- Lesson details
In this fourth lesson in the series instructor Bill Perkins will teach you how to work with warm and cool colors in your paintings. You will learn that temperature applies not only to a color or group of colors as a whole but also is used to describe the relationship between colors.
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theory in a clear and easy to understand way. In this fourth lesson in the series, Bill
will teach you how to work with warm and cool colors in your paintings.
You will learn that temperature applies not only to a color or a group of colors as a
whole, but also is used to describe the relationship between colors. Bill will demonstrate these
concepts in his usual clear and accessible style.
There are a couple different ways that we can look at arranging color temperature or
explain the phenomenon of color temperature.
First, I’m going to take a color wheel, just a general color wheel.
I’ve set this up like so.
I’ll just use a knife to make these arrangements. I’m going to slide this
over. This is a phthalo green.
So just around the color wheel I’ve got two yellows, two blues, two reds, and two greens.
That’s my general arrangement.
This is a phthalo green. This is a viridian green that I’m going to be pushing over to here.
This is my cad yellow light. This is a naphthol red.
Quinacridone red. Cobalt blue.
A phthalo blue.
If I mix these together I’ll get more of an even transition through here.
I’m just going it roughly here, just so you can get the idea.
This is going to go in through a violet.
from a warm to cool red.
Going to create an orange through here.
Here we’re going to create a transition into green, blue-green, and so on.
Okay, with this general color wheel you might look at color temperature as your two hemispheres.
You have a warm hemisphere and a cool hemisphere. Where that demarcation is is going to vary
depending on who you talk to or what you read or who you read. Okay, so if you say that
this red-orange is your warm colors and blues to greens are your cool colors then you’re
going to end up making some demarcation into here from somewhere in here.
This might be your warm range.
This might be your cool range.
I’ve seen people identify it in different ways
and justify in different ways. For this
demonstration I’m just going to leave it as this.
As we start adding more blue into the red it gets cooler and cooler and cooler into
the blues, yet these are still warm blues. Now, as far as mixing goes, we might have—
I'm just going to use a little gray.
In the middle here we have a gray, theoretically.
If I take this gray and add it to a warm color.
I’ll add some white to this. The reason I’m going
to do this is it’s still a gray, but it mixes better. Your color temperatures mix
better at the same value. So if I bring to the same value or a similar value up here
you’ll see it change.
So my gray, or in this case mostly a white, is kind of a cooling agent. You see?
It takes this real warm color and cools it off. You see the difference here to here? If you mix
your colors to gray—black, white, and gray also, it’ll cool your warm tones down. So
if I do that I can also take a little bit of the gray and do the same thing here. If
I take a little bit of the gray and bring it out to the red you can see the appearance
of that gray is taking this warm red and turning it more of a purple right in here. So that’s
the appearance by adding black or gray.
Now, if I’m looking at the color temperature
of my cool hemisphere and I add a gray, it's going
to have the appearance of warming it up a little bit.
I’ll even put a blob right out here too. If I get it down close to the
same value you’ll see. Closer in value. You see this looks warmer than the blue. So
in your cool hemisphere by adding gray you’ll actually—excuse me, by adding gray to anything
in your cool hemisphere you’ll tend to make it warmer. If you add gray or white or black
to anything in your warm hemisphere it will cool it. White and black, generally people
will say both white and black are both cooling agents, but they’re cooling agents to all
your warm tones. That’s why people like Sargent that might work with a warm palette
like a yellow, a red, a black and white. That black and white will serve as the cooling
agent, which will get you a gray, and their palette would be right in here so they could
get this range. Zorn might, Sargent might have used something more of a middle red to
a cool red in here. Zorn might have used more of a scarlet, something in here. Sorolla used
something of a green in here to a red here. They used variations on a theme. Then when
they expanded their palette there was—both Sargent and Sorolla used a
color that sat somewhere right in there.
So anyway, this is how the color wheel might work in a big picture in terms of your color,
temperature hemispheres. When you get to more of a subtle range, you’re going to be looking
at more analogous colors. You can look on the color wheel here and say, okay, here’s
a yellow. Get more of the yellow. I got a little polluted with the gray.
Here’s a yellow, and this yellow is a little bit of this yellow, yellow-green in here.
I’ll clean my brush here and get a little bit more of a straight yellow.
Then I can a little yellow with a little red in it here.
A lot of red. Let me cool that off a little.
Here’s some analogous hue.
I have three analogous colors. These are your yellows.
And even with my yellows I have a warm yellow, a medium yellow, and a cool yellow. So if
you divide your color wheel into two halves, your warm hemisphere and your cool hemisphere,
then you can start breaking things down into subsets as well.
You can say, okay, within the yellows here there is a range. Your color temperature is—your
hue are those individual colors around. Your color temperature is the relationship between
these. It’s the hemisphere, they’re warm and cool, and also it’s referred to as your
relationship in these smaller increments.
I’ll give you another example.
Here’s a warm red.
Here’s a cool red.
And here’s a cooler red.
This is your warmest red. This is a medium, and then this is cooler in this
set of three. So even with analogous colors, anywhere I go on here, the range is going
to swing like towards the cool into the warm or to the cool into the warm. Whenever we
have even a narrow range we have this color temperature difference.
With these color temperature differences, if we neutralize those
we have from saturation to neutral, but that’s going to shift it. You see the cooling agent
is shifting. It actually feels like it’s even bluer.
If I add more black to this and more...
And this is only gray that I’m mixing with this. It’s going to feel at a point where it’s
going to start to feel like it’s even bluer yet. Just because of its relative temperature.
It’s actually going more neutral, but the fact that the black is cooling the red
also shifts the color temperature.
I’ll do that with the warm red as well. You’ll see the same or similar result.
We have our warm red. And then we add some gray to it.
You see? It cools that down as well.
So when I’m mixing on here, as you can see in this, as we get a little closer here, I’m
mixing a gray and mixing this into this red. It does get more neutral, but it does appear
to get a little cooler in here on its way to getting neutral. That’s because it’s
a warm tone. I have warm tones up there too. If we do it with a cool tone, or if we add
gray in the cool hemisphere, it’ll appear to warm up a little bit. I’ll do the same
thing right here where I mix a little bit of a gray,
and I’ll take that and mix that into this phthalo blue.
