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impressionist2
03-25-2002, 07:19 AM
I have an affinity for using a green/red complimentary theme and all it's variations and greys for my portrait work. Point being, the use of compliments beautifies and unifies the painting. My question is, which comlimentary scheme do you prefer, find yourself working in, etc.? I notice some are more likely to use blue/orange, while not too many use Purple(violet)/yellow.

Also, do you mix them? In other words if you have a nice green/red theme going, would you start a subsidiary group of blue/orange somewhere else in the painting? That one always puzzles me. Or would you let your blues morph into a blue/green to stay with the original color scheme? Isn't the "Afternoon in the Park" by Seurat many complimentary combos?

Renee


http://www.artchive.com/artchive/S/seurat/jatte.jpg.html

LarrySeiler
03-25-2002, 08:22 AM
I use what is best at the time that I need it. I would wager such analysis of my tendencies would better come from others, as I try to clear my mind from any possible prejudices before I begin responding in paint.

When you said not many work in yellow and purples, my inclination was to go, "Hhhhmmmmm....." as the drama I sense at the times of the day I tend to paint invite such extremes of warm and cold. Makes me want to go back now and look at some of my work.

I know that systematically speaking....thinking of such terms helps set the way for a unifying factor compositionally and design wise. My inclination is to trust what nature is doing at the time, because as concerns light....an already unifying existing atmospheric influence is at play.

This is an interesting proposition, because I enjoy teaching such concepts and analyzing other artist's works...but believing I am learning and nature is revealing things to me- I'm somewhat leary of my own self's tendencies as to what might happen if I figure out everything I'm doing.

I just might try to understand why, and then fear bias might stop learning still more; might interfere with my receptors! Strange...or make sense? In other words, I'm having fun...why mess with that! When the work no longer seems to be working, then I'll have a real go at myself!! (part of me is saying, "OH brother...that's just great!") hahahaha..... -Larry

bruin70
03-25-2002, 09:02 PM
red/green is not as harsh as the other combinations,,,,,easier to control.

if you're tentative about other colors to use with your red/green, try this,,,,,,a SECONDARY RED/GREEN scheme. ie,,,,,,,rose/viridian, or vermillion/thalo, or indian red/green umber.

your red/green would pop very nicely next to a rose/viridian.....{M}

impressionist2
03-25-2002, 09:11 PM
Larry wrote: "I just might try to understand why, and then fear bias might stop learning still
more; might interfere with my receptors! Strange...or make sense? In other
words, I'm having fun...why mess with that! When the work no longer seems
to be working, then I'll have a real go at myself!! (part of me is saying, "OH
brother...that's just great!") hahahaha..... -Larry"


Larry, That was good. I had a laugh over this. But, but, but.....at some point in the past you had to have learned about complimentaries, right? About warms and cools, and now you are doing very well, winging it, but Based on what you already knew.

So, okay, it's perhaps difficult for you to break it down, since it sounds intuitive for you now. Gee, I hope everyone doesn't do this! Or this thread will end quickly. :rolleyes:

I was going to say Vermeer used the yellow/purple compliments but that may not be true. Didn't he use mostly browns ( the old master's palette) with the yellows and gold, or perhaps there's violet and purples mixed into those shadows.

"Oh bother" as Pooh said.

Renee

JeffG
03-25-2002, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by impressionist2

I was going to say Vermeer used the yellow/purple compliments but that may not be true. Didn't he use mostly browns ( the old master's palette) with the yellows and gold, or perhaps there's violet and purples mixed into those shadows.


When I think of Vermeer, I immediately think of gold-yellows with the blues... and add whites and touches of warm reds (rugs) and peach (from flesh). Not in all of his works, of course, but its what comes to mind for me.

I do know what you mean by gravitating towards a set of 2 colors, not by pre-planning, just by what one instinctively is drawn to.

