Tetrads and other schemes

 

             Tetradic color schemes have a rectangular or quadratic relationship amongst the chosen colors. These schemes are quite lavish for now you have four colors to play around with but a little care must be taken in design to unite all of them together into a harmonious whole.

 

                  The split complementary tetrad (white and red rectangles in the above wheel form two examples) consists of two colors one space apart from each other and both their complements. In the white rectangle, the complements of red and orange are green and blue, so the scheme consists of red, orange, green and blue. These two pairs lie, naturally, on opposite sides of the wheel, one pair being warm and the other cool. Make one, either the warm or cool pair more dominant than the other. This can be done by using more of  one in terms of area but also in other ways…. e.g pure, strident hues (they stand out) against subdued or grayed colors or using hue or value contrast. 

               The adjacent complementary (yellow rectangle in the wheel above) tetrad consists of two adjacent colors along with their complements. This gives the most harmonious results amongst the three tetradic schemes because of the colors lying next to each other but still gives some movement  (some zing!) as compared to the analogous scheme because it includes colors lying on the opposite side of the wheel.  In this painting “whispers”, I`ve used red, red-violet, green and yellow-green (though the red is a cool red, schminke magenta).

 

                  The square tetrad or the cross complementary tetrad (the small violet square in the color wheel) consists of four colors equidistant on the color wheel, each spaced two colors apart from each other. Again, these are two pairs of complements. This forms the most striking and dynamic of all schemes as the colors are, so to say, thrown as far apart as possible from each other. In this example, I`ve used red-orange, yellow, blue-green and violet.

 

               Apart from these there are other color schemes like

Monochromatic scheme – This scheme uses only one hue in its different values i.e. in all its tints, tones and shades.

Achromatic  scheme – An example would be artwork done in graphite. It is called achromatic because it is not in color. Adding slight hints of colors gives some variations to this theme.

Neutral scheme – consists of neutral or near neutral hues like browns, beiges, grays..

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Triads

 

         A triadic color scheme consists of three colors having a triangular relationship on the color wheel.

 

              The basic triads are the primary, secondary and tertiary triads. They are evenly spaced around the wheel 3 colors apart from each other. The primary triad (violet triangle in the above photo) consists of red, yellow and blue; this along with the secondary triad (in their high chromas) is a favourite for children`s books, toys and rooms. It is a happy and colorful theme. A white background or white walls help bring these various, saturated colors together so that they donot clash. 

 

                 A white background always gives a fresh (sometimes crisp) look to a painting. In the botanical paintings of Redoute` `s  old world  roses (Leafy white rose of Fleury, Unique Blanche rose for e.g) the white background really helps to bring out the delicate, fragile beauty of the petals. A black or dark background, on the other hand can be made dramatic or sombre and pensive.

                 I`ve done these from a chinese painting book a very long time back. It is an art form in itself but also is a fun way for practicing your brushstrokes.   

 

                     The yellow triangle on the color wheel is an example of what is called the modified triad. They are spaced one color apart. It gives a little more contrast than the anaologous color scheme. Here is another example in which the blue-green-violet make a lovely combination:

 

                  A complementary triad consists of a complementary pair and the color halway in between them. The white triangle is an example. Another is yellow, violet and red-orange.

                The split complimentary triad consists of a color and the two colors adjacent to its complementary. The red triangle in the wheel forms an example.

 

Complementary and Split Complementaries

 

 

            A complementary color scheme (indicated by the blue line on the chart) consists of hues that are opposite on the hue wheel. For e.g:  yellow and violet, blue and orange, blue-green and red-orange… you can make six pairs this way. They are farthest apart on the wheel and create dynamic contrast. Their temperatures will be opposite. When viewed next to each other, they enhance each other and create a vibratory effect. This scheme needs to be used with some care, else it can look a bit jarring. Try making one hue more dominant than the other to create harmony. The two hues used in tints, tones and shades as well as a combination of themselves and with neutrals can make an array of colors and need not be limiting. 

            A split- complementary color scheme consists of a hue and hues on either side of the complement, excluding the complement itself. For e.g: red, blue-green and yellow-green or blue, red-orange and yellow-orange or blue-violet, orange and yellow.

           An analogous-complementary scheme (indicated by the orange line on the chart) consists of three analogous hues and the hue opposite it. For e.g: Red with blue-green,green and yellow-green. Use the complement as an accent color rather than let both sides of the wheel vie for attention.

           The split and analogous complementary schemes are often times more pleasing than a pure complementary scheme.

             In nature, you can see these sets in the pale-yellow deep-violet of some iris or sunset skies; blue orange in bird-of-paradise or autumn maple leaves against a blue sky; pale red-violet pale yellow-green of young ornamental cabbage… Red-green is very common in nature, I`ve used it here in this painting of Geraniums. Raw sienna is the almost neutral accent color, though its not seen in the photo.

