using color in our paintings
There are warm colors and cool colors on the color wheel.
Red, orange and yellow are considered warm colors. They appear to advance forward in the painting.
Blue, green and sometimes violet are normally considered cool. They recede into the distance.
How do we create distance in our paintings?
We normally do our paintings on a
two dimensional surface of canvas or paper.
When we look into the distance colors get lighter. They also get
cooler. Suppose we have a yellow field of flowers. Even though yellow is
a warm color, it will get cooler as it goes into the distance.
How do we create the
illusion of distance and depth in our two dimensional painting?
We do this by using warm colors up close
and cool colors for the distance.
In the painting "Springtime" warm colors show that sunlight is shining on the mountains.
The addition of blue moves the mountains into the distance.
creating forms in our paintings
How do we show the form of an object?
Paint the main part of the object that comes toward us with a
We painted cooler and darker colors on the edge of the mangoes to show them turning away from our view.
But you say red and orange are both warm colors. You
are correct. However orange is a bit warmer than red and yellow is warmer than orange.
If the edge has bright light shining on it, you won't paint it darker, but still paint it cooler to show it turning away.
selecting colors for our palette
What does this knowledge help us select paint colors for our palette?
We need a warm and cool version of all our colors.
I use a warm and cool version of each of the six basic colors of the color wheel.
These colors appear in nature in the rainbow.
I based my palette colors on the colors of the rainbow.
The rainbow colors
Using a limited palette
Using a limited palette is a great way to learn about color. Beginning oil painters may use the primary colors of Cadmium Yellow Light, Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue.
There are many variations of this, but with the primary colors and the addition of white all other colors can be mixed. Some artists add grey or black to their palette. To me black is a dead color. I prefer to mix my darks.
It could be advantageous to
have a warm and cool version of each of the primaries.
We don't have to buy all the colors in the art store when we understand the color wheel and how to mix colors.
Enjoy your colors and have fun painting!