Introduction to Oil Painting #7: Low Key Limited Palette

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Color perception is limited in low light conditions.

We work with just two colors in a complementary orientation on the color wheel.

I see a warm green, a yellow-green.

The complement of yellow-green is red-violet.

Sap green and dioxazine violet produce a true grayed neutral.

Other combos which produce grayed neutrals include:

Permanent Green Light-Cobalt Violet, Quinacridone Violet

Viridian Green, Phthalo Green-Alzarin, Quinacridone Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, Permanent Rose

cp271Make a grid to see relationships.

sap and dioxazine

Make a drawing. Note shifts in values; relative lights and darks.cp273Cover the picture plane with dominant values. In this case the dark side of the value scale.

cp274Add color notes. Don’t worry about fine tuning or accuracy yet. Pay attention to relative value shifts. Add color with the appropriate value in mind.cp275Pay close attention to shifts in temperature or advancing/receding aspect of the hue to determine where in space; fore, middle or background, it belongs. When values are close together, use shift in temperature to distinguish shapes. Complements are opposite in temperature.

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