I’ve been doing color and oil painting studies today from a new, terrific and appropriately named book: “The Oil Painting Course You’ve Always Wanted” by Kathleen Lochen Staiger. Unlike all the other oil painting books I’d found that had ugly paintings and sloppy instructions, this new book breaks it down from the most basic level to advanced in a logical and systematic way. Incorporated throughout is excellent information on drawing, values and color theory, and how they apply in the real world to making art with any medium. I thought I knew a fair amount about these things, but I’m amazed how much I learned today. I’m excited about working through the entire book.
I explain the purpose of the exercises below each. My apologies if it’s all boring.
(To enlarge images, click on them and select “All Sizes”)
(Above) Making greyed (neutralized) versions of colors without changing their value by mixing in the complimentary* (explanation below) color which has first been adjusted to the same value as the original.
(Above) Top half: Mixing blacks and greys by combining dark complimentary* colors (a mixed black will be richer and more interesting than a black straight out of the tube).
Bottom half: Mixing shadow colors by first darkening the color and then adding it’s compliment* which has been matched to the same value (on the right of each swatch).
(Above) Darkening colors by adding a darker pigment of the same hue (adding Burnt Sienna to darken orange; Yellow Ochre to darken yellow)
(Below) Experimenting with various brush techniques.
*Complimentary Colors: Complimentary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel and any two complimentary colors will contain all three primaries. Red, yellow and blue are the three primary colors. For example, orange is mixed from the primary colors red and yellow so orange’s compliment (the primary missing to complete the triad) is blue (red+yellow+blue=all 3 primary colors) which is found opposite orange on the color wheel. Green is mixed from yellow and blue so its compliment is red. Violet is made of red and blue so it’s compliment is yellow. Since pairs of complimentary colors contain all three primaries, mixing them together results in a grey color.