Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Papa, Mama, baby

Color and the composition Balance Formula (1,2,3 or Papa, Mama, baby, or mostly, some and a bit you choose how you can best remember)

Color IS part of composition and especially in the landscape. One sure way to make a boring painting is to use your colors equally dispersed throughout your painting. As an example, if you use equal quantities of warm and cool colors there will be no dominance and no variety making your painting uninteresting.

You can study color theory and try to apply what you know but above all if you can remember to check your color balance then your chances of making a successful painting will be greater. Try this 1,2,3 formula checklist:

1. Does your painting colors lean more to cool, warm or an equal mix of color? If your painting leans more to cool, then you need to consider where you will use some warmer colors to give the painting zip. Or, if you painting shows mostly warm colors you need to consider where you could use some cool colors. A good rule is to use the 1 part, 2 part, three part formula to keep the painting from being boring.
2. Does your painting have mostly dark, mostly light or an equal mix? Again, use the 1 part, 2 part, 3 part formula to keep the painting interesting.
3. Does your painting carry mostly pure colors, tints, shades or tones? Would your painting benefit from the using the 1 part, 2 part, three part formula in this regard?
4. Have you placed some color in your painting that contrasts with the main color balance in your painting but still with consideration to the balance formula? (Think red-green, yellow-purple, blue-orange.)
5. Are all your colors distributed equally or would your painting benefit from thinking 1 part, 2 part, three part?
6. Does your painting show color value ranges, temperature, intensity, various color planes, color textures and color shapes.

Color notes

Color notes



Review what Complementary colors are


Things to remember

1. Remember how our eye sees when looking through air. Value differences decrease with distance: the lights get darker and the darks get lighter. Values get closer together. You will not use pure white or pure black in distant areas of your painting.

2. All things have a basic color. This color (hue) does not change. We can only alter the basic color of objects. If we want to paint a red apple, then we will use variations of the red color. In other words, we will use red as our mother color and just add other colors to it to make variations we see in the apple which help us make the apple have volume instead of laying flat on the paper.

3. It helps to remember to use three values for our darks and three for our lights.

4. Colors in the light sides of objects are painted using warm colors.

5. Colors in the distant side of objects are painted with cool colors, but note that distant objects with light sides are painted with warms, but have cools mixed in too. The exception can be the light side of clouds. For clouds in the sun, you begin with ice cold white, tined with warms such as orange, cad red or cad yellow.

6. Colors in the dark side of objects are painted using cool colors.

When in doubt about a shadow color, use FUB.

&. Shadows are lighter as they move away from the object making the shadow.

Warm colors (light sides)

Cad Yellow Medium

Cadmium Orange (high value)

Burnt Sienna (Dark Value Orange)

Cadmium Red

Sap Green

Thalo Blue

Cool Colors (Dark sides)

Lemon yellow (Hansa yellow/Azo yellow or Yellow ochre

Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber mixed with yellow Ochre

Burnt Umber

Alizarin Crimson

Thalo Green

Ultramarine Blue