Saturday, June 6, 2020

Complementary Color Scheme

Arthur Guptill said, "A rich effect can be obtained with only a limited palette. A warm and cool combination affords the student the best approach to his color problems, especially as they relate to outdoor sketching."

Greta Bridge by John Sell Cotman
In his book on the history of watercolor painting, E. Barnard Lintott said, "For a young student there cannot be a better way of entering upon the study of water colour than by rigorously banishing all but two colours from his palette. It is the best and surest way to the study of full colour. The colours should be a cold and warm one; cobalt blue and warm sienna—or Prussian blue and burnt sienna—are two combinations which lend themselves to a great variety of treatment."
More about painting in complementary colors on m Gumroad tutorial "Color in Practice: Black, White, and Complements."
Quotes comes from Color in Sketching and Rendering, p. 71.


Tom C. said...

Hi James,
Is the Cottman painting just two colors. When Lintott writes about using two colors does that mean a warm a cool with the addition of black and white?

James Gurney said...

There's a good essay about Cotman here.

Kessie said...

I've observed this in older children's books where the cost of printing meant only two colors were allowed. It's always a warm and a cool, and sometimes they could cheat by overlapping the two colors to make a third. P.D. Eastman's older books, like Are You My Mother, only uses brown and yellow. Older Dr. Seuss do this, too, using only red and blue, or cyan and yellow.

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