You can see it has the appearance of warming it up right in there,
but it’s going from this blue to a gray. Gray on this side has a warming tendency,
or the gray on this cool hemisphere has the tendency to make it appear like it’s getting warmer.
Try it with another hue that’s similar. You can see that—this is just gray.
It's not red. It’s gray. But the appearance is that it’s really shifting this green into
this gray. And they’ll all go into the center here, which is gray.
I can show you that range here.
So this is a gray.
Okay, so we can see the range if I want to drag this even farther
down and make it more of an even gradient you can. But you can see where this goes cool
to warm, cool to warm, cool to warm. Up here we’re going to warm to cool. But we’re
actually desaturating the color.
Okay, so by adding the gray in here and bringing it out to the cool side it tends to give the
appearance that it’s warming these colors. When we add it to the warm colors it appears
that it is cooling it, but they’re losing saturation. They’re turning into a gray.
They’re going from full saturation to neutral. We’re going to be looking today at, again,
I’ll repeat this again, we’re going to be looking at color temperature, which is
the difference within here. Or the difference within here. It’s the range. So this is
warmer, and this is cooler. This is cooler yet. This right in here could get cooler over
in here, and it gets warmer over in here. From here it gets cooler
this way and warmer this way.
First set is your hemisphere along your theoretical color wheel. What we tend to mix more with
instead of theory is actually what we’re seeing. We end up using saturation, and we
end up using hue which is around the color wheel. As we go around we notice that in subtle
groups, even in these subtle groups, there are subtle temperature changes in these analogous
hues. We’re going to be jumping back and forth in these paintings using some of the
warm tones, using some cool tones and going back and forth and mixing them in in these
same value sets. So like I said, it’s easiest to see color that color temperature change
at similar values. I’ll do a little demonstration here and you’ll see that as well.
going to take white, turn it into a gray that’s going to go down to a black.
Okay, so I have my full range of value.
At this full range of value, way up here at this high end, you
don’t get much saturation. It’s hard to see the saturation in these colors that are
tinted so much, that might be way up here at this end. Same thing with the values that
are down here. Your color might not be able to read so much when it’s so, so, so black.
What happens if you’ve got a large range of value, okay, and before impressionism this
is kind of what happened. There was a lot of chiaroscuro. They used a lot of wide range
of value contrast. But when the impressionists came along they tended to reduce the range
of value contrast and increase the range of color temperature difference. So what ended
up happening was they were using similar value groups but including a lot of variety of color
temperature. And I’ll just show a couple of examples here.
If we’re dealing with a lighter region. Let’s just say you’ve got something of
this value. I can use that. I can mix something of a similar value in here. Now I have to
arrange. This is neutral and this gives the appearance of being cooler.
I’m going to deal with, I’m going to put in another color in here that’s of a similar value.
We're going to start to see a little bit more difference in the, you see this subtle variation of these
changes within this value. Put a little bit, even a little bit of a blue
in here with this lighter value.
If I can get a little bit of a red in there as well.
Let me warm that up just a little bit.
And so the contrast that you’re going to pick up and read in through
these different relationships are all harmonized by being close in value.
Now we’ll take a look at something with more of a medium value.
I might mix something in here like this. You see this is a little bit stronger.
You can see more saturation in something like this.
I can get a little bit more difference in my temperature.
I can see now I’m putting in a little more cool, but I’m at the same value.
If I want to warm that up a little bit I can put something a little bit warmer in here.
Alright, so at this more medium value you can see, we’re going to get quite a bit
more vivid color. We can get more vivid interaction
of hue. I’m pushing these just a little
bit more. I’ll pull a little from here. I’ll pull some in here.
I’ll mix up some other colors as well.
As long as I get them in the same value I can get quite a bit of
vibration going on, but they’re all the same similar value.
That’s a little dark.
You see how vivid these will appear compared to some of these. These are a little bit more
pastel. These feel a little bit more vivid. Then if we go and mix them darker, as long
as they’re in the same value set. Okay, the harmonizing thing here is the value. So
I can even mix a gray. I can mix a gray next to that if it stays in the same value, I get
this warm/cook temperature difference. It’s just gray to blue, but I’ll stay within
that color temperature. Let me grab a little bit of this to keep it down in that in range.
I have some difference in there, some difference in there. I can get a dark greenish in here
as well that’s going to work it near the same value. Okay, I can get some yellow in
there at a darker value. I’m going to have to go into the raw sienna. But even there
you see I can harmonize these colors by value groups. So I can set these different value
groups. You can see that this is where I’m going to get most of my saturation is that
middle value. Most of your hue right out of the tubes are in that middle value. Some of
them are in the darker range. You need to lighten them up a little bit to get them at
the same value. The ones that are lighter up here, sometimes
they get a little chalky and pastel.
But, and impressionist’s approach to this situation might be, you know, in terms of
color temperature, we’ve got like Monet’s haystacks where he might have in his haystacks
he might have yellow and a broken color of a red at a similar value.
Maybe something like that.
Maybe something breaking up there like that. Maybe it even gets a little bit cooler.
It might get cooler along the edge.
It might even get, if there’s like a cast shadow along here it might have
something like this, like a backlit kind of a situation. What we might need to do is take
something like a really light light around to actually make the other side. That way
these colors are all sit together in a group. So you have it against this other group.
Maybe the background in scenario is something a little bit more like this.
And maybe the ground also picks up some of this
lighter, so we’ll start to read this as a ground plane.
You have this light going over the top. And it may be that you’re going to have cool-warm,
cool-warm situation. If I make this a little bit clearer in here maybe you’re going to
have like a cool-warm, cool-warm. My yellow is a little bit too greenish in there, but
if I use kind of a broken color I can rearrange that. I can also get in here with some other
hue as well and help break that up.
On the other hand, if we have more of our—this is just an exposure issue. If you want to
have more of your temperature difference in your light…
Okay, now one of the things we’ll explore
today is if we try to get the temperature range in the area of light
or the light zone, that’s the area where you’re going to have more variation. So
that’s what I’ll look at. Here is a situation where we might have more in the shadow side
so there is more variation in there. We’ll look at how you might do it in the light side
as well. So say I’ve got a warm light, okay, and so I’m going to pull up some of these
warm tones in this light. But within that
light area I’ve got some cool elements in
that light area. And I have some really warm
elements in that area, and then I start to
get a little bit of vibration in that relative grouping.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to make sure that there is quite a bit
of difference in between this group and this group.
