Color Schemes

The last couple of weeks in our online classes we've be studying color schemes. Using color combinations from the color wheel to achieve harmony, mood, feeling and other artsy sounding stuff. As an exercise it helps us to get out of our color comfort zone, the sky isn't always blue and grass isn't always green. We also become more familiar with the colors on our palette, mixing colors combinations we haven't thought about using.

The main reason I ewould recomend it is it keeps us from copying color, especially from photographic reference. The color in photos are boring at best and can be very high key and chalky or too opaque and black. Color schemes help us to mix identifiable colors that suggest light and atmosphere and to focus on the value of the color, which is more important, since were locked into a certain set of colors.

Below is a color sketch I did using yellow orange, violet and blue. This is a split complimentary scheme where I'm starting with yellow orange then use the 2 colors on either side of its compliment, blue and violet.  Also below  is the photograph that I used, it's rather boring color wise but with a certain set of colors I can create a different feel then  what the photo gives me.

IMG_5209 (2)  color schemefb

I have to decide which color will predominate when I mix a color and focus on getting the right value. The sketch is small (5x7 or close to it) and simple. I focus on the large planes, working out color combinations, about a half an hour. Remember these are studies or exercises, not finished pieces, to get you out of your comfort zone.

yo,b v1

Below is a picture of the palette. I mixed the 3 colors in the color scheme and then mixed some value changes for each color.


This is a painting I did from a reference near Santa Barbra, CA. In this painting I'm using a split complimentary shceme of red violet, blue violet and yellow.

santa barb fb

Its a good exercise to learn what the colors on your palette can do, and it does create a desired mood to the painting. Edgar Paynes'  book on composition is a good source for understanding color schemes and to think more about the colors you want to use instead of copying what you see.

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