- Lesson details
In this third lesson of the series, instructor Bill Perkins will teach you how to play colors with or against one another to create different effects in your paintings. Bill will demonstrate these concepts with a still life painting with heavy contrast and a wide range of light and color.
- Sharpie Marker
- Newprint Paper
- Grumbacher Artists’ Oil Colors – Black and White
- Hog Hair Bristle Brushes – Filberts
- Palette Knife
- Silicoil Brush Cleaning Tank
- Gamblin Gamsol Oderless Mineral Spirits
- Metal Paint Scraper
- Canvas Panel
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color theory in a clear and easy-to-understand way. In this third lesson in the series, Bill will
teach you how to play colors with or against one another to create different effects in your
paintings. Bill will demonstrate these concepts with a still-life painting with heavy contrast and
a wide range of light and color.
dealing with complementary colors. First we'll talk about what complementary colors are.
Complementary colors are colors that exist on the opposite sides of the color wheel.
This is theoretical color. This is our color wheel. These would be colors that exist
directly across in any direction. This would be the complement of this color; this might
be the complement of that color. Complementary colors are colors that oppose
one another across the diagonal of the color wheel. So for any of the colors on my color
palette, on the color wheel, they're the colors that are exactly opposite. And when
mixed together, they create a neutral. So, complementary colors, when mixed together,
neutralize one another. Complementary colors, when you put them side by side, intensify one
another. So, in this model, they neutralize by mixing.
And when placed next to one another, they intensify. That's the perception: our perceptual
view of this is we see that they kind of ignite one another. They make each other a little
bit more intense-looking. And that's what will happen if you put them next to one another.
So this happens on the surface, this happens all in the mixing, and then the other aspect
of dealing with complementary colors is through the effect of light. So whatever the
light source is – say we have an object, and we have a light source. And the light source
is coming in this direction. So here’s our light. Here’s the direction that it’s aiming.
Our shadow might come across down here. Our highlight’s going to sit right on there.
Our core’s going to sit right in there. So we’re going to have the light in here. We’re
going to have a half-tone. This is going to be a highlight. This is going to be the light.
This is the half-tone. Our half-tone lies in here. And this is a shadow. And any reflected
light will be bounced up into this area.
So this is how light is going to work.
Now, what’s going to end up happening is anything that is along the parallel here will
end up in shadows, So all this is going to be a shadow like this. This ground surface
right here – this ground surface is going to reflect its light into this area up in here and
create reflected light in here; that’s how this happens. Now one interesting thing
that happens with complementary colors: anytime this light source is a color – so a
colored light, any colored light, let’s say a red colored light, shining down on our
object – its shadow down here and on the ground plane, and also its shadow here, will
take on the color of its complement. So this is how complementary colors work with an
illuminated object. So if we have a colored light source, that color of the light source
will affect the highlight the most. The highlight – if you have a colored light
source, and we’ll see this, but – if you have a colored light source, the highlight itself
will be mostly the color of the light. It will be white, it will be the color of the light.
The color of the light will also influence the light area the second-most amount outside
of the highlight. So the highlight is affected the most, the light area is affected next,
and then a half-tone, you’re getting a little bit of the light, but you’re starting to lose
it and you’re starting to go into more local color. So this is where you’re going to see
most of the local color of the object, or object color. And then when you get into
the shadow, that’s the area where you’re going to see the local color plus the absence
of this colored light, and you’ll see the illusion of its complement within this zone
down here. Now, however strong that influence is is going to be affected by a number of
factors. One, the intensity of this light source. Is it a strong red light, or a yellow
or blue light? How strong is the output of that light? So you have the intensity of the
light. You have the distance and the angle from the objects that also plays a part. The
distance and angle that I’m standing to the object and the object from the light source.
That’s another set of variables that you need to consider when you’re analyzing how light
works and how colored light works. Then we’re going to look at: any object can be a
light source. Any object. For instance, in a model like this, I’ve just described one
colored light here. But in reality, we’re going to see that this colored light might
be the most intense light source. But other objects create light sources as well. For
instance, maybe there’s an ambient color in the room. Maybe there’s a skylight that’s
filtering in some cool light or north light or whatever. That is going to affect any of
the areas that are not directly in line with this light source. So the way that we see
light, the way it affects things, is it affects all objects that are perpendicular to the
light source by the intensity, the distance, the angle of this light source. And so if we
have an ambient color up here: let’s just say you’re outside painting. Well, the most
intense light is most often the sun unless you have an overcast day. The most intense
color is the color that the sun is producing as it goes through the atmosphere. Generally
warm, late in the afternoon, it’ll be even warmer as it goes closer to the horizon. So
the sun might be the most intense colored light source in the sky. The sky itself is the
biggest light source of the sky, because it is the sky. It’s the cool light and that is the
biggest light source. So in this area where we might see reflected light from the ground plane
onto the surface of this ball, as the ball turns and faces more downward toward
this shadow area, we’ll get what’s called occlusion. Now, occlusion is like the opposite
of a reflected light. It’s a less light, or it’s it's the absence of reflected light,
right along the edge down in here.
So down in here, it might feel a little bit darker than a reflective area
that’s getting some light bounced off the ground. So it’s hitting this sunlight, or
this light up here is coming down here, hitting the ground plane, and bouncing
back up into this area. This area under- neath is being occluded by the surface or
volume, the form itself, it’s being occluded from the sky, and it’s also turning away again
and the ball is facing the ground more, and less this area that can get reflected light.
So as they come together, because that surface is here, and they come together, this is going
to get reflected light, and then less reflected light, and more occlusion down there.
So that’s how these areas, working from the strongest, most intense light, hits an object
all the way to how light gets occluded underneath where objects actually meet
and touch. So I’m going to take and start off with a color palette. And then we’re going
to go and look at some colored mixtures, then we’re going to set up some still lifes
and look at how the complementary color arrangements that we can create, we can
create complementary schemes based on local colors, we can base it on a colored
light, and we’ll play with both of those different types of schemes.
So let’s get over here.
Let’s start with a color palette. Now, down here on the color palette, you’re going to
see the colors that I had laid out, starting with a titanium white, cad(mium) yellow light,
cad orange, raw sienna, naphthol red, quinacridone red, phthalo green,
phthalo blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, and ivory black. Now, this palette may seem
quite saturated to a lot of people that are used to painting with much more limited
palettes, but my suggestion is: I use this palette or the similar palette. I’ve removed
a couple of these colors. But I use a similar palette whether I’m painting indoors,
whether I’m painting still life, people, landscape – it doesn’t matter. The
important thing is that I put down these saturated colors, because I can neutralize
colors by their complements. I can manipulate a full color palette here and get a full expression
of color. I don’t always use the color right out of the tube. I don’t always try for the
most saturation in any painting. But the idea is, and this is what is really most important
about this – is that I’d rather start with a very saturated palette that allows me to
get anything that I possibly might encounter inside, outside, or anywhere.