As I do I’m going to look for value to make the difference. I might come in here
with something, maybe not quite that dark, but I’ll come in with something that’s
going to really make a jump and say, okay, there is one area. This is the area in light.
This is the area in shadow. So within that shadow I could have some other broken color
as well, as long as it sits in a value group similar to the shadow. So now we’re arranging
these groupings by their value and their general hue.
So that’s how we get a temperature change within these larger groups.
Warmer versions and cooler versions.
Now, there are warm colors in here, but as a group that’s how they’re grouped down.
So in these next paintings what I’m going to do I’ll do one painting that has a warm
light and a cool shadow. It’ll be stronger contrast and the other one is going to be
overall cool light, flatter light, where we’ll have a lot of color temperature differences
within the skin tone. Both paintings I’m going to use her skin tone as the area where
I want to see contrast of color temperature.
Okay, in this setup we’re still dealing with color temperature, but what I want to
do is set up my value arrangement first. Again, if we set up the values so that we have one
area that’s clearly light, one that’s clearly medium or dark, and we group our values.
We take the medium and dark, or medium to dark in this scenario, and we group them together.
We take the lighter values and group them together. We have some separation for our
basic design. After that, now we’re looking at what are the color relationships, the harmonies
that we’re going to create. In this situation I pulled a background that’s more closely
related to her hair, so it’s going to group with her hair and the redness in her scarf.
It’ll pick up those and pull from those. Also, you’ll pick up the warm tones in her
skin a little bit. They’ll be of contrast. The warm-cool contrast to the background.
The background being an overall cooler color. But you can see the light source up here is
warm compared to the cool up here. So we’re getting some difference there with
the spot on her being a little warm.
The shadow side or the cooler side of her face is going to pick up the cooler tones.
So we’re going to see a little bit more warmth and variation in the light side of
her face. We’re going to see cooler variations in the shadow side of her face. They’ll
also reflect a little bit of the falloff here, where you see a warmer color here, and cooler
up here. We see it in this flatter area more than we do in the areas of her scarf and her
top where there is more form changes in smaller areas. Her face, being the lighter area and
more subtle changes, you’re going to see more range of changes there then you see in
some of these darker local values.
Now, your overall temperature and color saturation level will always read stronger in the mid-value
range rather than the high and the low end of your value range, it’ll be the midrange
where your saturation is really the strongest. But we aren’t looking for greatest saturation
in these. What we’re going for is we’re harmonizing the shifts of color temperature
so it’s a little bit more subtle. I’m looking to set up arrangements that are a
little more subtle. The first one had overall color arrangement and tonal arrangement. The
second one had another color arrangement and tonal arrangement. In this one I’ve shifted
the background to be another tonal mid-to-low-key background, but I shifted the hue to be more
harmonizing with her hair and her scarf, rather than just a neutral to her skin and top.
raw sienna, and the raw sienna works as a saturated warm yellow at a dark value.
In mixing my colors you’re going to see that sometimes I’ll dip into the raw sienna.
Sometimes I’ll dip into the cad yellow light. The reason being is if I’m going to be mixing
colors that are mostly a dark value I’m going to go straight to the raw sienna.
If I’m mixing colors that are in a lighter range I’m going to go with the cad yellow light.
Next, I’ve got a naphthol red and then a quinacridone red. The naphthol red
is a warm red; quinacridone is a cool red. Then I have two greens over here. I have a
viridian green and a phthalo green. Phthalo has a little bit more blue in it. It’s very
saturated, as all these colors are very saturated. Then I have a phthalo blue, again very saturated,
but it’s a blue-blue-green. And then a blue-blue-violet, which is my cobalt blue. Okay, some people
use an ultramarine blue. That’s fine too. The cobalt blue I like a little bit better
because it seems to mix a little bit more pure. The ultramarine can actually go neutral
a little quicker on you so I kind of avoid that.
All of these colors, like I said, are very saturated, and they’re very distinctive.
They’ll mix well with one another, and that’s why I choose those. At the same time you can
see that I’ve got my primary colors in two relationships. I have them in a warm set and
a cool set. My yellows, for instance, if I add a little bit of a white to my yellow it’s
going to cool it down. That’s my cooling agent. The white is going to cool down warm
colors. White, black, or gray will cool down warm colors. Okay? White, black, or gray will
warm up cool colors over here. So if we look at them as kind of just two hemispheres on
our color wheel, we have our warm colors here and our cool colors here as a hemisphere.
But, when we look at color temperature we’re looking at close differences. So here are
my reds where I have a warm red and a cool red. I have a light and dark yellow here.
If I add a little white to this that’s going to cool that down. That will become my cool
red. So just adding white will take care of that. I don’t need to have another one on
my palette. That’s reds, yellows. And blues, I have phthalo blue which is a cool blue,
and a cobalt blue which is a warm blue. It has more red in it. This has more green in it.
There’s the difference there. I also use two greens where I have one that’s a
little cooler and one that’s a little bit warmer. This has more blue in it than the viridian.
Viridian won’t be as strong as the phthalo green. The phthalo green is very
permanent, very intense color. My personal preference is just that I would rather start
with very saturated colors and mix down than be limited by colors that you can’t express
a full saturation range. It’s easier to paint with a limited palette that is neutralized
because you don’t have the flexibility of that saturation range. But I’d rather have
everything at my disposal so that I can make the choices on what I want to do. Okay, I
can paint a neutral painting with this. I can paint a saturated painting with this.
It doesn’t matter. I have the latitude and that’s what I’m looking for.
The other thing is, looking at our subtractive color palette of red, yellow, and blue as
our primaries, I want a temperature range. So now I have a warm and cool of each of those
primaries, but at the same time I’ve got complementary setups here too, where the warmth
of this red is going to be more of a complement to the cool blue over here. This cool red
over here, magenta, is going to be more of a complement of the green over here. And the
redness in this blue is going to be more of a near complement to this yellow over here.
So I have near complements at the same time. So I’ve got temperature change or temperature
difference, and I have complementary difference in this small color set. That’s why I choose
these colors. These in particular tend to mix well. None of these colors go neutral
extremely fast. Viridian is probably the one that will go neutral a little quicker than
any of the others and then raw sienna. But
outside of that, this is a pretty powerful color set.
