“It is the brushwork of the right value and color which should produce the drawing.” —Camille Pissarro
Space, as defined in art, relates to the relationship of the elements in your composition to each other.
A typical layout will include these three spaces:
- Middle Ground
In most painting compositions the foreground is what appears closest to the viewer.
The Double Primary Palette paint colors include six dull colors. These manufactured paint hues have less intensity, luminosity, saturation, or concentrated pigment than the brights colors.
The dull colors may appear intense but when blended to the right percentages they work best to illustrate the values needed for backgrounds.
“Dull Color Recap: Alizarin Crimson, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, and White.
The middle ground in your painting needs to appear to the eye’s perception to come forward.
This requires a greater intensity of color, thus the need to increase the percentage of color and the color value and saturation. To achieve this, one bright color is added to your mixes.
Bright Color Recap: Mauve, Windsor Emerald, Windsor Red, New Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, Windsor Blue, Cadmium Orange.
Middle Ground = 2 Dulls + 1 Bright
The tutorial image below shows how the size, value, and intensity increases in the middle ground in comparison to the background. Following the illustrated percentages and adding red, yellow, and blue to each mix we create both harmony and continuity. The Double Primary Palette makes this easy to achieve.
Hills will appear darker at the top and lighter at the bottom and become 10% darker as they move forward. Background percentages are best kept between 20 and 35. In the middle ground, the best percentage range is between 40 and 55. (reference your scrap).
When mixing your colors, start with the value first and add dominant colors last.
Types of Paintings
Value describes the lightness to darkness of hues and intensity is the brightness. Once you have the composition of your painting mapped out, consider these three key descriptions of a painting and how it pertains to value and intensity:
- High Key: The dark areas create appeal in the artwork and a high contrast may exist between the elements.
- Low Key: The white areas create interest and draw the eye in the artwork.
- Intermediate: The whitest white and darkest dark sell the painting. Everything else is a greyed out scale.
The next two tutorials in the Perfect Painting Palette Series will provide the keys for painting the foreground areas. You’ll learn underpainting tips for these areas along with tree bases and examples of how to paint rocks.
Table of Contents for the Perfect Palette Series
- The Many Hues of Color
- Best Palette Colors to Build Depth
- The Double Primary Palette
- Painting Blue and Cloudy Skies
- Mixing Colors for Painting the Background
- Painting Mountains
- How the Middle Ground Creates Harmony
- Stepping Into the Foreground
- Laying Down Foreground Foundations: Rocks, Tree Mounds, etc.
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