Drawing With Color 2.2

Finding harmonies in nature is amazing, and once you become skilled at identifying what is available to the artist’s eye effortlessly, selecting which harmony to use becomes like second nature. While learning and practicing harmonies, it’s a good idea to go through the system and methods of the different varieties of hues (colors).

Today we’re going to work with a tetrad, which is a harmony that uses two sets of complementary colors. Two of the colors are only one “step” away from each other, and their complements are to be found on the opposite end of the color wheel. We are using orange, yellow-green, blue and red-violet. Orange and blue are complements, while yellow-green and red-violet are complements.

We will start with a grid shaped scale in colored pencil, layering colors together to change their values. Remember that colored pencils blend “optically” not by physically mixing, so that the new color that emerges when you layer can be seen as actually layers.


For still life we are using yellow-green applies and oranges for the dominant colors. The complementary red-violet and blue are used to deepen and darken values and edges. We placed everything on a reflective mirror to make the composition more interesting. Here are some students working on their’s in class:



And some notes on the board about the lesson:


Finally, a close-up of Connie’s drawing, she went back into the drawing to redefine edges and values towards the end:


I like how notes and the color scales are very close to the drawing to serve as mental and visual reminders during the process. Good work!


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