Okay, in this setup what we’re going to do is we’re going to paint—there’s a
little bit of a warmer light, and the overall color harmony is going to be about blue-blue-violet.
And then we’re going to look at the subtle arrangement of color temperature changes in
her skin. So that’s what we’re going to highlight, the color temperature difference
in her skin surrounded by these stronger major color harmonies from this red to blue-violet.
I’m not going to make a big deal of getting completely accurate with my drawing.
That's not the issue with this. This is about color temperature. So these are going to be pretty
much just diagrams in exploiting the color temperature and how that would work.
So first what I’m going to do is I’m going to get some kind of a neutralized color that
is going to be, I’ll just pick something. I’ll just make it a little bit more neutral
in here. But it’ll be something from the predominant values that I see up there or
the predominant hues that I see up there. Okay, so I’ll mix into something like this
just so I’ve got something to sketch with. But even if I’m sketching or toning a canvas
or anything, I’m not going to tone it with something arbitrary. I’m going to go straight
to some harmony that I already see up there.
So, my first indications really are going to be just defining the major zones
that I’m dealing with out here. Then I’ll get in—
I’m not going to be too extreme
about the, again, like I said, the accuracy of the features and everything else. I’m
really looking to get the color relationships, the strong color relationships and the notes
of the color temperature. And in this situation since we’ve got a strong light direction
we have a Chiaroscuro type of an arrangement where we have a little bit stronger shadows.
We’re going to see that there is a little bit of a falloff here where we go from light
to shadow over here. We have a little bit of shadowing here on this side of her eye.
Down in here, over here.
The shadow side is going to be over here. We're going to see a difference between these two.
This is how it breaks into light and then over into shadow.
So I’m going to start off with laying in my large, big, simple notes of color.
I"ll start with a background tone.
Get a little medium there. Make this a little easier to...
a little easier to mix with here. There we go.
Sometimes when I’m mixing a color too I’ll either hold it up to see if it matches what
I’m looking at in the background. I’ll hold it up like that. Or sometimes what I’ll
do is I’ll put it on the edge of the canvas and I can kind of close one eye and look and
see if it matches. That way I can kind of keep myself
in the ballpark of what I’m, my color accuracy.
I do a lot of that with, whenever you’re plein air painting it’s
easy to use the edge of your canvas to actually compare some of your color.
So I’m setting up a fairly dark arrangement in the background.
Again, cool on this side, warm on this side
because the light direction is coming across here. So what I want to do is I’m going
to have the light on this side and the cool on this side I’m going to have, if I have
this cool over here and warm over here it’s telling me that the light direction is coming
this way. So the light is coming across here at an angle. The distance and the angle, the
color temperature, the intensity of light. The amount of reflected light, and all the
lights affecting all the other values and shapes and objects up there are going to give
you the sense of the color relationships and the lighting condition. So when you deliver
that much information those harmonies have to be right in order to pull that off. That’s
why I look to see how these things will work. It’s a little cool, and it will be cool
against warm and then warm against cool. So cool, warm; cool, warm as we come across.
It’ll just kind of flow a little bit better. But that is the lighting condition, and that
usually happens. So it’s what I’m looking for.
Now I’m going to be, I’m mixing the color of her hair because I see it more clearly.
Little bit of gray there. I want to get a little bit more of the greenish in here just
a little bit. I’m going to push that. You can see a color temperature. I’m mixing
them at the same value. So anytime I’m mixing color at the same value you’re going to
get more of a quality where you’re going to really read the color temperature difference.
Look at a warm and a cool color temperature difference when you’re values are really
extremely different it makes it a little bit more difficult to register. But when they’re
the same value you really see that difference.
color temperature and color contrast, but he would do it within zones.
So I’m shifting the hue a little bit, but I’m keeping it a similar value in here, and I’m shifting
the color temperature as we read around these areas.
It’s a little darker, a little more saturated down in here.
I’ll pick that up on some of the edges of those forms and then even darker yet bases into these.
As you can see I’m setting up just the background area and then another, like the mass of her
hair. I’ll lay that in and see the difference there, what’s going on. These being the,
like the darker bolder kind of zones. I’m going to lay those in first. I’m going to
lay those in first so that I create this surround. Set the stage for the color temperature changes
on her face, on her skin tone.
Do the color of her sweater.
We’ll get that color arrangement, get that right first.
There is a strong light in shadow area changing the value and a bit of the hue on her sweater,
but it is not as extreme as on her face. In a setup like this, the lighter or middle values
is where you’ll read the contrast a lot more too. So you see the lighter value of
her face you see a greater contrast between light and shadow. The contrast between light
and shadow on her shadow is much more subtle than that on her face. So we’ll make sure
it plays out that same way, and the same thing with the background and same thing with her
hair because those are the darker areas of your canvas.
In this situation they’re going to show a little bit less color saturation in there.
I’m going to take this, I’m going to warm this just a little bit.
I don’t want to get in here and get it too much lighter. I want to keep that closer in value. There we go.
Okay, so I’m laying in these areas. Now I’m going to lay in her scarf trying
to get the difference in the color arrangement there. I’ll start with the color in shadow.
Neutralize that down just a little bit. It got a little bit too saturated there.
Phthalo is really a saturated mixture.
Let’s see where this goes here. Again, this first phase I’m just getting that canvas
covered. I’m covering it and I’m using my light and shadow or warm and cool light
and shadow hues to help set this up. Okay, we’ll finish blocking in here, and then
we’ll take a break. It’ll just be a couple minutes.
There we go.
Okay, so I’m still blocking in, just setting the stage. I’m setting my basic values.
Contrast to these darker values is going to be your skin. So I’m setting the stage for
that lighter contrast and creating everything around it so that it will support what I’m
going to put in. I’m considering what’s going on here in helping to set that up.
I'm going to put in just some subtle variations that I see, you know, along the way. I’m
not going to get too crazy with some of this stuff just yet. I just want to make sure that
I get some of it in so you can see some of those variations in there. I get a handle
on the range of those values and temperature changes.
Alright, so now I’m going to mix into a lighter value set, being her skin.