I’d rather start with that than contrive my palette down to a limited range that only
allows me to get certain set things. It doesn't allow me, a limited palette doesn’t allow me
to explore, expand. It doesn’t allow me to even get the actual colors that might be
there. It reduces my possibilities. And I might harmonize my color only because I
have limited possibilities. I would rather have unlimited possibilities and create my
own color interactions and be able to mix into the scheme that I’m painting or looking
at or I’m feeling – anything that I’m expressing. I’d rather be able to arrive
at that through my own choice rather than be limited by and only adhere to a limited
palette, something that might stop me from exploring different areas, or
expanding different applications, or exploring or expanding my own interests
or my point of view about something. Maybe I want to observe something from nature
or life or whatever, but then I want to express something different. I might bend
it some way. And if that’s the case, I want to be able to, and learn how to, mix with a
full color palette. And that’s why I think it’s very, very important to start off with
an extremely broad and saturated palette and work up to that. Last time we talked we
had saturation, we talked about saturation. In saturation, you’re mixing from a fully-
saturated color to neutral. And I’ve given one example here today of mixing in that way.
And you’ll see, in that image, you’ll see the mixtures of warm to saturation,
but you don’t get a broad range of color spectrum within that painting.
So in this painting: this is a painting about saturation, where I use black, white, yellow,
and a red. Actually, two reds: a cool red and a warm red. I use my naphthol red as
my warm red and my quinacridone red as a cool red. Now, within this, you can see
that there isn’t a lot of range or expression of color within this area in here and
through here. You can see the skin tones in here are created of saturated to neutrals.
There are greys, there are cool greys, there are warm greys, and a full range from
neutral to saturated color. So that’s this type of a setup. So what we’re going to be
looking at today is expanding from the radius of the color wheel all the way to the diameter
of the color wheel. We’re going to go across to its complement, and I’ll set that up
right now. I’ll start with creating a palette just with my colors right out of the tube.
Cad yellow light,
and I use a raw sienna on my palette. I use it as my dark yellow.
It’s a dark, warm yellow, and if I was to try to mix my cad yellow light down
darker, it would go green, or I’d have to go very neutral. So what I wanted to have is a
dark yellow in its full saturation available to me as I mix down. So when I get into darker
values, I’m going to be using this raw sienna if I’m using darker-value yellows.
That’s where I’m going to go. So after the orange – I’m not going to put this on my
color wheel – after that, I’m going to put in my naphthol red.
I’m going to come over here to my phthalo green.
And again, these are the colors that I’m using right out of the tubes.
I can add a little white to these to lighten them up so you can see them, but
these are in their full saturation right out of the tube, and I wanted to show that first.
Quinacridone red. It’s a cooler red. You could also use a quinacridone magenta.
This is an ultramarine blue.
And I usually use some cobalt blue. Cobalt is in between the ultramarine
and the phthalo. On my outdoor palette or painting inside, usually I
use the cobalt and phthalo if I need to make this cobalt more violet, I can just add a little
quinacridone and I get that anyway, so that works out easily for me. And then we have
the phthalo blue. As you can see, these are very dark, these two phthalos and the
ultramarine are very, very dark right out of the tube. But this is my basic color
palette besides black and white. This is the basic palette that I might use. Now,
theoretically, you would be looking at your primary colors in a subtractive color
system. Painting with oils and watercolors and so on, when you’re applying paint,
that’s a subtractive process. So with that subtractive process, my triad here will be
red, yellow and blue. So it would be somewhere in this range. So this would be my range of
red, yellow and blue. I tend to use two reds, two blues, a couple of greens, and then
yellow to orange. So I use a warm, cool version. This palette allows me to get warm
and cool mixtures and get a full range of color temperature. You can with a limited
palette as well, but this gives you a greater saturation potential in your full color palette.
Those are the actual tube colors that I use, and when we’re dealing with a subtractive
color like this. So this would be subtractive.
And again, if we’re looking at that triad of subtractive color, we’re going to be looking
at something like this. And I’ll add a little bit
of white to this just so we can see it a little bit more clearly. This is the ultramarine
blue and just a touch of white. My red, which is going to be a combination
of these two – because I’ve selected warm and cool. So my principal red for color
theory would be in between my warm and cool; it’d be right in the middle.
(paper towel ripping)
And then I would have my yellow.
So there would be a color palette for theoretical, color theory, would
be something like this. Now, if you’re printing, a print palette would be– and sometimes
with light, we’re going to deal with cyan, yellow and magenta. So in that situation,
out of the same palette, we might be looking at yellow, which I will start again with.
Again, we have a yellow.
My cyan is phthalo blue and white. I’m going to add a touch of the
yellow in there to warm that just a little bit – it had a little too much
red in it. A little bit more.
(paintbrush dipping in water)
A little bit more, just to get a little bit deeper and more saturated in there.
Let me just shift this just a little bit like that. There we go.
And the magenta.
And again, this is quinacridone with just a touch of blue and white in it.
OK, and my other triad down here is going to be additive color. And additive color is
really what you get on your TV matrix, your computer screen and stuff. And that would
be a red-green-blue. And that might be more related to this kind of a situation.
Here’s a red.
Here’s a green, which is my phthalo green and a little bit of the yellow.
OK. [paintbrush dipping]
And the blue in this kind of a triad is really more like the ultramarine blue.
Even though you wouldn’t be using a color palette, a triad, that is based on light
when you're using a subtractive process like this, it is important to note because of this.
When we’re dealing with complementary colors, and we’re dealing with this palette – I’ve
arranged this palette to signify this one aspect, and that is just this: That within the
palette, our color wheel, we might have a triad like this, and the complements are
going to be along the opposite in these positions. Now, if we look at these
mixtures here, the magenta, cyan, and yellow. And I include them on this wheel.
There’s my yellow.
Here’s my cyan.
Here’s my magenta.
Now for any of you that use Photoshop or work on a computer at all –
paint, adjust colors, or paint on the computer, adjust things, you're going to
know that the complements of these fall like this. From the yellow to the blue.
Mostly like the ultramarine blue there. The complement of the cyan is going to be
red, and it’s going to be this warm red. And the complement of the magenta is the
green. So out of this whole palette, just by combining a couple of these warm and
cool versions and then looking at them in their simple triads like this, out of the
theoretical red-yellow-blue. I can see, out of my palette, I'm using pretty much
this: the yellow, cool red or a magenta, and a blue-blue-green for the cyan. I'm also
using a warm red, so I have a warm red and a cool red. I have the yellow, and a green,
which comes up from my phthalo if I add a little yellow to it. And then the blue, which
is more of my ultramarine blue.
And if I use these and just invert them over themselves, look what I get. I get the yellow,
to the green, to the cyan, to the ultramarine, to the magenta, to the red. And these lie
complementary to one another. That's why these are important as well. And that's why
I use this color palette in order to play out all of the possibilities of these different triads.
And also allowing for color temperature difference all through here. If I just use
my subtractive color alone, I might be looking at, in the theoretical version,
from the blue, I might have an orange over here, and these would be my secondaries:
A green might sit somewhere in there.