 

             Here, I`ve made an abstract using blue-violet,violet,red-violet and yellow:

the cool colors..

 

         Blue is a masculine hue and is the darkest of all hues, it has reserves of strength, but the energy is static and oppposite to the dynamic energy of red. It projects authority, responsibility, grace of strength, dignity. It is calming and induces meditation. Blue mixed with the active energy of red forms violet which is a spiritual hue representing the Third eye. Blue-violet, has less of the red and stands for intuition. Red-violet gives inspiration.

       Green is the color of nature, of eternal spring. It is restful to the eye and is both a warm and cool color. Blue-green is the most healing of all colors.

      Pale blue is a restful color, ideal for bedrooms. Mauve is a tone of violet; it is reserved and retiring and can be used in a subdued color scheme.

 

             Painting made from the the three analogous colors – yellow-green, green and blue-green 

Analogous color schemes – warm colors

 

                 Color plays an important role in most visual arts, graphic design, interior decor, clothing, packaging…… almost in every area of our life. Knowledge of color will help you in making the right choices for expressing yourself and making a statement with your artwork. Each hue has a symbolic meaning and evokes an emotional response in us, so it follows that different combinations of hues can be made to express subtly or dramatically varied nuances of emotions. 

                 Red stands for energy, courage, passion, drive, power and is attention grabbing. If a bold effect is what you are after, then make red your dominant color.  Yellow denotes openness, optimism, hope, happiness, sincerity, honesty, energy. It stimulates the intellect and communication. It is the lightest of all hues, yet in its high chroma form it attracts the most attention and advances towards the viewer. Orange combines the passion of red with the openness of yellow making this a warm and friendly hue. It has outgoing, sociable qualities to it.

               Red-Orange combines the energy and passion of red with a hint of the joy and openness of yellow making it an exuberant color that exudes innocent youth. Yellow-Orange on the other hand, combines the  honest, open and communicative nature of yellow with just a hint of the energy of the red to make it a welcoming hue. Orange again has more of red, so is more outgoing and sociable.

                White speaks of innocence, purity, peace and truth. Black has a grounding quality to it.

                 Here`s the RYB color wheel again where I have marked the primary (R,Y,B); secondary (O,G,V) and tertiary (RO,YO,YG,BG,BV,RV) colors. Lets begin our color odyssey with one of the basic color schemes – an analogous color scheme. Any three or four adjacent hues on the color wheel make up the analogous hues. For example, violet, red-violet and red. Analogous colors have a harmonious and pleasing effect on the eye. 

 

                  Here I`ve used reds, red-oranges, orange and yellow orange in their high chroma form. It makes a bold and striking statement with the addition of black. Doing this small demo inspired me to make an abstract painting out of it. Adding gold accents to it gives it a different, rich look. (photo below this one)   

 

 

                  This one is made from magenta, red-violets, violets and a bit of blue-violet. It looks more subdued because of the darker values that blue brings. 

 

                 Pink is a tint of cool red (a tint of a warm red tends towards a peachy color not a pink). Red, when combined with the peaceful effect of white, is calmed down, becomes sweeter. It is definitely what can be called a feminine color and is the basis of a romantic color scheme. You can combine different strengths of pinks with white or soft violets. Pale yellows and green-yellows can be be used for accent. In fact, any color next to pink works well for romantic as along as they are of very light values.

  

 

              Peach is the pale, lovely tint of orange. It is calm and has an air of understated elegance, without any reserve to it.

 

                A pale yellow is central to an elegant color scheme. It has some restraint to it (unlike peach) because it does not have any red in it. It has expansive qualities to it – a room with walls painted in this hue will appear larger than a room with walls painted in red. A living room with pale yellows, creams and the softest of beiges projects restraint, elegance, clarity, grace, intelligence and ease. In places where a white would seem too striking a contrast, a pale yellow would fit right in, also imparting a warmth and softness. You would barely notice the color but it gives a subtle glow to a painting or a room.  

 

 

               At the opposite end, these hues enriched with black project different qualities. Deep reds, maroons, mustard yellows and earthy orange browns are richer and more laid back than the strident pure hues. In painting, these are very useful for intensity contrast. Adding neutral colors like grays and beiges expands this palette even more. They serve as a place of rest for the eye in between other pure colors, be it in art or interior decor. 

              I`ll go into the cooler colors in another post, until then, be creative and have fun!

Background foliage painting techniques

 

                  I think its worth taking as much time to master background techniques as you would take for learning foreground techniques. The background should subtly enhance the foreground without overpowering it.   

