Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Split Complements, Structured Colour

Most of the time I paint with a regular palette based on the primaries and secondaries.  Once in a while I like to revisit colour schemes that are more simple.  Recently I decided to paint in a split complement.  I was outside in strong sun, facing into it.  I chose Cad Yellow Light, Cad Orange, and Cad Red Light along with Ultramarine Blue Deep.  Titanium white to lighten.

Outdoor Palette

You can see where my regular palette pigments usually go.  The clear space is my mixing area.  I try to keep it clean.  Without the other colours on the palette I was restricted to what you see.  This forces you to determine what basic hues will go where as opposed to what you see.  Hence a structured approach.  Forces design decisions.

Split Complement on the Pigment Wheel

Here you can see the colour gamut available.  Along the side of the wheel is the value scale.  So with this choice of pigments I can get a dark and I have white to lighten (and the canvas if I choose).  If I happen to choose a split complement scheme that does not allow me to get a dark value I can darken with Black or I can mix a black and use that to darken.  Interesting options.  Try them.  I can mix the true complements Ultramarine Blue and Cad Orange and get colours both warm and cool.  A great array of warm and cool greys are also available.  In this case I chose not to show the red and yellow tilted towards blue.  Here is what I mean.

Analogous colours plus a Discord - Another Name

The application gets interesting.  On my shape and value thumbnail I made a note of what colour and value goes where, making sure to vary the amounts.  Here is the painting that came into the studio from the morning painting session.

Over My Head, 12x16, Oil on Canvas on Board

This image is very red on my screen.  The camera had a hard time with this one!  The value intensity scale is off what is really there.  In any event the question I am now facing is how far to take this one, and how to proceed.  This is good training.  Another option is complementary painting and yet another is monochromatic.

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