Sunday, October 9, 2011

Is It Blue or Is It Yellow

Many years ago I read a shocking book called Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green. Since every painter knows they do I was intrigued. It turned out to be one of the best books on color I've ever come across, it must be as years later it's still published, although I think the original cover was far more attractive.

I came across a statement lately that ties in with this book, so sorry can't remember where on the web I saw it, so if you know please leave a link in the comments.

Color choice is so hard for beginning painters, and for the more advanced and even expert is still challenging. As you learn to paint there are all kinds of formulas and methods, it can become very confusing. So I like this little aid, because it's so simple.... here it is in my words and how it applies to seascapes.

The premise is painter only needs to ask 2 questions about color in the landscape. Is it blue or is it yellow? Red is either a blue red, like alizarin, or a yellow red like cadmium, so you don't have to think about that.

When I look out across the view of my latest paintings, from No. Salmon Creek Beach at sunset......

You can see the choices I made, the very late light this time of year, makes the thicker water in the waves a kind of green blue, and where the water is thinner it becomes shades of yellow.  Yellow also is the color of the reflections from the sky and sun. In landscapes,  the distant land will be in blue ranges, some of it warmed with yellow earth tones, like bt, quin orange, or bt. siennas, but still toned by blues.  Next time you're outside painting or even just looking, scan your view and see how it looks to you if you are just seeing the parts,  is it blue family or is it yellow family. It does make things easier to decide, and changes the old is it warm or is it cool mind set, a cool yellow and a warm blue are possible after all.

Enjoy the view!

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