To get that green, I'm not using the yellow and the blue; I'm using the yellow and the
green, because if I use yellow and blue, this will be less intense. It's going to
neutralize. Same thing here: I'll go with a cad orange here, and put
it on my palette, and I'm going to use it so that I can go
farther out and keep it more intense. And then with the violet in there.
I might start with a cool red and some of the blue. This is a cobalt blue. I'll add
a little bit of white, so you can see where I'm going with that, to get a violet.
[ripping paper towel]
Now, whereas this conventional palette might be, theoretically, the idea, you won't
get the ability to mix the saturation that you will with this palette of colors. The
reason is this: if I am mixing– I'll draw a circle here. And I have my triad here,
here, and I've got 3 straight lines, and I'm mixing my secondaries by mixing this and this.
I'm going to get a color here, another here, by mixing these, and I'm going to get
a color here. But with this color palette, I'm actually getting, from the neutral
center, I'm mixing a color out here. Like here, instead of mixing yellow and red
to get an orange, I'm using a cad red on my palette, which allows me more saturation in
that range. If I use my medium red and a medium blue, I get a medium violet.
Whereas if I'm mixing my magenta and a blue-blue-violet, I get a more saturated
violet out of that. Complement of the yellow here. And if I use these two mixtures here –
I might be using the yellow and the blue – I'd get a green in here. But if I'm using
my phthalo green and a touch of yellow, I get all the way out here. So I'm expanding
the possibilities that I can actually mix with with just this limited range of colors.
So this seems to cover the full range. And again, complementary colors are those
that sit along the diagonal from one another all the way across. And they'll neutralize
each other as they get mixed together. I can do that with a couple of these: I can
take a little bit more of the yellow, for instance. And if I bring the yellow down in
towards the middle here, and then I take some of my...
my blue-blue-violet down in here, I'll need to add some of the red there to help neutralize
that. If I go in here, you can see I get to a very neutral tone in the middle there.
And if I mix a cyan, I get a little bit more of this cyan, and bring it in,
make it a little bit darker down in there, I'm bringing in a little more of this cyan,
I'll do it on the palette down here, too – if I use the cyan and a warm red and mix
those together, coming in towards the middle here,
if I mix them here on my palette, you can see I get a neutral.
That's a little too red. I'm going to add a little bit more of that.
I needed a little bit more greenness in my cyan over here. Let me take a little bit
of this to make this a little more cyan, like this. Mix this in here, and I'm going
to get mixing in towards a neutral this way too.
And the same thing with my green coming in here and my quinacridone:
they neutralize each other out there like this.
Finding these complementary colors with this palette, you can see in the cyan: I don't
use a cerulean blue because that already has added white, and a little bit of Naples yellow
and some phthalo will get you a cerulean blue. I want to be able to get it deeper.
So I might need to mix just a little touch of the phthalo green into it just to cool
it a little bit more. Actually, it gives a little bit of the greenness back into that
blue. You need to get a little bit farther over there to make that actually the
absolute complement to the warm red, or the Naphthol red. By adjusting that slightly, I can
get in and get that pretty accurate. But I can get that full range within this limited
palette, and that's all you need to begin with.
Now we're going to look at some different paintings in which I've utilized this
complementary scheme in these different ways.
Here are two paintings I did with more normal light condition. I was looking at a red-green
scenario for both. I wanted to deal with complements, but I wanted to do it in more
of a natural-light way: one being very flat, neutral light. This was the room ambiently
lit with some skylight. And, you can see, when I surround her skin tone with red, it
really makes her look more neutral. It pales her way out and it gives the appearance of
green within some of these areas. So the colors you put next to one another – her
skin tone next to the reds around here – You'll see the reds on her lips and the reds
in some of these areas. And on her ear, they feel like they're starting to associate with the
background a little bit. And so that's what helps bring that harmony in to create against
the greenness that appears in her skin. And then, with a grey top, that takes us all the
way from full saturation to neutral, and then in through our complementary effect.
This painting was an overall green setup with the overall green background, his
scarf. And I had a warm light on him. So what happened is it pulled out the warmth
in his skin tones. You really see it in some of these little recessed areas where there's
a bit more reflected light bouncing up in. Where skin reflects into skin, it intensifies
with this warm light on warm skin, reflecting into these smaller areas. It intensifies this
warm glow in there. As opposed to the ambient room, which was reflecting its more flat color
into those areas. These are greyer and give the appearance of being a little more green
and working in association with the green background. That's how this harmony was
created. This has a warm light on it, adding more of the warm skin tones and reds into
the areas in light. The shadows go toward the cooler skin tones, and you get the
appearance of some of the greens bouncing from the background into it. And then we
have the fully-saturated green up here, and the warm light affecting here, and the comple-
ment of the warm light, the blue, affecting here. We get the difference there and the
difference back there. Whether you're using a flat, ambient light – which would be overall
cool – and strong background color, or your model is wearing a bright, saturated color,
you'll get this kind of scheme. Particularly if it is red, their skin tones will neutralize
more. There are a number of Russian painters that painted with a palette similar to this,
and with these bold, red colors in the back- ground, they created these beautiful skin
tones, these subtle tones in their skin. And cool, reflected lights that are all
working throughout a scheme like this. Or, again, you have more of a traditional, warm
light coming from an incandescent light onto your model, establishing some of the form
relationships. Then you get the warmth on the light surfaces, the coolness or effect
of the complement into the shadowed areas. And if the background is more like the shadow
or more like the complement of the light source, the more you'll get that bouncing
into that shadow area. So, let's take a look at a couple images now where I use
a colored light.
In this painting, I used a strong-colored gel on the light source. And like I mentioned
before, if you use a strong-colored light source, the shadow leans to the complement
of the light source. So the stronger or more intense color of light, the stronger and
more intense color you see in its shadow. The model had red hair. It was a very
strong red-orange gel that I put on the light source. And I used a red background,
so it was kind of a study of red on red on red. She had warm skin, red hair, and I
gave her a red background. But there was a little variation between the background and
her hair. She had a light, warm-colored sweater on, but it didn't have a strong,
distinctive color like her skin, her hair, or the background. Not having a strong
or distinctive local color, you really see the appearance of the complement
of the light source – more on her sweater than you do anywhere else. Her skin tone
is the next-little-bit-stronger color. You can see the complement of the light source
appearing within her skin tones in shadow. So you're seeing the effect of the comple-
ment in the shadow with this strong orange- red light on her. Then in the background,
you see it a little bit less because it's a very strong, intense color. And her hair
is also a very strong, intense color. You'll see mostly full saturation in the light, but
then, in the shadow, it goes a little bit toward the complement and mostly
appears darker. Again, a lighter value, like her sweater, that doesn't have a strong local
color, will actually give the appearance of what your light and shadow is doing
more than those medium-dark colors that have a strong color influence.
Here are two color studies that were painted under different colored light gels. As you
can see, the one on the left was a quick study. I do these in my color workshop.