 

           The photos below are crops, I`ve put some numbers on them to mark the places:

1. After you have finished painting the foreground leaves and flowers, quickly mark some interesting shapes and patterns that the leaves behind make with a pencil. You don`t have to draw all of them. Now take a very dark value of green and starting painting the area around these shapes (your mix should have enough water that it flows well from the brush) Once this dark value is established, its amazing how easy it becomes to put in the values for the middle layers. You can push the leaves backward or forward to any plane.

2. See how if you put in the background color and value on the top (or to the side) of the leaves, it gives the appearance of them emerging from the shadows. These leaves form the connecting layer between planes. This is important, not all leaves are facing directly towards the viewer.

3. You can also leave out small white shapes in the dark value. After the bg has completely dried out, you can brush in a very light yellow green or green to give the impression of small flickers of light that have managed to penetrate the shadows.

4. Another trick is to simply lift out color with a damp brush leaving behind soft-edged leave shapes.

 

             Photo Below:  Its important to put in shadow areas on veins and stems too. Compare leaf 1 to the same leaf in the first photos. Here I`ve put in a shadow color on the top and bottom part of the vein. The highlight is only in the middle area and that is where it is the brightest yellow-green. The same goes for leaf 2. The middle portion of the vein is almost white just as the rest of the leaf in that area.

          For the stems and branches, don`t automatically reach out for the burnt sienna. You can get a wide range of green-browns, reddish browns and violet browns with the colors already used to make the branches look more interesting. Also you can take a little artistic licence and exaggerrate the colors whenever possible. In the reference photo, apart from the red of the roses, its largely a mass of uninterrupted green. I`ve used yellow brown and violets and reds for accents to make the area a whole lot more interesting.

the background leaves..

 

             Here is a photo of the rest of the foreground leaves. They look very light but this will help in pushing them forward from the background plane. I`ve also started on a couple of veins for the main fg leaves. A fine dark line on one side will make the central vein look more prominent. For the rest of the veins I`ve used DS chinese white tinted with a yellow green.

  

                  Here I`ve done the bunch of leaves on the right side, they are somewhere in the middle layer; in shadow , so of a dark value. Done wet on dry, with few details like central veins here and there and a couple of shadows to establish some form for a few of them. 

 

             Started with a few of the background leaves..

 

                I`ve put in a very dark value in between the background leaves that I had painted (photo above), so this forms another plane. I`ve given the wall behind the foliage a rose-grey tinge instead of a neutral grey. Red is the complement of green and using this contrast makes both the colors (green in the leaves and red in the wall) appear more vivid than in any another combination.

 

                   Here (the portion to the right of the wing and above the larger rose), I`ve used another method; I took a dark value and put in that first, leaving white shapes for the leaves by negative painting.  Now I can either bring in the dark value of the bg into the white areas with a damp brush or use other colors (using other colors can be a bit tricky, you have to make sure that they are subdued enough so they don`t jump forward into the fg plane). You can also gently lay in a clear water wash over the bg leaves and drop in darker values (like I did on the right side of the buds). Whatever method you use, the aim is to create the illusion of foliage growing in multiple planes, one behind the other. Every area need not be perfectly understandable to the eye, that is not how you would see it in nature. Bits of information here and there lets the viewer construct reality but also give room for imagination.  

 

                 If you would like to follow along, here are my references….. The roses looked so beautiful that I just took pictures from every angle so now I have been able to construct this scene, but still I had missed a spot …….ha haaaaaaaa and I don`t have information for an area (top part, above photo) guess I`ll have to improvise..

red roses and rose leaves..

 

               I have started painting the roses in the foreground in the somewhat loose style as they are not the main focus here in this painting. In the first wash, I dropped in S ruby red(cool) and WN winsor red(warm). 

 

                 In these second washes, I`ve left the areas or petals having the lightest value (from the first wash) alone and strengthened the  remaining areas.

 

                   Here, I`ve put in shadows with S madder red dark and also with a mix of  ruby red with S cerulean blue tone.

 

              This rose is nearest to the viewer and has more of details to it than the others. I used some S translucent orange too, for the sunlit petals.

 

                    The first washes for the leaves contain DS hansa yellow medium, S cerulean blue tone and a bit of the reds. Mix three puddles – yellow green, green and blue green and also puddles of the primary colors. Now you can add any of the primaries to any of your three green mixes to get the exact tone or shade of green that you need in each area. You need to add the red too to these particular green mixes to tone them down; if they were new, young leaves they would have those bright colors but not here. I`ve left a fine white line for the main veins. 

 

                 I`ve layed in stronger colors and also started with shadows. The shadows make a beautiful pattern here on the leaves, its a good idea to draw them in first. Shadows too have colors, they are not grey but they should always be duller than the sunlit areas. Add more of the reds for them but not so much that they dominate the greens and start looking grey. 

 

               Strengthened the shadows a bit more with the same colors.