I must get myself to the Barnes foundation museum in Philadelphia soon. Barnes arranged the paintings not by period, not by artist, not by theme, and not even by movement. He grouped works together by design exploration and color considerations... I remember a room that was specifically about purple and yellow.

impressionist2
03-26-2002, 07:04 AM
Milt wrote: "red/green is not as harsh as the other combinations,,,,,easier to control.

if you're tentative about other colors to use with your red/green, try this,,,,,,a
SECONDARY RED/GREEN scheme. ie,,,,,,,rose/viridian, or vermillion/thalo, or
indian red/green umber.

your red/green would pop very nicely next to a rose/viridian.....{M}"


Milt, I agree with this. Why is it true that it is easier for me to use the red/green combo as opposed to the blue/orange? Are more variations possible with red/green? Is that why? I feel limited with blue/orange. As if I can't think of other ways to make it more varied. Plus, skintones look so much more real with red/green, mixed with all the greys and variations.

Thanks for the rose/viridian suggestion. I tend to get single-minded when I settle in with my thalo/aliz. and COG/burnt sienna and terre verde/cad red ( I picked that up after you mentioned earth greens in another post. Is terre verde the one you use or is there a better earth green?)

Also, I Love mars violet ever since buying it after you posted that, recommending it. There was only one tube of MV left at Pearl by Daler Rowney. I bought it. Does OH make that? They didn't have it in the day I was there. What else is new at Pearl?

I will try the rose/viridian combo. For some reason I shy away from viridian. I mean if thalo gr. doesn't intimidate me, then why should viridian?

Are you absolutely sure you aren't going to be teaching in NY? ( Say, Milt, can you recommend a great teacher in figurative work still teaching in the NY area?)


Jeff, You wrote: "I must get myself to the Barnes foundation museum in Philadelphia soon.
Barnes arranged the paintings not by period, not by artist, not by theme, and
not even by movement. He grouped works together by design exploration and
color considerations... I remember a room that was specifically about purple
and yellow."

Wow! That sounds fantastic! I love that idea. Someone ( an artist probably) had their thinking cap on when they designed that. That's really worth a visit. Can you give us a report after you see it, please?

Renee

LarrySeiler
03-26-2002, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by impressionist2

Larry, That was good. I had a laugh over this. But, but, but.....at some point in the past you had to have learned about complimentaries, right? About warms and cools, and now you are doing very well, winging it, but Based on what you already knew.
Renee

Oh...of course...yes, and I teach it everyday practically. But, when a shrink needs to see a shrink, to whom shall he go? Does the shrink let the toying and tinkering go along without anticipating where this guy is taking it? My problem is not making use of information, but shutting off voices of over kill. My mind is a scary place to be, but don't laugh some are living right next door! haa hahaha...

I feel not everyone is at a place where they should be intuitive. I think intuition works best when long ago analyzed and routine information lay deep below the surface and needs not to be thought about to be brought up. Its important to focus on the skills to balance and pedal when first learning to ride a bike, and to one's peril if they do not. After many years, one is cruising down the streets and sidewalks, up and down insane hills, delivering pizza without a thought to balance. If they thought about it, they might fall as a matter of fact. They develop instincts that comes only by mastering particular skills.

Ever watch hockey players do nutty moves on ice skates? Talk to them, and they are not thinking about skating...but focus is on the puck. On the other hand...get them out there on the ice to recreate a move when the action is not happening, and they are likely to fall!

So...all I'm acknowledging is that I somewhat fear analyzing myself at the moment because its all coming together for me at the time I need it. But, I sure like heck am able to figure out what y'alls are doing!!!! hahahah....!!!!

When I do feel I'm having a problem though, understand that I give myself intense scrutiny and analysis, and prepare to make alterations. No one rips into me more than myself at such times...and no one is more prepared to put the time in as well as anything else that's needed for me than myself.

This is good stuff though...
For those setting goals or learning, it might be good to know that eventually you might end up with everything coming together for you...and that painting is a time where you step back inside yourself from interfering with yourself and let go. Let all that learning and experience take over, because its happening faster than you know how to control it.

