Color Fundamentals/Oil, 1.4


In this oil painting color study of parrot feathers (natural colors!) we’re going to practice what’s known as a rectangular tetrad: two sets of complementary colors that are spaced one step away from each other on the color wheel. In this case, that means blue + orange, violet + yellow.

Here you can see one of my students, Leia, with her painting in progress, and her mixed palette:


Here’s a close-up of what my feathers looked like. I sketch in oil what the local colors are that appear on each feather. Starting fairly lightly, I build up the composition and layers:





This painting study will be completed in one, three hour studio session. Complementary colors will layer with each other to create rich darker values and shadows. I will use a light version of yellow for the table top surface light (and neutralized with it’s complement violet) to show less of an intense color. You can see that here in Terry’s piece:


Tetrad are always a nice color harmony to choose because you have two built in complements to work with, and there will be a clear contrast with the two most contrasting hues: violet and yellow.

See you next time for the last installment of this Color Fundamentals/Oil Level 1 class. Happy painting!




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