Art Lesson: Color contrast. Find out how color contrast adds drama to a painting. There are many ways to depict contrast in painting by placing or arranging different objects, colors, shades, or textures against each other. The human eye loves contrast. Artists may use contrast of hue, which is simply a color that has not been diluted. Contrast of value is the range of lightness versus darkness of certain colors. Occasionally, in oil painting, artists will paint entirely in shades of grey. This is the oil equivalent of a tonal drawing. A strong tonal drawing almost always leads to a strong painting. Artists such as Degas understood the effectiveness of color contrast. Wyland explores contrasting shades to create a vivid painting of dolphins off the California coast.