The Color of Happiness - Perspectives from The Artist's Road

The Color of Happiness

Perspectives from The Artist's Road

Banana, Grapefuit and Pepper Color Temperature Comparison in Oil Paint
Banana, Grapefruit, Pepper Temperature Exercise in Oil

   This week we studied "the color of happiness"—yellow, to explore some of the interesting color temperature mixes necessary to paint the three objects above. Because we work out of a limited split primary palette, our tubes of primary red, blue or yellow might not be the temperature that is needed at the moment. We needed, in this case, to cross-mix Cadmium Yellow Light with a bit of Cadmium Yellow Medium to get a good neutral-temperature yellow to begin with, in essence pre-mixing our initial primary yellow.

   One wouldn’t think that painting a banana presents any mixing challenges at all, but this just-ripe banana had five distinct temperature changes on it—from green-tinted yellow, to a yellow-tinted green, to a pure neutral yellow with white, a slightly warmer yellow which had some Cadmium Yellow Medium mixed in and finally, for the shadow, another green-yellow made from a bit of Ivory Black and Cadmium Yellow Light! Subtle, to be sure, but subtlety is what these lessons are all about.

   The grapefruit required a much different set of mixes leaning toward orange. Both Cadmium Yellows were used, along with Cadmium Red Light and Titanium White. To get the shadows, we had to mix in Yellow Ochre—an addition to our split primary palette, but one that is always useful when painting oranges and their cousins. Finally, a bit of Ivory Black was needed for the shadow effects.

   The pepper provided another opportunity to sharpen our color temperature senses, and while it, too, looks deceptively simple, the mixes actually ranged from oranges to yellow-greens to warm yellow and a pure bright neutral yellow, custom-made for the moment.

   Once one can discern temperature shifts in any given color, the fascinating world of painting from life is opened up to us and we can move ahead with confidence and success.
   Next week we will explore primary blue in some of its wonderful guises. Stay tuned!

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A Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes

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Filled with inspirational examples by the masters of nightime painting, this little book is sure to fire up your creative energies. Never tried painting at night? We show you how it's done with a step-by-step-oil demo and a tale of night painting in the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes is a 7 x 7" PDF download with 40 pages of text and images. It includes a gallery of paintings by masters of the nocturne, information to inspire and encourage you in your plein air nocturne painting, an illustrated step-by-step demo and tips for working in pastel and oil. Also available in a softcover edition. Check out the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels in The Artist's Road Store. We only offer things for sale that we enthusiastically believe in.







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Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
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