Lesson IV

Understanding COLOR Theory IV
presentation by
Pam Coulter
Discuss color value scale which should be done by now.
Home color / shades and tints / what use?
Review:Tints and Shades
notice that you’ve now used tints and shades
importance of getting away from just the
saturated hues in your painting
Three pears
Review:Tints and Shades
Tints, shades and “breaking the rule”
Manet, Flowers in a vase
Matisse, Window
Color lightening and darkening.
Local color is the basic color of an area excluding
the effects of light and shadow. Light will tend to
wash out the color and shadow darkens and dulls
it. If you can establish the basic “local” color of an
object and then lighten and darken, using
analogous or complementary colors rather than
white or black, your painting will be richer than if
you just “paint what you see” or what your
reference photo shows.
Review:Modifying “home” value
• Using black and
white only to
model form
dulls the result.
• Using
and analogous
colors keeps the
result bright.
Above exercises
should be done by
now. Now we can
start to apply to
“real” objects
Students should have brought one
or more simple objects with a
single “home” color (preferably
high hue, not neutral — gray or
Each student should have brought an object (can be
a piece of fruit, cup, bowl — something with a
simple shape and one basic home value.)
“Home” colors/modeling
• Using ONLY black and white, lighten and darken the
home color and value on these objects. We’ll compare
this to the next exercise.
Pause for exercise
“Home” colors/modeling
• Using analogous and complementary colors,
lighten and darken the home color.
Note: use actual fruit or shapes if available.
Do red, yellow, blue and then orange, green,
purple. (See next slide). You can put these on
separate pages. Color background if you wish.
Pause for exercise
“Home” colors/modeling
And do the same
exercise using
“secondary colors”
Pause for exercise
light: using color to model
“When the light is cool, the shadows are warm; when the light is
warm, the shadows are cool.”
How does this seem to you? We’ll discuss more later.
warm and cool shadows
practice warm and cool shadows if you finish
previous exercise.
What’s next?
“When the light is cool, the shadows are warm; when the light is warm, the shadows are cool.”
NEXT: exercises using portrait and landscape.
Atmospheric (aerial) perspective: tinting colors to get perspective (exercise: receding landscape.)
Warm colors approach; cool colors recede. (exercise: landscape, portrait – using background color that is
cooler than face.)
Color proximity: colors affect colors they are near. (lemon exercise)
Color proximity: using a colored ground. (Exercise: doing a primarily green landscape over a sienna
Color opacity and transparency, how it affects your painting in acrylics, oils. How to combat problems.
Give examples. Have students demonstrate. Exercise: do a chart of opacity/transparency.
color and composition:
hard and soft edges (exercise with still life)
broken color and why it is used (exercise with impressionist landscape example and mabe student’s
own picture.
why the “old masters” used dark backgrounds in their pictures (examples)
Mood and color (“psychological” aspect of color.) Maybe use Picasso’s blue guitarist and changethe color.
Have students mock up own examples.
High and low key; high and low contrast

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