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Colour in painting is dictated to a great extent by the nature of the pigments used by the artist and the type of support (canvas, panel, copper, etc.) on which the work in question is created.

The appearance of colours can be considered in terms of three attributes: hue, tone and temperature. The hue is the characteristic which is unique to red or green or yellow etc. The tone is the degree of lightness or darkness with which the hue is imbued. The temperature is the associative and relative quality of colours, for example a cool blue may be contrasted with a warm orange.