Colours with Kalyani- Part 2

In the last issue I had talked about different colours we see in nature. That exercise was just to open our eyes to the wonderful array of colours around us.

If we observe we learn. One should not just see but look and absorb. It’s not just colours but even forms and shapes. But since we are talking about colours we will stay on that subject.

Very often I am asked how does one combine colours. Which combination of colours works and which does not go together. Is there good and bad colour combinations. If you ask me, broadly I would say yes.

So to make it easier let’s again go back to the wonders of nature to learn from. And let’s just take birds to begin with. I am amazed by the different colours of birds and the different colours in any one bird. One would be apprehensive to combine some of the colours.

Let’s take the Indian pita bird


It’s a medium sized passerine bird native to India. This is very colourful and has nine colours of plumage. A brown with black and white. Leaf green with sky blue and turquoise. Buff with orange and pink. All these are just in one bird.

When I write this down I again see how we have named the colours. Leaf green, sky blue, turquoise blue all from nature.

Let’s take another bird. The mandarin duck


This one has so many different colours and the very many combinations that you see all work out very well. Let’s now take the colours and see which few colours one can combine.

Black and white for sure.
Blue, magenta and a deep orange.
Blue, red and black.
And one could go on seeing the numerous colours all in one bird.

The pink cockatoo. A complete new colour palette. These white cockatoos are completely with white plumage. Plain white does not really strike as colourful. How ever the pink crest has a variety of colours that give this bird a pleasant attire.


The Wilson’s bird of paradise. Look at its pattern and colours of blood red and jet black feathers , look at the blue feet and it’s bright blue neon head. Amazing is it not. And I have just picked up three birds when nature is filled with hundreds more. That’s a journey for each of you to take and discover and wonder and learn about colours and combinations.

Now let’s see how we can use the birds as an inspiration for our colour palette. I have given below a few images with the colours separately.




You could do the same by seeing anything from nature - trees,animals, birds, the sky or anything including the mountains rivers and the sea and decide your colour combinations. If you stay with nature you will be surprised at the myriad colour combinations you would see and then could use.

Why don’t you all try to pick up something from nature and create a colour palette and see what combinations you would like to put together and share it with us. Maybe we could start a conversation and begin to share the joy of colour.

Lets talk more.


Earlier episodes of 'Colours with Kalyani':


Part 1: Colours in nature

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