Both in this situation up here, the light and shadow are not extremely high contrast between the
two, but there is a strong color temperature difference between the two. I’m going to
try to set up initially, I’m just going to set up the basic color difference between
the color in the light and the color in the shadow in a large mass, and then I’ll break
down those little subtleties as we go. If you’re using acrylic paints what’s going
to end up happening is the names of your colors will be a little bit different. Other than
that, the same combinations will work. If you have a warm-cool hue of each primary and
your greens. I’d use the same equivalent colors, but I’d use them on the same palette.
The physicality of what happens with the luminance between acrylic and oil is somewhat similar
except the pigment is suspended in polymer when it’s acrylic paints, and it’s suspended
in the oil in oil paints. But the same luminance will, you can achieve it the same way. Watercolors
are different. Watercolors rely on the paper and that evaporation and the paper fibers
to create luminance. So if you’re using acrylic or oils it doesn’t matter. We’ll
work in pretty much the same principles. Watercolor, again, it’s another story. It’s another way
to work so we can approach that another day.
Okay, so as I work from my dark I’m going to go do the same thing. I’ll lay in the
shadow side of her face and I’ll mix the value for the shadow side.
Start somewhere over here.
I’m going to see that there is some greenness in here.
A touch of this here.
I’m going to keep this cool. I’m going into this cooler red in here. I’m not going
to use the warmer red in here because I’m playing in this cool set.
Initially I’m going to be in here. I know that there is, I see in like a lower part of her face towards
her jaw it’s going to be a little bit violet. You see the difference here with these two colors.
One is a little bit warmer up here,and here it’s cooler. We’ll get into a little bit of that.
I’ll start with this as overall tone, and then we’ll mix from there.
I’ll just put it in this whole area first.
For the sake of getting the canvas covered, I’m going to go ahead and just lay this in.
I’m going to shift the temperature as we go, as I keep putting things in over here.
But right now I’m just going to block it in as one. You can see I’m going to get
a little bit more, a little darker, a little more saturated actually from here over on
her ear over here. I’m going to go ahead and put that in here. It’s definitely enough
of a dominant area there that I can play with that.
I’m also going to see some warmth
around here too around her eyes. It’s a little bit darker in here, and there is some
of the same warmth in there. I also see on here on her nose just a little bit. I’m
going to take some of that and just indicate a little bit of that in there.
Again, these are areas where there is a change of pigmentation, and also there might be some
occlusion going on up in this area. Occlusion is where the light is occluded. It doesn’t
go in. In these shadows where these planes reflect into one another. If you have the
same color reflecting into itself it will kind of intensify its color. This intensifies
its warm effect in this situation up in here. Where you don’t have something like that
or when you have another influence from somewhere else, that’s going to get pushed into those
areas. And I can show you that where we might have underneath…
really reflecting from her top underneath here.
That’s where that’s going to be coming from.
We’re going to also see a little bit more effect coming in here playing off
her cheek in here. We’re going to get a little bit of the form in there and a little
bit up in here. You can see from here under her chin, from her cheek over here from her
eye, these are all up along these same planes.
We might even see a little bit of it just underneath her nose here.
I’m going to go ahead and fill this in over here just cause
I want to make sure that I’m getting all my palette covered here, my painting covered in here.
Okay, now when I get on to the warmer side over here, I’m going to see that even these
hue over here, they’re going to be warmer even in some of the shadows than on the other
side over here. They’re going to need to stand out a little bit in terms of their warmth
and their value. I’ll lighten this up a little bit.
Cool that just slightly and lighten it up.
So we see that compared to the shadow side over here.
Again, like I started to lay out before, under her
jaw here, also under her lip here it’s going to be a little cooler
because it’s getting his reflection from her top. So I’m going to pull a little bit
more of that blue back into here and get a little bit of that under there.
Again, working along those planes.
Now I’m going to deal with the light mixtures on the light side of her skin. I’m going
to make sure everything is set a little bit lighter than this dark set. I’m going to
go into the warm part of her skin here. I’m going to start here, this light tone. I’m
going to warm it up with my warm red. It’s real strong.
I need to cool this just a little bit.
I’m not going to go all the way over to the blues and stuff to cool it. I’m just
going to use just a touch of the green in here, cool some of that off.
I’m going to lay this in here.
I mixed a general tone in light so I have my value relationship and
a temperature relationship. I’ll go in and make subtle changes within this side and this
side to balance these things out. Initially I’m going to go in and just
block in this larger area.
Over on the right side of her face it’s just a little bit more saturated and a little
bit more on this pinker side, something a bit more like that.
I’m going to keep it a little saturated.
It’s a little bit darker. I’m going to get a little bit in here.
I can go a little farther in there.
Again, in these areas in here you’re going to see
a little bit more of the change in the pigmentation in here skin.
I’ll get a little bit on her nose as well.
I also noticed some right through here on her chin.
So I’m going to get a little bit of a cooler set. You can see I’m jumping into here.
I’m neutralizing this down. I can see a little bit of a cooler set in here a little
bit darker. Not as dark as anything in the shadow side, but I want to get a little bit
darker in here because we’re going to get a little bit of coolness right in here.
Also, a little bit more on the greenish in here.
I saw in this area right in here.
When you’re trying to create flesh tones, okay, I don’t see it as anything different
than any other color. I don’t use a separate palette to get this flesh or that flesh. I
don’t believe that there is any combination that you need. Really, it’s about the relationship
that you construct. It’s about the relationship that you construct. It’s about the lighting
condition that you set up. It’s about what surrounds them. Every object is going to have
its local color. Everybody’s skin tone is going to be a little bit different. Now, every
surface or every plane or turn of a plane on that surface is going to be compounded
because the skin tones will have variation. My nose is a different value and hue than my cheek.
Now, as you can see, I’m just slapping on the paint. I’m doing it pretty rapidly.
I’m doing it with a pretty fat brush. What I’m doing is I’m getting my general color
notes in. I’m considering, like is said, we initially set up, setting up the dark values,
okay, to set the stage for this lighter set in here for her skin. Now, within her skin
we have a light side and a shadow side. But we also have—and this is what we’re looking
at today—is a color temperature change. So within the light in her face zone we have
a warm area and a cool area. We also have within the warm area we have warmer and cooler
colors. Same on the shadow side. We have warmer and cooler areas within the shadows. Everything
starts with these big simple spots. Then we start breaking it down into more smaller and
more discrete subgroups and subgroups and subgroups or relationships. So if I start
out pretty bold like this it’s just really a matter of adjusting my edges and adjusting
the more subtle relationships of color temperature from one to the next and turning the form
that way. So I might start rough and bold this way, but it’s just looking at the big
simple relationships first. Once I get those in, then I can refine it to any degree that
I want. That’s really up to the artist how far they want to take this. I’m just blocking
it in and showing you that the initial lay in of how you can get these big spots to work
together to help support the overall view or the overall scheme.
