Introduction to Oil Painting #3: Analogous Color


Choose objects with a range of analogous hues.

We are working with an analogous palette: Colors next to each other on the wheel. Set up the palette in a straightforward way. On the left;  red-orange, orange and yellow-orange (same sequence as the color wheel). On the far right see complements. In this exercise complements are used to dull and darken analogous hues. No black.


Complementary tube colors shown above are:

  • Cadmium Red Light-Cerulean Blue
  • Cadmium Orange-Ultramarine Blue
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium-Ultramarine Violet

Mixing these tube colors will yield a neutralized tone which will appear independent from the 2 hues used to create it. In your painting you can play saturated color off of neutrals for greater effect.


Don’t forget the importance of value:

  • tint (white plus pure tube hue)
  • mid neutral tone (hue plus complement with a touch of white added). *In this example the mid values are not total neutrals and need to be cooled down a little more with the complement.
  • shade (hue plus complement)

Eyeball it until you see the neutral. This is not as simple as it sounds!

Keep a record of the palette-make a grid:  Fine tune it as you go-the more you look for color, the more color you’ll see.



As far as wet on wet or “alla prima” technique goes: Best to do most of your thinking when composing the picture and mixing paint. As we say in the biz, “don’t think with the paintbrush”. You can mix anything on the palette before putting in on the canvas.


  • Be thoughtful and deliberate in your strokes. As in drawing, follow the form with the stroke.
  • Analyze the light, then place colored values on the canvas where they fit best.
  • Use appropriately sized brushes: Big for large areas, small for fine detail.
  • Slow down.
  • Try not to “blend” until all areas are accounted for. IMG_0785

For homework try a different analogous harmony.

Additional complementary tube colors are:

  • Alizarin Crimson-Viridian Green
  • Cadmium Red Medium-Phthalo Turquoise
  • Cadmium Red-Orange/Pyrrole Orange-Phthalo Blue
  • Cobalt Blue-Napthol Orange
  • Sap Green-Dioxazine Violet
  • Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber-Ultramarine Blue
  • Burnt Umber-Phthalo Blue
  • Permanant Green Light-Quinacridone Violet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s