingly checking that I hadn't repeated a shade or tone here or there. I think there's approximately one hundred and three different colours on this canvas. I think. I'm not entirely sure.

I'll never really be able to create a new colour. Everything I make is just a combination of what already existed."

How do we determine what makes a colour? Where, for example, is the border between ochre and orange? How do you count the hundreds of variants between a cool blue and a warm purple? Who gets to define colours, anyway?

Can we actually create colours?

"I think I've created a new colour!" I say jokingly as I mix together the contents of my palette with a rusty scraper.

"No, you haven't. See, there it is, already," and my friend helpfully points out that my "new" red-brown-grey is just a repeat of a colour I'd made five minutes earlier.

I groan. How I'm ever going to be able to create one hundred colours to satisfy my lecturer is far beyond human fathoming. I add a little more burnt umber and nod to myself. This is new combination, at least.

But that's just what I find so confusing. I'll never be able to actually create a new colour. Everything I make is just a combination of what already existed. It's a problem all artists are confronted with, at some point or another. Nothing we make is new.

Maybe, I consider, that's because we ourselves are only created beings. And that considered, the creativity of God must be truly astounding.

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