There are a couple things that I can do, that I can see in here. I can bring some kind of
a coolness to the outside here around her temple, which I saw on there. So I’ll complete
that out. But at the same time I might look at or go back to the area of her hair over
in this area here, and I may want to just darken that up to give a little bit more,
it’s feeling a little flat in there. So if I darken that up I’m going to come back
here with a little bit more of a raw sienna, some of the black. That’ll make it kind
of a dark warm, but I want to keep it within that red range so I’m going to go back and
cool it off with that red. I’m going to stay with a bit of my warmer red. As long
as I can keep it down in there and have it feel rich in this warmer red zone,
I can turn that area back a little bit.
Coming off of that I’m going to warm that up just a little bit more.
That’s a little bit too hot.
There we go. Somewhere in here. That’s more like it.
So we can feel there’s a little more highlight on there, picking it up a little bit back there too.
The warmth here to the cooler here, the lighter and darker and warm-cool here,
there’s a cooler red in here. You can see. I can just work that and get it softer. If
I want to do it and make it feel like smoke or whatever to kind of mold her hair around,
but the difference between the temperature here and the temperature here, since there
is a decent tonal contrast, it doesn’t feel as subtle. It’s a little bit bolder. But
where I work in areas where the values are a little bit more subtle—let’s just take
this area in here—what I may end up doing is going in and getting something that is
a lot like, I’m going to neutralize this down just a little bit.
I’ve got a little bit more yellow in here.
Neutralize that just a little bit more.
Not quite as yellow.
See now when I’m closer to the value you’re going to see a little bit more difference
in that color temperature. It’s going to be a little bit more distinctive in the overall
relationship, and it’ll start to play into that relationship a little bit more.
if I need to remix a color I’ll just remix the color. Okay, but I’m going to go back
and try to get a little bit of warm out of some these things. Maybe like right along
the edge. I’ve got a little bit warmer, a little more saturated, and a little bit
cooler right next to it. Just give a little bit of vibration in there. I see it in there,
and that’s where I’m going to keep trying to look for those things in the painting.
Where I see a little bit more neutralized are going to be some of the planes that start
turning away from this light source, okay, that might be some of these in there and up
in there that are turning away from that light, a little bit darker value.
I’m going to see a little bit darker value in some
of these areas where we get a little bit more
—we need to go a lot darker than that.
I’m staying in my warm hues right in here.
And it’s going to be just slightly darker over on this side, but I’m getting just
a little bit of her eyelid in the light too. So you can see this. Maybe I’ll make it
just a little bit lighter just so it starts to read with the lighter values over here.
Once I get everything kind of set in here, I’m still going to get her eyes in. I want
to make sure I drop her eyes in at the right value and get the right hue if I can in here.
Now, I can go in with a real dark. But the one thing that I know is that if I put a real
dark that’s going to be surrounded by this medium-light value, what’s going to happen
is that’s it’s going to appear darker. I’m actually going to mix this up a little
bit lighter just like branches in a tree if you’re painting outside.
Go a little darker than that.
I’m going to get this just a little bit warmer, just a touch warmer in here.
There we go. See a little bit of change on the bridge of your nose and
then it goes much warmer down in here.
I’m constantly mixing across to this kind of a green combination.
It’s kind of a green-red combination that kind of comes together, kind of help neutralize
some of this. But this is kind of the warm that comes across.
Lighter, more neutral to come across over into here.
So I have this cooler side. There is a cooler frontal plane
here, and then the warmer side over on this side. I’m building the form through my hues.
My color temperatures are going to shift.
As you can see, I’m keeping it really warm along this edge and any of these edges. Then
the middle planes are starting to be defined a little bit more as having a little bit more
of this neutral in it that I’m mixing in here in areas like this
and a little darker accents I might have in here.
I’m not going to go into a whole lot of—I’ll go in and
just lay in some of my darker darks and my lighter lights, but I’m going to start playing
with those in terms of their color temperature as well and make sure that I get some green
into this real dark mixture in here. It has to still be warm. It’s going to have some
of this in it. This is going to be working as her eyebrows, and it’s going
to get a little bit warmer yet as it comes
out here. Again, it’ll get darker. I want to keep the warmth in there. I don’t want
the black to make it just black-black. I’m going to keep that temperature in there for eyelashes.
Warmth on the bottom there so I can construct around here eye a little bit in there. I can
see there is a shadow shape from her eyelash. I’m going to need to get down into his value
and this little shadow shape. It just kind of sits along the edge of her brow ridge there.
Need to get a little darker yet.
It’ll help construct around that by adding by warm light,
my warmest lightest values on some of those planes that are
most perpendicular to that warm light source.
Make sure this is really the lightest and warmest in here.
Again, I an correct my drawing anytime.
I’ll take a little bit more advantage or more play in this area in here too so I
can build this out as well. So I’m getting a little bit more color temperature difference
in my light area, but I want to bring it all the way over into here. So I’ll go back
into my shadow side over here just quickly, and I might want to bring this down just a
little bit, get a little bit of coolness in here. I also see a little bit of a cooler
quality under here on this frontal planes that are facing out and reflecting the front
surface. So any of the planes that are coming out here are getting a little bit of this
cooler light reflecting into that area.
Build on there just a little bit. The blue is coming out just a little bit more. I’ll
build a little bit more blue into that, into these reflected areas. Now we say there might
be reflected lights here. They’re getting a little bit darker, so it’s an occluded
area. But the color that’s reflecting in underneath, you know, into her skin down here
is actually coming from down below. So it’s going to be picking up a little bit more of
this, this blue-blue-violet. And that’s a darker value. So it’s not really going
to go a whole lot lighter, you know, like you might think of as a warm, reflected light.
There is not going to be a warm, reflected light under here because what we’re getting
on her is this coolness of this blue down below. So in picking some of those things
up they’re going to end up in these planes that are facing up towards on the lower planes.
Even some areas up in here might be just a little bit more.
