One of the questions I get asked is, how do you choose the colours to put in your paintings so that although highly colourful, they seem to work well together and are not over the top or too gaudy.
Above is my latest watercolour as an example. 'Pond Life' 14 x 8 inches on Fabriano CP 600gsm paper. I admit, I'm not the most subtle of watercolourists and try to get my colours as intense as possible. To this end, I now always use Daniel Smith paints which are incredibly rich in pigment. They are more epensive than most, but worth the extra outlay in my opinion.
Now, one of the tricks I use is to choose a relevant colour, for instance in this case Amethyst, and as well as use it on it's own, to mix a little of it into several of the other colours. There is a swathe of Amethyst through the background, but the green has some, the darker reds and browns as well as the shadow mixes. You may not see Amethyst in these colours once dry, but it is there and the eye will pick it up. This serves to ensure that all of these elements flow nicely into the composition.
You may also notice another swathe of gold running horizontally across the middle of the painting, taking in the nearest leaves, the middle background, the bird's upper breast and the far right background. I used several yellows here, but finished with a light wash of gold to bring them together. There is also gold added to the orange and glazed lightly over the dark green. A few extra highlights and shadows and there you have it. An intensely coloured, fairly realistic painting that will catch the eye and brighten any room, but not to the point of poor taste.