Larry

LarrySeiler
03-26-2002, 10:55 AM
Originally posted by impressionist2
Milt wrote: "red/green is not as harsh as the other combinations,,,,,easier to control.
your red/green would pop very nicely next to a rose/viridian.....{M}"

I will try the rose/viridian combo. For some reason I shy away from viridian. I mean if thalo gr. doesn't intimidate me, then why should viridian?

Renee

I added Viridian last year to my palette, mostly because I simply could not find a yellow and a blue combination to imitate some of the greens I was seeing in the waters of Lake Superior. Now, I like it so much that Alizarin or Rose Madder with Viridian is one of my favorite mixes in my darks. A bit of white, some Phtalo blue, and Viridian make some of the nicest sky colors.

Larry

bruin70
03-26-2002, 05:55 PM
Originally posted by impressionist2



Milt, I agree with this. Why is it true that it is easier for me to use the red/green combo as opposed to the blue/orange? Are more variations possible with red/green? Is that why? I feel limited with blue/orange. As if I can't think of other ways to make it more varied. Plus, skintones look so much more real with red/green, mixed with all the greys and variations.

red/green are closer in value, so your value range is tight. it is also more agreeable/warmer than other combos. r/g is, as you implied. a natural for skin tones.

Thanks for the rose/viridian suggestion. I tend to get single-minded when I settle in with my thalo/aliz. and COG/burnt sienna and terre verde/cad red ( I picked that up after you mentioned earth greens in another post. Is terre verde the one you use or is there a better earth green?)

any variation of red or green. since my palette is greyed, i prefer off greens. try the bloxx greens.

Also, I Love mars violet ever since buying it after you posted that, recommending it. There was only one tube of MV left at Pearl by Daler Rowney. I bought it. Does OH make that? They didn't have it in the day I was there. What else is new at Pearl?

try bloxx MV. williamsburg MV is the same as bloxx.

I will try the rose/viridian combo. For some reason I shy away from viridian. I mean if thalo gr. doesn't intimidate me, then why should viridian?

Are you absolutely sure you aren't going to be teaching in NY? ( Say, Milt, can you recommend a great teacher in figurative work still teaching in the NY area?)

where do you feel you are,,, what do you feel you want to learn? since i find it tiresome to navigate this site at times,,,,just email me some jpg's and i'll offer advise.


Renee

impressionist2
03-27-2002, 12:24 AM
Milt wrote: "where do you feel you are,,, what do you feel you want to
learn? since i find it tiresome to navigate this site at
times,,,,just email me some jpg's and i'll offer advise. "

Milt, Yowsa!!! How generous and I will definetly take you up on this. In fact a jpeg will be arriving soon! Thanks so much.

Where I am at is, I need a good advanced teacher to help me push myself to the next level.

I need sophisticated color now, the refinement of it and a nudge when the composition is drifting or just needs a punchup here and there. Someone more advanced than me to say "if you do this, or try this, some magic will happen".

Thanks again.

Renee

bruin70
03-27-2002, 02:01 PM
go to the met and the frick.

how do you look at paintings? tell me exactly.

Einion
03-27-2002, 07:52 PM
I'm glad Milt mentioned about the values of reds and greens often being closer this is why they are easier to control in the normal course of events - ideal complements have the right hue and the same value. Greens and reds being available in a range of values, they can be paired up for best results, so while Chromium Oxide Green with crimsons doesn't make a good pair, mixed with Cadmium Red Medium it works very well, even though the hue is not quite right.

The blue/orange combo can be difficult but not if you choose them with the right values, hence why Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna work so well together, ditto with Burnt Umber and a number of dark blues.

Violet/yellow is very tricky in practice because of the value difference between typical examples but simply mix white into the violets to match values and you'll be amazed at how much more successful that pair can be.


