Color Fundamentals/Pastel, 1.3

In this lesson we are going to use what’s known as a “split-complementary” harmony. A dominant color is selected (a prominent color in the still life): in this case yellow-green (the color of our succulent still-life subject). The two split complements are included in the harmony (the two colors located on either side of yellow-green’s complement: in this case red, and violet).

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(Red and violet are on either side of red-violet, which is the direct complement of yellow-green). We’re including some grays, and white. We also choose a couple of tints and tones of the colors in the harmony – the easier to create immediate lights and darks. Let’s start by making a tonal gray scale warm-up drawing, after studying the still-life that has a strong light source on it.

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Then we’ll sketch a quick contour line drawing, block in lights, darks, and middle values.

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Now our eyes are sensitized to color as value interpreted, so we’ll go for the same evaluation in color this time:

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We use a soft, cool gray for the deep background space. Now some of my students’ work in class.

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A students work above during class. I like the variety of points of view on the same still life. Good mixing values and colors. Below, some homework drawings of a split complementary color harmony but with a different dominant color, and therefore different split complements:

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Good work, everyone!


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