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Explore Warm Colors

Posted by Neadeen Masters, CDA on 8th Jun 2016

Warm Colors - Not Just Orange Hues!

When we think of fall colors some of us automatically think of the popular analogous colors that sit side by side on the warm side of the color wheel, at least I do. However not everyone likes to paint with hot orange or bright yellow hues. If we know how to work with certain pigments, we can still create beautiful seasonal compositions using just hints of fall colors for BIG creative impact.

Here’s an example that Mother Nature gives us, just look at the colors in these two graphics. These leaves are accented with colors from the cool side of the color wheel. Yes Orange hues are there, but they can play a secondary role if we inject complements and temperature contrasts.

It is clear to see the red violet adds a wonderful color shift that makes the overall color scheme pop with excitement.

How Do I do This?

When choosing to to go this route, consider down playing the orange hues, by adjusting their intensity and value contrasts. That is...tone them down.

  • Observation: Look at the green hues seen in the background...notice anything about them? Overall they are warm, dull and add good color contrast to the red violet accents.
  • Note: If you use red violet or cool reds look for the specific complement or to the broader spectrum on the opposite side of the wheel when selecting your green background hues. This is important because you want the red violet to stand out.

What Pigments could I use?

Red Violet can be bought in semi-transparent and transparent forms. Each manufacturer will have their own preferences and there are lots to choose from. Making your selection depends on the particular technique you will use. Will you use a wet in wet painting technique or a layering technique. Your painting method will dictate your choice of opacity, for glazing or coverage.

Red Violet Mixed - In a pinch we can experiment with the colors we have - Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue, or Dioxazine purple will all make red violet hues. Obviously not as clear as the pure pigments, but fun to work with.

To learn more about color theory - check out the many color theory online classes offered at the Art Apprentice Online...

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