Renee, if you have the blue shade of phthalo green you don't need Viridian, they are quite similar and the phthalo is much more versatile anyway.

As for Vermeer, I don't think he used complementary schemes as a major theme in his work, take one of my favourites, <A HREF=http://www.artrenewal.org/images/artists/v/Vermeer_Johannes/large/The_Glass_of_Wine.jpg>The Glass Of Wine</A> for example. If you look at his work I think it's obvious he was much more interested in value as the fundamental design element. Even apart from the underlying colour theory which was likely not appreciated in his day, one must remember there was a fairly limited palette available so violet/yellow was next to impossible to explore. By the same token the number of apparent blue/orange counterpoints in surviving works, despite their clean condition and good repair, are likely not quite as when originally painted so we have to be careful in our assessment of his use of colour relationships.

Einion

impressionist2
03-27-2002, 09:26 PM
Milt wrote: "go to the met and the frick.

how do you look at paintings? tell me exactly."


Milt, Even your questions make me think!

I have never been to the Frick- next trip in I will get there.

I used to just hop the train so many times over the past years by myself ( art friends kind of slow me down when I am there to study, even though they are fun ) and spend the day at the Met. Haven't been in since September, except for the Christmas holidays. Time to start going in again.

I always visited the impressionist wing ( Degas, Monet, Seurat, all the rest) , the American wing ( Sargent, Homer). I get as close as I can to the paintings without setting off the guards. I stare at the brushstrokes which totally fascinates me. I examine the colors and try to figure out what they are and how the artist did that. This year my focus turned to composition, so my next visit will be concentrating on the composition of the paintings as well.

I try to memorize how it seems to me the artist painted the colors I see, how he swirled the strokes and when I get home, I try to replicate what I saw.

Am I going about this correctly? What else can I do to make my visits there worthwhile?



Einion,

I am always happy to see your post because I know I am about to learn something new.

I always used COG with burnt sienna.It makes a gorgeous background. I will try the BS with cobalt blue. Also, will try the COG with red medium. People have to buy books to get this kind of information!

Renee

Scott Methvin
03-29-2002, 12:31 PM
I use thalo blue (cyan) and brown-orange. The blue is for everything sunlight does not touch. This is a great way to start a painting. Violet and yellow is a bit trickier, but works well also. Green and red are the best way to do flesh. I alway have all three combinations going throughout most paintings.

I think using the compliment pairs effectively, is the key to all good full color painting.

(BTW, Norman Rockwell was very fond of Mars violet. It was his primary underpainting color. He liked how fast it dried and the way it complimneted his flesh tones.)

bruin70
03-29-2002, 04:24 PM
there is no correct way, impy. i just wanted to know what you did.

try this. when you see a painting you like,,,,just imagine yourself in the artist's place , painting the exact scene but in your style. and now ask your yourself,,," what did the artist do that i would have done differently? is his way better and why? make these comparisons on every aspect of the painting down to the brushwork,,,,,BUT ESPECIALLY how the artist broke down his values and why was it better than yours?

so instead of copying a painting, which isn't necessarilly a good learning tool unless you use it properly, take note of the differences in approach. this forces you to understand yourself as well as the artist you admire because you are using a barometer(each other) by which to analyze both. and the barometer is one that you understand,,,,ie YOU and what your eyes see,,,HIM. always trust your eyes(at least, in cases like this),,,,,,,or me ;).....{M}

Geoff
03-29-2002, 04:30 PM
I'm finding this thread interesting - but feel it could be a little more useful if some examples were posted ???
Certainly a red/green scheme ought to be easier to handle due to the similar values, but surely it's back to the old chestnut of getting the values right and it doesnt (??) matter ( within reason ) what the colours are - except where a contrast scheme is desired.

impressionist2
03-29-2002, 08:42 PM
Scott wrote: "(BTW, Norman Rockwell was very fond of Mars violet. It was his primary
underpainting color. He liked how fast it dried and the way it complimneted his
flesh tones.)"