Get some really darker accents in some of these where these things start to connect.
We’re not going to go into too much detail in here, but what I’ll do is I’ll go ahead
and get just a touch of some of my darker accents in here.
Just to finish up I’m going to keep on the cool side. I’m using my cool red and I’m going
into some of these cool tones. This is a red in here, but it’s very much cooler. When
I put this on here, let me go just a little bit lighter. It’s red. It’s going to make
her ear a little bit redder, but it’s still in this very cool range.
Whereas her normal skin in shadow might be somewhere in here.
A little bit more neutral and a little bit darker.
We’ll get a little bit more warmth where her brow turns into the light here just a
little bit, same thing here.
Then it just goes a little bit greener in the shadow. We’re
going to go a little bit cooler in here, in this shadow area.
Let me go back into that other color here.
Here we go. That’s pretty much all we’re going to have with right
now, but I want to just clear that we’ve got, we started with the overall base. We
have the cooler side and the warmer side. Then we’re opposing that here because the
light direction is coming across at an angle. Then once we lay down these larger groups
then we can look into the subsets of those. At this point, refining any of these shapes,
any of the colors and stuff, it’s just a case of massaging a little bit more. Go back
and draw in and draw in. So you know you could take it to any level of finish. This is just
kind of the basic statement of how you would set something up in this color temperature
arrangement, where her face is the predominant lighter note, and we try to push the more
color temperature difference in her face region than in the rest of the painting. So that
becomes the contrast, the accent, the focus of the overall painting. Not just the features.
It’s really about the temperature and those contrasts.
So we set the stage subtlety to allow for the greatest contrast to happen within the
region that we want to make as our focal point. So that’s all I’m going to go on this
In this setup I put in a light gray background, something that’s closer to the value of
her skin tones so that we see the subtle warmth in her skin tone versus the gray of the background.
Now, the forms and stuff on her face, you’re going to see the different subtle modulation
of skin tone and variations in her natural hue of her skin tone and the temperature changes
of her skin tone and its local areas. Then on the background you don’t have those subtle
changes. It’s mostly gray. The second thing is I wanted to create a situation where there
is a cooler light and a warmer shadow. This is really subtle. I put a real subtle cool
light on her, and the coolness comes off a little bit in the background. You’ll see
on her face, on the left side of her face her highlights are going to go cooler, a little
bluer, and the warm tones are going to go more towards the pink side. On the right side
of her face you’re going to see the subtle temperature changes shift. They’re going
to lean a little bit towards the complement where they’re going to go a little bit more
toward the greenish and orange side.
Okay, so there’s the difference in her color temperature. This is a subtle play on colors.
I’m bookending it by creating the dark of her red hair and the dark of her top and the
bold saturation of her top, and then the warmth in her red hair. Okay, so those are going
to surround her face where we’re going to see these temperature differences, and we’re
going to set them against this other value, which is close to her skin tone. I want to
create a subtle scenario here. So we’ll get in and paint that.
Okay, in this painting this is more of notan or flatter light condition than the previous
painting, so we won’t have as much contrast between the light and shadow side. At the
same time I lighted up the background so it’s closer to the value of her skin so that makes
and overall higher key painting, but the background is neutral. Another thing that I’ve changed
in this setup is that there is a little bit of a cool light. Last time was a warm light,
and it laid some cooler shadows. This is more of a flatter, cool light overall. So it harmonizes
everything in this kind of a cool range. I’m going to be looking for color temperature
changes within these different zones that I’ve set up.
I’ve scraped my palette from my last painting, and I’m going to go in and make all new
mixtures because this painting, again, being a cool light situation, I’m not going to
have the same mixtures on my palette as I did before. So any skin tone, anything else,
it’s all going to come relative to this rather than just a premixed color.
Okay, so whenever you’re comfortable we’ll get going here.
Again, I’m going to start with something a little cooler this time,
something that I’m going to see up here.
It’s a little—there we go.
Something in this range.
Alright, so I’m just going to get a rough idea of where I’m going to go in those zones, and then
I’m going to go in and start laying in. Again, I’m going to start with my darks.
This time because it’s overall cool, my major key is kind of a bluish overall. I’m
going to make sure my initial lay in is all in this cool range. So I’ll just start with
hair because it’s a real dark. It’s a warm tone, but it’s cooled way down.
It's more of this in there than the green so I get somewhere in here.
Get a little bit of medium in there.
Under this cool light the blues and the violets are going to seem a
little bit more saturated because you put a cool light on a cool object.
It’s going to saturate that color quite a bit.
This is some of my most saturated color in here.
Relative to that, her sweater is darker, a
little bit more violet and a little bit more neutral.
I’m going to neutralize that with a little bit of the yellow.
There we go.
Okay, this is my darker value set, and I even see that, even her eyes are going to appear
a little bit darker in this scenario.
I’m going to look at the background
because it’s a cool neutral.
I’m going to deal with that first. Then if I set that I’ll set the surround,
and them I’m going to feature the saturation or the color temperature in her skin.
So I’m going to kind of set the stage for her skin to happen.
Again, I’m keeping this in an overall cool design or major key.
You know, I could have gone in and just put a thin wash
over the whole thing as a process. That’s perfectly acceptable. I’m jumping straight
in to the color because I’m just going to rely on those color relationships to build
that. But if you put down a thin wash, a cool wash, it sets the course. It pushes you in
that direction. Like I said, that’s your prerogative.
If you choose to do that, you can do that.
Okay, as far as the background it’s a much lighter value than the sweater.
It's in here.
You can see it’s even just a little bit more neutral in there.
At this step I’m just getting this large mass in. You know, unlike the last painting that had a light
direction and a stronger effect of a light direction, this one doesn’t.
It’s a little bit flatter. You can see I’m not making a huge issue of a warm side and a cool side.
Those subtle things I’ll go ahead and put in once I get all my canvas covered.
I want a simple clear color statement to begin with, and then I’m going to go from there.
You can see it’s all setting up to be cool, much cooler than the previous painting.
Now we think of somebody’s skin tone as like a flesh tone or a warm tone, but you
know even mixing in here we’re going to look for the range of hue within that and
the range of color temperature within her skin area. I’m staying with a cooler red in here.
This area is getting a little bit pinker.
Whereas once we kind of turn a little
bit away her skin is going to appear to get a little bit greener.