This painting was created by using a cyan- colored light, which allowed the shadows
to get pushed towards its complement; it was going more red in the shadows.
We're getting a local color in her skin, and the different hue in the pigmentation
as the planes turn away from the light source. Again, the highlights being the
most intense and the most like the color of light. The highlights here are the actual
color of the light source, whereas as the planes turn away from those points or
surfaces, they start to take on a little bit more of the local color of the model. As
they turn into shadow, you can see under here, it's the local color, plus the illusion
of the complement of the light source. So that's what's happening. And forcing these
colors, in the shadow, to appear to be more complementary to the light source. They still
have some of the local color. Down here, some of her skin is getting hit by this
direct, cool cyan light, and that cyan surface is bouncing into the reflected
area up here. So, the reflected light is a little more neutral because it's canceling
out the warmth you might see in the shadow over here. It's bouncing into this area, cooling
it off. That's why this reflected light is a little cooler down in this area. The area
underneath here, on her neck, is most perpendicular to the room ambient color.
It's in shadow, but the color reflecting into there is a little less intense. It's
not the color of the light source, and it could lean towards the complement slightly,
but what's happening is the light getting reflected into this area is bounced from
the rest of the room.
This painting was another color sketch. These are 20- to 25-minute sketches – only
to get the color relationships and get these notes down. What I did is arrange this
situation. She has dark hair. She had a green top on. I gave her a neutralized scarf that had
both red and green in it in a neutral-to- saturation range. So it did harmonize the
color in through here a bit. I did have a red gel, a little bit more distant, but a dark red
gel, over here. You can see that the redness on this side and this side of
her nose is the effect of this strong, saturated, red-red-orange light source.
Over on this side, we have a little bit of the green, and it's kind of pushed. We
get her skin tone in a zone where local color is mostly right in here, on the
front plane along the ridge of her nose and forehead here, and then along the
frontal plane here, and a little bit in here and on her chin. We see the influence of
the complement on all the planes that are facing this direction. Her dark hair is
blocking any of these planes from picking up any of the red from the background. So
that red doesn't wrap all the way around to here because it hits planes that are
perpendicular, which might influence the edge here, just like it does there. So there
are two different effects. They're similar in that they have a strong-color light source,
but I'm using a cyan light here and a real red light there. And seeing the complement
appear in the shadow of these two paintings.
Like the last two paintings, this painting was also done with a cyan, or almost a
phthalo green-colored gel. And you can see the intensity of the light source coming
through in the highlights, along these highlights. These are the color of the
light source. Now, having darker skin, his skin is absorbing a lot of the color, but
we do see richness in the shadow areas because they're looking deeper and more
red in the shadows. This might be his normal skin, where the planes are the most
perpendicular to the light source, which was at about a 30° angle out this way. And it's
hitting along these planes of his form. And as they turn away from that light plane,
they get more of the local color. And then, as these planes turn away from the light
source or get in a shadow of another form, they'll get the appearance of the
complement. That's how we pick that up in there. He had kind of a neutralized sweater
on, and it picks up a good amount of this color, the deep-blue-greenish anyway.
And then, I kept a fairly light background so you could see the effect of the light
hitting that as well. It did have some yellow in it, and that's why it has this
greenish. But that, I use in order to harmonize the whole palette and the
whole painting to keep everything working in harmony. If I wanted to make this express
more red in it, I could use a more neutral to red background, which would pick up
an association with the shadow side rather than the light side. That's an option. Or
even change the color here to more of a red, which would associate more with this
side than this side. It's a way you balance and proportion the color arrangements that
you have up there. Now, here's the extreme version. This is complements on steroids.
And what I've done here is put a strong green light hitting these planes in this
direction and a strong red light hitting this direction. These are really strong,
intense lights and intense color. The combination of the two, if this strong
light is hitting her skin, the shadows are going to lean towards green anyway, but
I'm enhancing that by adding more green in here and lightening the value. You see the
much more saturated green in here. Her skin tones that are affected least by the red and
green-colored gels are on those planes that are more parallel to the light sources. So
those are the ones running down the center here. You'll see some more violets in here,
and these are areas in here and in here where the strong red light hits the form
on the outside, hits the side of her here, and the redness here is bouncing back up,
influencing this shadow. And you'll see it'll start to turn towards a little bit of a green
where it starts to get neutral here, but when it really starts to turn, you'll get
the appearance of this. In the room, it was a very cool neutral. And what ends
up happening it starts to pick up that coolness, which appears to be this brilliant
blue in here. Where you see reflected light bouncing in here, you see this strong red
reflecting back into this area. So that's how these things work. Again, complementary
colors will intensify one another. So in these small forms, between her fingers,
where you see these planes turn rapidly, you're going to see this interaction of a
red-green appear very, very intense. So, again, this is a very extreme version of a
red-green complementary contrast. In this situation, this was a quick little
sketch – about 20-25 minutes. In this sketch, I use a complementary scheme as well, but
this is more of a blue-orange. What I did was use an orange gel here and a blue
light here. That's why this is strongly illuminated, so you can see that these
planes are in light. And these are strongly illuminated, very light as well, with this
orange light. What I did was pull the lights way to the side, almost 90° from one another.
So, this frontal plane in here, you can see it's very close to her local skin color. And
as the planes taper or turn toward the light source, you'll see how that influence affects
her skin tone. Again, with this real strong light here and a real strong light there, it
really does go predominantly toward the color of the source of light rather than her
local color. It's almost completely gone in some of these areas. And it will be
completely gone in the highlight areas, like over in here, along here, and over in
some of these. Again, one complementary color sitting next to its complement will
intensify one another. That's why, where you see areas like this, you get this vibration.
That vibration and intensifying effect gives you more of that quality of light. So these
examples I've shown you in these little sketches are examples of how complementary
colors can be arrived at, and you can use them to expand the saturation, but also how
you can use them to create color schemes within your painting. And I use them to
describe how light actually works on form. That's really important. Just mixing the
colors and having the colors on your palette is one thing; that's a theoretical idea. But
to be able to use this palette and the simplified number of colors, and use them
to your advantage to actually create the illusion of light – that's a whole different
thing. And how you might see complements mostly in nature is determined by the color
temperature of the light source. And you'll be seeing the complement in
the shadow side of those forms.
On the table, I've put a few items and things I could put together for a still life.
The types of things you might want to do if you're putting together a still life as a
model. You might want something that's light, something medium, something dark.
All three things in different shapes. Something maybe tall and thin against
something that's dark and shorter or something. You might use some flowers
or something in here, you might pick some darker flowers with some lighter flowers,
or red against green in this kind of a situation. I've got a darker, thin shape.
If I wanted to do something that was a little bit more blue and yellow, I've got
something like this that I could start pulling from. Also, things that are a
little bit more on the neutral side – something like this. And its reflective
qualities can be different than something actually grey. This one appears to be a
little bit more blue. This is a cool, neutral green. We can use that kind of thing. Also
objects that might be reflective and reflect a lot of different colors, or their
surround. That might be another kind of element that you might want in there.
