Introduction to Oil # 1: Complementary Blue and Orange

monet ob

Monet often utilized orange and blue.

Our grid example demonstrates the mixing potential of cadmium orange and ultramarine blue (considered blue-violet)  similar to the above painting.


Later, try changing the blue for different mixed neutrals.

See plus cerulean blue.  Degas used a greener blue, like cerulean, plus orange, for this painting.

introgrid1 degas ogb

We keep it simple with one subject in a still-life set up. Bones often have warm orange and cool blue coloration.



We choose Cadmium orange and Ultramarine blue for our class exercise.  Mix the two to produce neutrals, then add white to progressively lighten them.


Lay in the background first. Mix in medium, neo-megilp, in this first fast layer.  Use cooled darks for background and warm tints and tones for foreground to create depth. Place darks first.intro4

Build up darks and mid-tones in warm and cool neutralized complements. Use big brushes at first for simple shapes. Enliven the  painting with bold, energetic gestural strokes.  Use more controlled strokes as you proceed.


Place lighter tints.  Highlights here are cool. Reflected light is warm.



Why “Fat over Lean”?

As you build up the surface, layering paint, mix less medium into the paint so it will sit on top of under-layers. Thicker paint will spread over thinned paint without mixing.

Use the brush shapes; flat and round, to describe the differing forms of the subject.


 You can use both grids in one painting. Here Monet uses both blue-violet and blue-green mixed with orange.

monet duo2


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