Class notes – Acrylics 3/26/2009

color study demo, 14x14" acrylic on canvas

color study demo, 14x14" acrylic on canvas

Concepts presented:

  • still life set up consisting of primary colored objects, plus some  glassware for variety
  • using a limited palette (ultramarine, cadmium yellow, yellow oxide, cadmium red, burnt umber + titanium white) I’ve mixed all the complementary colors as needed from these 6 colors
  • although the primary color scheme predominates in this composition, there is a lot of complementary color variation in the shadows, highlights and reflections
  • look carefully at whatever you are painting to find the colors that are not always obivously apparent–for example, we know the blue coffee pot is blue, but there are reflections on it that have hints of violet, red, yellow ochre and burnt umber
  • I introduced a subtle green in the background to play up the vibrancy of the reds (green is the complement of red)
  • the yellow vase and lemon are a very strong cadmium yellow with violet toned shadows
  • this is a good exercise to do regardless of your experience level with color mixing, but particularly important if you are a beginner
  • looking for hidden colors in actual set ups is far more interesting and informative than simply mixing up colors to make a color chart
  • the more you force yourself to mix colors with a limited palette, the better acquainted you will become with color behavior and harmony

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