Something like this might disappear. Against the black here, it disappears.
But you do pick up different elements that read the form, and also the highlights and
stuff that read the different planes and how they sit. So you can build a lot of
form even though you can't see all those edges and turns. Where you place the high-
lights in relation to the form tells you the most perpendicular spot towards the
light source. So that's where they'll all land. I have some material as well. If I
want to get some more complementary schemes built, I can put a couple of these
together. Something like this. Or if I want to go a little more saturated with
a blue, I can get something here. You'll see, some colors like this will start to
intensify one another because they're next to one another. I might get something that
is more a red-green, something like that. And you can see, as I put these colors
together, they're going to intensify – you get a little vibration when you get some
of these things put next to one another. Open these things up and you'll see a
little bit more. Something like this. You can see it happening, a little bit more
vibration when you get those next to one another. So, that allows us – we have a
lot of range in here. Also, things that are on the neutral side. A more neutral green.
It's got a little bit of the red in it when, you see, next to this, it can harmonize
some of these other colors. You see how it'll pull that together. You want to arrange
things that will build a color harmony relationship that works for you. These,
again, I'm working with complementary color schemes, so I'm dealing with a red-
green and a blue-yellow situation. I also brought some colored gels. These, you
can get at a camera store. You can utilize these in order to put them on your light
source. To create a complementary scheme, you would put this over your light. And if
I use a directional light or something like this, I put it over the light to project that
color with strong intensity onto your objects or your still life. If you were to
look through a gel: you looking through a gel won't give you a complementary scheme.
Only when you put it on the light source will it create the effect of this color in
the light area and its complement in the shadow. If you look through it this way,
you create an analogous scheme, because this color influences both light and shadow.
It has a tendency to flatten out your scene. That's the difference between creating a
situation where you get an analogous scheme, or complementary scheme.
On the other hand, a lot of landscape painters might take a strong red gel out-
side. Any color gel that you look through when you compare something, if you see
a similar color – say you have a red gel and you take it out in a landscape and
there's a red car parked out there. It will actually make that red car look brighter
and more saturated. It'll look lighter and more saturated than it really is, because
any color gel that you have or project on an object, you're putting the colored
light on the object. And if the colored light is similar or the same as that local
color, it will lighten and intensify that color. Most people use a red gel when
they go outside to see the natural values, or see how values might break up a little
bit more. And the tendency that there might not be a red in nature, or out in
fields, or in the grass and green trees is a pretty good case. That's why you have
to be careful if you use a red gel when you go out and do a landscape painting.
Just be aware that if there is anything red out there, it will intensify that and it will
change the value structure of your painting. So, just be aware of that as you go. It
does tend to allow you to see some of those values, but a neutral-density filter is
probably the best to use if you're going
to do that outside. So let's take a look at a couple of little schemes that we can
put together, and just arrangements that we might do. I'm going to clear these off,
we'll put a couple of things up, and we can take a look at them.
In this still life, I set up a blue and a yellow, and I put in a dark element, a
light element, something with some blue to harmonize with this, something white so
we can register a white – we get the warm value or tones on here – and then the plate
back there with some more yellow. As you can see, this setup is not all half-yellow,
or orange, and half-blue. What it is, is a combination that's most dominated by the
blue value. So, proportionately, this would be a major key of blue. It'll be a comple-
mentary painting with a major key of blue. Its minor key is very minimal because it
doesn't have a whole lot of strong yellow. So it doesn't have the contrast, a blue-
yellow contrast extreme. It's strong blue and a medium-to-light amount of yellow
in terms of its saturation. We have a scenario like this where we have something
light, medium, medium-dark, and then dark. We have highlights that are appearing. We
have some elements of yellow and blue on the local objects here. A white area in there.
This setup being a major key of blue, if I want to bring more yellow in, one way to
do it is to warm up the light source. Then we see a little bit more of the complement
in the shadow. So, if I put this up to the light source, we get a little warmer effect
of this on there. There's a cool effect with a flat light, and then there's a
warmer effect of a little bit warmer gel. The stronger and closer the light source
is, and the less ambient light, we get a stronger effect on this situation.
Now, let's take this complementary scheme that is mostly blue, so it'd be a blue major
key. And the minor key, or color contrast. Remember: your major key is a proportion.
Overall, what compared to what, and what's the greater amount. That's your major key.
So this would be a painting that is keyed blue. Your minor key is the amount of
contrast within your image. Within this image, the amount of a strong yellow isn't
here. But if I add a stronger yellow light source, I'm increasing my minor key. I
place it on the background here. You can see I'm neutralizing that blue. The blue
actually gets a little more saturated in the shadows. You see the folds over there
getting a little more saturated blue. If I train the light down this way, I'm still
getting the blue on the background. I'm getting more of the yellow on the whites,
and the flowers; I can pull it in the foreground area here. You'll see the
highlights that are most perpendicular to the light source, and the lighter
planes on the dark figurine, being a lot more yellow in those. And whereas the
shadows will be going a little bit cooler than they would be otherwise. So this is
how I can increase my minor key. Increase the contrast between blue and yellow. So I
can still be getting a little bit more of an interesting complementary color
scheme by changing the colored light source.
This color scheme is a complementary scheme. And depending on how you frame
this, if you frame higher up here, you'll have more blue. If you frame lower down
in here, you'll have more yellow. So it could be a blue major key or it could be
a yellow major key, just depending on how you frame your picture. Remember: the
major key is the greater proportion of color. So if your greater proportion is
blue, it will be a blue major key. And if it's framed down low, it'll be a majority
of yellow, so it'll be a yellow major key. The other thing to notice here is: in this
situation, as opposed to the last one, this one has a much stronger saturated
yellow down here. So, your minor key is greater contrast. So, in this situation,
your major key, even if it's up here, your major key would be blue, but you'd have
a little bit of yellow. And in this scenario, you have a stronger, more saturated
yellow. So, your minor key would be higher, a higher minor key – meaning
more contrast in your minor key, or your contrast of hue. When you're talking about
hue, and you're talking about your key, we can talk about hue, value, saturation, even
shapes. Spatial depth. Any of your seven components, you can measure in major/
minor keys. Our major key the proportion, and our minor key the contrast range within
the image. With those two methods of measure, we can get any kind of arrange-
ment, and that's what we do here. If I add the same yellow light, I can add more
yellow influence into this. I will intensify this area down here a little bit, but I can
also bring it up here and I can neutralize some of the background. So, I can do the
inverse of what I had before. Watch how I put this on with this orange gel.
[color gel rustling]
With this light, what I'll do is: I can train this light source on the white of
the flowers and the vase. And I can get a little bit more of it on the blue background.
See how it neutralizes the background? That will increase the proportion of yellow to blue.
If I put it down here, you can see: the background keeps a strong blue and I've
just intensified this yellow. If I did this, this could be a stronger minor
key because I'm intensifying the contrast between that deep, rich blue and this
saturated yellow. If I bring the light up this direction, what I'm doing is I'm
neutralizing the blue; therefore I'm minimizing my minor key. I'm
reducing the amount of strong color con- trast between the yellow and the blue.
