Scheming is a fun little word. The dictionary definition says “given to or involved in making secret and underhanded plans” and lists lots of sneaky synonyms, such as cunning, crafty, calculating, devious, conniving…and you get the idea. Scheming is not a good thing.
Unless you’re talking about art, and here it’s fine to do a little scheming with colors. In fact, color theory will teach you lots of different color schemes.
I spent my morning yesterday playing around with a few different schemes. I grabbed my acrylics for a little practice and worked a lot on creating value in each different “mini-painting”. Of course, I had to base this 4-part painting on my favorite complementary colors of blue and orange.
I still have a long way to go on learning how to handle acrylics, and I don’t know what happened to those shadows! Usually I do a fairly good job of handling shadowed areas, but these were all awful.
The first “mini” is, obviously, a monochromatic scheme, using tints and shades of orange. To the right, the second “mini” is an analogous scheme with green, blue green, blue, and blue violet. The third is a split complementary — blue, yellow orange, and red orange — and finally, the fourth illustrates a basic complementary scheme with blue and orange.
Note: My scanner cut off a bit of the right hand side of the page. Actually all four areas are the same size, and the pears aren’t cut off on the original canvas.
It was definitely an enjoyable experience even though I’m not too happy with the results. Every time I use acrylics, of course, I learn a little more. Maybe I’ll get the hang of the medium yet.
As far as the color schemes go, I think my favorite is the analogous — even though that was the worst painting. I loved the colors but had problems mixing them and keeping my brush clean.
I also like the monochromatic painting. Since it was the first one I did and it didn’t involve a lot of color mixing, I think the values came out best on it. Just don’t look at the shadow.
Actually, I like each of the different color schemes. Doing these studies also helped me see again how important values are in painting. I hope I can carry what I learned today forward and apply it to other pieces by doing a little crafty, devious, underhanded planning in advance, and then creating a good color scheme for the scene I’m painting.
Do you make deliberate color scheme choices in your art? Or do you just create a color scheme as you go? Which color schemes do you most enjoy using?