Scott, We visited Rockwell's museum last fall in Mass. and it was the first time I had seen his originals. I was amazed at the red/green in his skintones. Everyone of them had that combo, and were beautifully painted. Interesting that he used mars violet, which I have grown to appreciate and use most of the time.










bruin70 wrote:



"try this. when you see a painting you like,,,,just imagine yourself in the artist's
place , painting the exact scene but in your style. and now ask your
yourself,,," what did the artist do that i would have done differently? is his
way better and why? make these comparisons on every aspect of the painting
down to the brushwork,,,,,BUT ESPECIALLY how the artist broke down his
values and why was it better than yours?

so instead of copying a painting, which isn't necessarilly a good learning tool
unless you use it properly, take note of the differences in approach. this
forces you to understand yourself as well as the artist you admire because you
are using a barometer(each other) by which to analyze both. and the
barometer is one that you understand,,,,ie YOU and what your eyes see,,,HIM.
always trust your eyes(at least, in cases like this),,,,,,,or me .....{M}"



Milt, Up till now all I have done is stand in awe. To actually compare what method I would use to the artist in front of me is a whole new way of looking at it.

Okay, next time in, that's what I'll do. I'll try to forget the fact that his painting is hanging in the Met!! It's a challenging concept and a different way of seeing things.

Renee

impressionist2
03-29-2002, 09:04 PM
Geoff wrote: "I'm finding this thread interesting - but feel it could be a little more useful if
some examples were posted ???

it doesnt (??) matter ( within reason ) what the colours are - except where a
contrast scheme is desired."

Geoff, That's right that it doesn't matter. Certainly no combo is better than another. I am just personally saying that I find blue/orange a difficult one to paint and red/green works great for me.

Renee

Well, perhaps others can find better examples than these, but here goes:


Blue/orange- Ken Auster. Looks like a simple painting, right? It's more complicated than it looks.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Mar-2002/AusterShow2001-Sourdough-11x13_small.jpg

Red/Green Leonard Wren. Now, Leonard is a true impressionist, so other combos are also present.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Mar-2002/wren-aboveVillage.jpg


Red/green My own "Flowergirl" portrait. Her skin is all red/green variations and that "black" background is aliz. crimson/thalo green.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Mar-2002/Flowergirl11.jpg

Geoff
03-29-2002, 10:26 PM
Thanks for the examples. I can see there are more subleties in the colour scheme in the blue/orange. It is almost difficult to see whether it is a cool or a warm painting!! Though probably one side is warm where the sun is shining in, contrasting with the blue shadows.

The red/green landscape works beacuse the colours are natural in this context.
I find it difficult, though, to see ( to see ) the red/green combinations in the flowergirl. I assume its because the green is probably underpainting which makes the red overpainting more neutral ??

impressionist2
03-30-2002, 09:25 PM
Geoff, No. Actually the red and green is mixed directly and titanium white, YO and cad. yellow is mixed into the mixture( as well as lots of other colors)depending on whether the sun is hitting that side of the face or it's in shadow. At some points cad. red and thalo green light is the base. I paint on white canvases, never tone them. Once the cad. yellow and white get's in there on the sunny side it takes on an orange tone but it started as red/green.

Auster and all good warm/cool painters who master it, are proficient with their greys. They know how to "pop" the sunlit subjects. The excellence of the greys and the correct values are what causes that pure warm to stand out.

Renee

Scott Methvin
03-30-2002, 09:39 PM
Nice job Impy.
Can I call you Impy?
I think it's cute:)

Nice combination of flora, and figure!

impressionist2
04-07-2002, 02:17 PM
Scott, Hi. We just got back from vacation.

Yes, "Impy" is fine. I am not going to fight the trend. :D Milt started calling me that name a while back, y'know.

I did some plein air work while we were away, but it didn't dry enough to bring home, so now my brother has a new painting!

Renee