Here's increasing it... and decreasing it. So, when you're setting up a still life, a
model, or selecting a background, it's really important to look at how you arrange
the proportion, or the major key, and the contrast within. You have all kinds of
latitude to play with. You ought to take advantage of that. Your design and your
painting begins long before you pick up a brush; it starts with the thinking of and
the arranging of all these elements. Then you'll set up your lighting in order to play
out that idea. And then you'll start exe- cuting. It's not a case of just "flip on a
light, throw a few things up there, and start painting away and try to make a
painting, and mix beautiful colors to make it happen." It happens long before that.
It happens in the arrangement, the selection, and the lighting. So, let's
take a couple other scenarios and we'll take a look at those, too.
Here, I've created another color scheme. It's a complementary scheme – a red-green
scheme. What I've done is I've made sure that the saturation level is low. My greatest
saturation, you can see, is in the green here, and some of the reds here. I've got
a conversation of reds in here, between a cool red and the warmer reds in here. And
then there are some subtle, pink-y reds in here. The backdrop that I've selected here
is a neutralized green, but it has some reds in it. It basically harmonizes the
whole thing by making it a little bit more neutral in there. Within this scheme –
again, keeping the saturation level down – I am keeping a strong complementary
color contrast. But I'm harmonizing it; I'm looking for a way to make it work
without being terribly jarring. I can increase the complementary quality of
this by adding a green light or a red light. Let's take a look and see how that
works, and what that looks like, both with a red light and a green light.
With a red light, if I put a red light on this setup, you can see how it affects
the whites the most. You can see the high- light in here, on the bottle, hitting this
dark value. The highlight is most perpen- dicular to this light source, so you'll see
where it's perpendicular, where the bottle curves around this way, and when it curves
in this way. So you'll see two highlights: one on the convex curve here, and one on
the concave curve. And the highlights sit right on the edge of planes, in between
the changeup. So that's how you'll see that. Now, by putting a red light on here,
we see the complementary contrast really happening here on the white flowers. You
can see how this strong, warm red makes those shadows very cyan. You see that?
I'll pull this down so you get a real clear shot into those flowers, and you can see
the cyan quality. What also happens is the red light is also neutralizing the
background here and intensifying the red on the apple. So that kind of sets up this
stage, this little pool of warm light scenario. If I turn it this way, you see
it's neutralizing the background, but the background is already neutralized. It
gives us a strong highlight on the bottle still, but it doesn't do anything for the
area down below. So if I bring it down a little bit, it gives us this centralized,
reddish pool, intensifies the red apple, creates more saturation within the flowers
between the light-vs.-shadow, the red to cyan there, and then it adds a bit of a
hue shift from the neutral greenish to more of a neutral reddish. Picking up a
few of the highlights that are normally warm, it's saturating and lightening
those, so we're getting a little bit of change there. Now let's see with the
green light. Now, with the green light situation, you can see what happens:
the highlights on the bottle and the apple turn green, it intensifies the green on the
flowers, and also, the area in light on the flowers has a really strong green down in
here. See that? But then the shadow – look up in those flowers: the shadow
appears to be a bit more red or magenta in there. It goes towards a magenta in
there. Again, as when I talked about the additive process: the complementary of
green is the magenta.
Now I've added a little bit more satu- ration in the background, I've added more
saturated green, and I've added a little bit more red that harmonizes. These are
very cool reds; these go in toward the purple, too. It does pick up some of the
reds in the bottle here, the apple, into this area here. And it has some green and
a little bit more of a neutral tone in here, but not the same value as the
whites over here. So, what I'm doing is: as I select these red-green elements to
put in here, I'm monitoring how much green and how much red as complementary tones,
because that's our theme – I'm measuring how much green, how much red, and what's
the range of contrast in here. Again, the major key is green in this painting. The
minor key is medium, because there is some red present here, but they aren't as strong
as if I had a very strong red in here. Let's see what that looks like.
If I had a very strong red in here, something of this nature:
you see, if I put something really strong red in there, it would be more color
contrast, more complementary contrast. I have red present here, but it's not at
its extreme saturated level. There's lower saturation contrast in this image than
there would be if I had something like this.
In this situation, by adding the strong red background, I'm increasing the minor key.
I'm increasing the contrast between red and green. Again, if you're framing up
higher and getting more red, you'll have a red major key. If you're framing down
a little lower and we have this up a little more like this, it'll be a green major key.
So, there's the difference between setting those things up. And you can see: from the
neutral overall background to a little more saturated green, keeping it all in
a green key, to including more saturated red, we have a lot of steps and layers
that we could go through in order to pull this off.
Setting up this scheme: it's overall a dark blue; that's a large portion of it.
Then I've got a good amount of yellow, and I've put a yellow-orange light on top of the
setup. So, because of that, I'm going to put a little bit of a wash down overall.
And anytime I put a wash over the painting, an initial wash, I usually try
to look for a color that'll harmonize or contrast the setup. I don't put an
arbitrary color down when I'm going to put a wash. In this situation, I'm going to
put a little bit more of a cobalt, a bit of an ultramarine wash. I'm going to
neutralize that down just a little bit, because that's a little bit strong.
I'll put a thin wash over the top here. And as I'm doing this, I can get an idea
of the balance, or how I want to compose my image, too. You know, I can...
I can realize in a real, kind of rough little lay-in of what my basic
arrangement is going to be.
[paintbrush dipping in paint thinner]
I want to take a little bit of it off. I don't want all this paint thinner on it.
If I lose some of the drawing, that's OK; I'm going to regain it again anyway.
There we go. And on my plate, most of the yellow is going to be in that area there.
Then I'll go in and kind of refine the drawing, just so I know where I am
just a little bit more.
[soft, almost inaudible brush strokes]
Measuring a little bit as I go. And I'm trying to look for the things that might
create some dynamic rhythms: for instance, the handle on the pitcher, as it comes down.
And this is just in the basic drawing.
You can see that this needs to come out a little bit more...
in order that this plate comes around into the right spot, coming off of this guy.
[paper towel crumpling]
Again, as I go through here, I'm going to be looking at the different shapes that
actually direct your eye, or how I want to direct the viewer's eye to this picture.
I'm going to be looking for these things. I'm going to close off the bottom of the
frame, move up around here, and come around the top here. I want to find
something that'll bring my sweeping into this, and pick this up. And this eye line
here – that's very important, his eye line. And the pitcher even has an eye line.
It's pushing back that way; this little figurine is looking out this way. So I'm
going to take advantage of all of those elements in order to play this out.
Then once I get it roughly blocked in, I'm going to lay in some of my darker values.
These are some of the blues that I have here. I'm going to lay some of those in right away.
And some of these are a little bit more neutral back in here. I'm going to lay
those in roughly – large, simple.
There might be some of the dark on the painted area on the vase.
And the variations in the blue as I go around here – I'm going to see that there
are some similar blues that are showing up in here, but there's also some
difference between this warm light coming in here and these darker shadow areas.