And you’ll see that it’s not nearly the same color temperature contrast as we had prior to this.
Smooth out the drawing a little bit.
See, again, there is the strong reflected light
coming up that’s a reflection of this blue that’s coming in under her jaw here.
So I want to make sure I get that set originally or initially first.
Then I’ll go back and—I’ll go back and work that back into her skin.
Sometimes it works better to mix a color, get it to the right value and then
mix it in with your other colors.
It’s a little saturated. Neutralize that just a little bit.
Darken that down a little bit.
Pull that down just a little bit. I’m constantly
looking to try to find these things to keep things in this cool range.
Then much cooler over here.
Alright, so there’s where I sent my overall
key towards a cool major key. I have some temperature changes within here. The greatest
range of changes I have set up in there, and I can continue to add more in there. I can
set some value. I’ll make a decision here to make some value changes say in her scarf,
but I’ll keep it on the—since here scarf is very saturated, I’ll keep her scarf on
the real saturated scale, but I’ll add some of these accents of this more red-violet in there.
There is a little variation in there that I’m seeing. I’ll get this, but I’m
going to keep them in a similar value. I don’t want them to jump off in the way that are
color temperature is going to change in here. I’m shifting the hue in these areas. There
are some areas that there is kind of a white. It’s a cool white again.
We have a cool light in here, so I’m going to mix that in. That’s going to be part of her pattern
on her scarf. I can put as much as I want on there, but it’s just setting the stage
in terms of the amount of breakup, if you will, visual breakup in this
one zone relative to another zone.
track. If I have a little bit more breakup in this zone it’s going to make it a little
bit unique than some of the other areas. That way I’ll keep her sweater a little bit more subtle.
And so even the most subtle little changes on here will kind of stand out if
I add just a little bit of—maybe there’s a little fold, a little bit more violet than
the green to kind of cool that. Maybe something on the side here. Something a little bit more
subtle will kind of play out a little bit better.
Then if I look at working out of this arrangement of cools in here,
I’m going to make this a little bit more neutral. I’m pulling this from her hair
and making this a little bit neutral, but I need to get some more greenish in there.
See how it sits with this all along the edge here. Makes it go in just a little bit more.
Just along the edges as her hair gets a little bit thinner towards the edge
where it gets toward her skin.
I can also get a little bit more warmth in some of these darker areas here too right
along the edge of her hair. It was kind of recessed in here.
I’ll get kind of this greenish-orangish.
Darker value in here. Still it has a little bit more warmth to it.
It’s a very dark value.
So you can see on my palette here these areas that, like this area in here and this area
in here, these are going to be where my skin tones come through. You can see on my palette
they look kind of like putty and mud. But based on the overall painting being overall
keyed blue, they’re going to look warm compared to what’s next to them. So that’s how
we’ll build the color temperature differences. I’m going to look for an area that I can
kind of pinpoint as a more saturated warm, which might be around some of the darker areas.
Maybe with the situation you can see how strong this is.
Cool that off a little bit. I’m just going to go back and readjust her…
Okay, and just constructing. At this point I might be looking at constructing some of
the different planes around and kind of building some of these areas in here that I see.
So I’m keeping them fairly cool.
I’m finding the mixtures that I’m using are quite a bit different than my original
painting. When you see the two together we’ll see quite a big gap or a big difference in the two.
More saturated. A little warmer. Darker little accents in here.
I can go back now,
now that I’ve got set in some of the darker areas and some of the lighter areas in here.
You can see I’ve got a cooler area right in here under her neck. I can compare that
now to some of the other areas up here and actually cool down some of the lights a little bit.
See that in there. Compare that. Make sure that I’m on the right track.
Let me get a little bit darker in here. I’ll get a little bit of the change in coloration
in her skin. It is subtle.
And I do see it warmer and darker.
Again, I’m just kind of building, I can build the form around a little bit more
by using my values and some of the color temperature changes. I’m going to get a little bit more
yellow into this. I can see that this is, there is more of a coolness in over here that
I put before, so I’m just going to push that a little bit in there.
I can see the same thing in here.
And as I go I’m comparing these little sets of these value groups. See this is the
same there. I need to go a little bit darker over here.
It’s actually a little bit warm on this side here.
I’m almost done.
one, again, just for kind of recapping, we have an overall low major key. Overall dark
or darker. I want to use her face as the silhouetted area or the light region within this overall
dark zone. Also, it’s the area that has the greater contrast of different color temperatures.
So that sets a stage for my intent. If it’s about color temperature I’m going to set
the stage with my values and saturation so that I can make the most out of my color temperature
within that area of interest. So this was a warm light, stronger light. Okay, so it
was a warm, stronger light that produces much cooler shadows, the greater contrast between
the warm and the cool colors in this scenario than there is in this scenario. This one was
an overall medium key, medium major key. So it’s a medium value overall. Okay, less
range of tonal contrast. There are dark darks here and light lights here. There are medium
darks here, not quite as dark, or actually almost right in here, but they don’t have
the appearance of being brighter in there. So it’s more of a light medium major key.
Minor key is your range of contrast. This one has a greater minor key. A little lesser
minor key. But in both cases, I’ve laid out a scenario where her face is the area
where I want to provide more difference of color temperature.
This one I used, in the first one here, I used value to help set that up. I used saturation
to help set that one up. You can see the background here is lighter closer to her face so her
face doesn’t stand out by value, but it does stand out by saturation, this being mostly
flat and very neutral compared to the range of color temperature within there.
So again, it helps me—or I’m using color temperature to help kind of, I want to show
the color temperature exchange in these images, so I’m setting the stage for that. I’m
setting it up, setting up my whole idea of the set up and the color arrangement to really
play that out. That’s what’s important in this session, and so that’s what I wanted
to play out. I hope that’s clear as a statement.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview44sNow playing...
1. Color Wheel, warm and cool hemispheres14m 58sNow playing...
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2. Color temperature at the same value15m 39s
3. Warm and Cool Palette15m 9s
4. Warm light and cool shadows15m 13s
5. Temperature variations within the lights and within the shadows15m 20s
6. Temperature variations within the lights (continued)15m 5s
7. Color temperature in a cool Notan situation15m 17s
8. Variations of temperature in different color zones15m 29s
9. Variations of color temp and saturation to neutral15m 7s
10. Summing up the differences5m 33s