I'll get a couple of the darker shadow areas first – lay some of those in first.
This is a little bit darker, but it's still fairly saturated over in here.
Along the top here, it gets darker as it gets away from this illuminated area,
as it vignettes out to the outside here.
Another thing I'm seeing is the warmth. There's a warm glow coming from this light
in the back that's also hitting back in here. It's dropping something that looks
a little bit more neutral right at the moment, but as I get into the painting,
it'll look a little warmer. Same thing up here.
Down in here, I'm getting a bit more neutral, because this is where that warm
light is hitting. And it's neutralizing the blues down in here, even to the point
where there's an area in here that actually picks up quite a bit more of the warm light
that I'm going to see somewhere like this.
I'll get a little more red into this. There we go.
[paper towel ripping]
[paintbrush wiping on paper towel]
[paintbrush wiping on paper towel]
[stirring; paintbrushes rattling]
OK, I blocked in most of the blue in the background in here, and got some of the
darks in here. And now what I'm going to do is go in and lay in some of the warmer
darks. I'm staying with my darks first; I'm going to block those in first.
Some of the warmer ones, like the sculpture, I want to get those in first as well.
[paintbrush quietly wiping]
There's a lot of reflective quality in the plate that's going to warm this up quite
a bit here. I'm noticing it now. I'll take stock of that â€“ I want to get things a
little bit lighter and start letting lighter values in. I'll take advantage of that.
At this point, I want to get the darkest areas begun.
My next-lighter value is going to be somewhere in the shadowed areas
of this plate, which are pretty bold in some areas here.
And even though this is a complementary scheme, I'm using my full palette to paint
this, because I see that there are other colors reflecting into these areas in
white and half-light down here.
And then in the lighter area, or lighter values, picking up some of the blue with
the surround, I'm going to warm this up and neutralize some of this green for some of the plants.
Some of these are even a little bit darker back in here. Even darker yet.
[scraping, paper towels ripping]
And as much as I'm thinking about my my values, I'm also thinking about
shifting my color temperature as I go, as I'm laying these colors in.
I'll warm this up just a little bit and lighten it up in here.
[paintbrush wiping, dipping]
I'm going to go up to the next value that I see in here. And this is going to be
some of the pitcher in shadow.
I can see it's going to be a little bit more violet than I initially laid it, so
I'm going to make sure that I get this the right color.
[paper towel ripping]
So, there's a reflected light bouncing off of this plate here. So I'm getting
this shadow shape in here, moving around and then through here. And now I'll lay
in this shadow shape over here, because this is another darker zone. I'll put that
in. And that seems to be a bit on the neutral side; it's a yellow-greenish
that I see. Even a little darker yet.
This is the shadow of the figurine.
And I'm going to keep these â€“ a lot of these edges, I can find, and lose, and regain,
and find, and lose and regain again. So I'll work with that a little bit as I go.
The statue or figurine itself is pretty dark overall, and it's getting hit with
that warm light, that warm frontal light pretty strongly, so I'm going to try to
mix up some of that color.
A little bit more red in there. There we go.
A little bit bluer in some of these areas, too.
[paper towels ripping]
[paper towels ripping, paintbrush dipping]
Now, some of the flowers in the background are outside of that warm light, and they
just kind of fade off. They're just going to get a little touch of warmth back there.
They're fairly lighter-value, but they're still pretty cool back there.
And they're going to have a little bit of a temperature change in here, too, so
they're a little bluish back in here. They're going to get some warmth as
those flowers come around into the light, too.
And even some little areas where they're really â€“ because they're white, they have
less local color. What they're going to get in the shadow of those areas is
pretty strong, saturated blue. You can see that along some of the edges here,
too. I'll just kind of push that back into that area, and some here as well.
Some of these flowers cast a little bit of a shadow, but it's on this green
plate, so it's got a lot of the green in it.
[paper towel ripping]
The plate's really highly reflective, so it's got a lot of color shifts all throughout.
So, I'm just kind of playing those up and adjusting as I go, here, a little bit.
I'll get in some of the real rich, darker tones in here, too, so that they can
start to read a little bit clearer.
[paper towel ripping]
As I paint around here, it looks like I'm kind of randomly throwing in spots, but
as I put in one little area or note of color, what I'm doing is looking around
the whole piece and seeing what's similar, or what's different. And then, if I see
something that's similar, I'll go ahead and put that in.
OK, I've built up some of these areas. I'm going to just scrape them back a little
bit; they're getting a little too thick too soon, and I want to work with
them a little bit more before I start getting the toothpick in here.
And I want to soften up some of these edges, too. I think that kind of helps out.
All right, I'm going to finish blocking some of this in.
All right. Now I'm going to get back in and work some of these other areas up.
I want to make sure that I get the whole canvas covered at this point. I messed up
with all of these variations right now, so I want to make sure I get it all covered
first, and then I can go in start making more subtle adjustments. But, at this
point, I'm going to drop in the flowers and the vase. I'll start with the
largest shape, the vase.
So, as these planes turn around this form, they're going to get affected by the color
or the light a little bit differently. And this plane down here is tilting down a
little bit, the one up here is closer to the light, and then the plane in the
middle is most perpendicular to the light source, so it's going to get even more
intense light on it. So, that's going to be my most intense color, sitting right
on this plane, as far as the planes on this pitcher. This is where it's going to
be the most saturated in here.
It's a little bit yellow, so let me get a little touch more red in that. Even more.
There we go.
This is turning down â€“ it's got a little bit more cool red in it. More than the top.
And the same for the inside of it, right up in here.
Now, as it reflects into itself, too, on the inside of this handle, it's going to
be just a little bit more light bouncing back into there. And then as it goes
into this shadow and tucks back, it does get a little bit deeper and richer, warm
tone just as it goes back into this area here.
[paper towel ripping]
There's a little bit of a reflected light coming off of that plate. It's a high-gloss
kind of sheen coming in there. But I want to make sure that I get that in there,
because it's going to show up even more when I get it into the plate back here.
I've kind of pulled the shape back in there.
OK. [paper towel ripping]
I want to get a little bit more of this quality of light in here. It's getting a
little bit cooler and a little darker as these flowers go back into the darkness
here. So, I want to pick up just a little bit of that. And I also want to get the
warmth that plays off of this shadow. Because that was the light part of
that flower. So, the shadow's coming off of that.
And the rest is going into a little bit of a shadow back there.
I'd like that a bit darker.
[paper towel ripping, paintbrush wiping]
OK, it gets a little warmer down in here. This is going to be the darker area behind
these flowers. They're picking up some of the gold from the plate, and then, also,
some of the cooled-down gold. And it almost looks like a green in here. It's
a very neutral tone.
So, I want to get a little bit more orange in this area here. It's a little
too yellow. It needs to get a little bit more warmth in here.
There we go â€“ that's better. It picks up a little bit on a highlight of his foot here.
[paper towels ripping]
And there's a bleeding color: the warm glow on this plate kind of bleeds through
this, kind of bleaches this into a dark, dark reddish-orange that's quite a bit
more saturated. I want to make sure I get that kind of quality out of that.
Those are little bits just getting picked up by the reflected light coming from
down there, so now I can kind of fill in some of those little areas. And then, I
think I'm going to go back and reinforce some of the darks. There were a couple
little areas showing through the flowers, there, and I want to kind of close those
off and play with the shape just a little bit. Again, I'll kind of go back and forth
and find an edge, and push it back and forth and stuff. So, I'll kind of find the
shapes as I go and develop those areas and those shapes. Rather than try to do
a perfect drawing straight up and then try to stay within the lines, what I'll do
is I'll kind of paint through, and then paint back, and paint through again.
All right. Just to kind of push and pull some of these things, I've got some of the
blue pretty intense up in here. And it wants to come forward just a little bit.
It needs to neutralize a little bit â€“ it'll set it back a little, and then this needs
to get a little bit darker in here so that it will set back a little bit. I want to
go in and lose that just a little bit in that darker zone down there, so let
me do that. I'll bring it down to about this value. And I'll even lose a little
bit of the edge there, too.
I'll darken that up just a little bit. That'll help that read as a shadow.
There we go. I set the plate back just a little bit. And it does get some light
coming from our front lights here, so I'll put some of that in. And it's not
the yellow light; it's the light coming from the open area of the studio out
here, which is a bit of a flatter light that comes in like this. Same thing in
some of the areas here: it's coming in from that same area, so I want to make
sure that it hits the planes that are most in common or most parallel here and here.
I'll soften that up a little bit, and I'll go ahead and neutralize that blue on
the pitcher slightly. I'll bring that down just a little bit. There we go.
[paper towel ripping]
I can go in and draw on some of these little areas now, and kind of tighten up
the little areas on the little (figurine). A little sculpting, there.
[paper towel ripping]
Some of the areas on here are a little bit cooler; I can see planes that are kind of
illuminated by some of the studio in front, where I am. These planes are a
little bit cooler, whereas from the light source over here, it's going to be a little
bit warmer. So, I'll warm that up just a little bit there, too.
So, the planes that are turning towards the light source – I'm going to warm those
up just a little bit again. And down here, some areas that are getting really bright.
Highlights of the light source. And there's really... (doesn't finish sentence)
[paper towels ripping]
[bucket rustling, wiping, paintbrushes clinking, paper towel ripping]
Trying to get a little bit of the glare off of here. And I think a little bit of
medium and a little less thick paint will probably do it.
[paper towel ripping]
[paintbrush wiping, dipping in water] [paper towel ripping, wiping]
OK. In order to get things to sit correctly, I'm going to drop the value of some of
these. I'm getting a lot of glare on the plate, and I'm going to bring this back
down just a little bit more. The value on the plate. I'll bring it back down a little
bit and try to get the whole thing to hold together just a little bit better. My values
are a little off, so I'm going to fix those just a little bit.
There we go.
[paper towel ripping, wiping]
All right. I'm just going to bring a couple of these colors through these
areas in here. I'm just going to paint through, and then I'll go back and find
that again. Some of the other leaves and stuff like that that are deep in here, I'm
going to get them dark green in here. Darker than that.
[paper towel ripping; wiping continues]
All right, let me get a little bit more of this reflected light bouncing up into
this area, too – behind.
And I'm going to take some of this back, just a little bit farther back. So I'll push
that back a little. By darkening it, that's what I mean by pushing it back. Darken
that, knock it back into the shadows just a little bit. And I'll look to find
some of these greens of these little stems in light.
[gentle wiping, scraping]
[paintbrush wiping, dipping in water]
[paintbrush dipping in water]
OK, I'll lighten this way up and get some of the highlights back on this flower here.
A little bit darker – it's a little darker than the plate. Right in here.
[paper towel ripping]
OK. We've got a little bit more of a shift of a hue right here. A little bit more
violet than what I've got, and less saturated. More violet than less.
[paintbrush dipping in water]
[paper towel ripping]
Now, to kind of wrap this up, I'm going to just put in a little bit of some of the
folds in here, and then we'll finish the idea of this up.
I just want to get the interaction of color working in there. I could spend
a lot more time working on the actual drawing, but once I get my color areas
in there, my color relationships, working, then I can just focus on the drawing. I
know that might sound a little backwards – to deal with the color first and then the
drawing second, but I find that I do enjoy drawing with a brush. And if I draw a
tight drawing to being with, I tend to want to paint in between the lines, and
I'm not freed up to paint through the areas and look for the actual color
relationships; I'm just kind of focused too much on rendering form rather
than really building the color where it needs to be.
I see a little bit more reflection of that plate into the material. It's pretty
strong in some of these areas. As soft as it is, though – I'm not
making it that soft – but as soft as it is, it does reflect quite strongly in there.
I can soften some of these things, too. But again, that's in the drawing that I
can kind of mess with later.
There we go.
[paper towel ripping]
[paintbrush gently dipping]
[paper towel ripping]
[paintbrush dipping in water]
There we go. I think that's about all I'm going to do, just to get the point across
here for this harmonizing of complementary colors. I'm bringing some of this warm
yellow and stuff into the ground, the blue bottom down here. Because I see it
reflecting from the plate, right down in this area right in here. So there's a good
amount of it in there. But it does help lead your eye into the area. So you can
use your color as well as transitions and passages to move your eye around. When
I was initially doing the drawing, I was looking for things that would move my
eye around this area, and I'll continue to play with some of the shapes in order to
do that. You know, bring some of this down. If I went in to finish any of these areas,
what I may end up doing is look for things: if the handle sweeps down here, I know
there's also a pattern painted on. And this painted-on pattern can also be used to
bring my eye back down this way. Like that.
It has a little bit more magenta in it because I put it in the front there, too,
so I need to make sure it has that effect to it.
[paintbrush dipping in water]
So, I'm pushing the color in to help tie in with the whole rest of the warm-cool,
or the complementary scheme here. I say warm-cool because it's an orange and a
blue, but it's a complementary scheme that I'm working with here.
[wiping, light scraping]
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview40sNow playing...
1. Introduction to Colors13m 31sNow playing...
1. Colors & Relationships14m 48sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Working wheel the color wheel13m 5s
3. Colors, relationships & contrast13m 3s
4. Still life's & light contrast13m 57s
5. Still life's & light contrast (continued)6m 36s
6. Laying in your painting17m 16s
7. Dealing with high/dark contrast15m 0s
8. Dealing with high/dark contrast (continued)14m 57s
9. Continuing to work with light and shadow11m 22s
10. Continuing to work with light and shadow Part 214m 56s
11. Continuing to work with light and shadow Part 315m 2s
12. Working with bright color and heavy contrast14m 59s
13. Working with bright color and heavy contrast Part 214m 59s
14. Working with bright color and heavy contrast Part 314m 59s
15. Finalizing your painting14m 16s
16. Finalizing your painting Part 212m 44s