Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Analogous color schemes

Here is our color wheel. If we select only a section of the wheel and restrict ourselves to that, we are forming an analogous color scheme. An analogous color scheme is one that contains only those hues from the wheel that contain a common element, for instance blue, as shown in the section of the wheel below.

Analogous color schemes have great unity of color and are pleasing and harmonious in appearance. The scheme above is called a close harmony. Here is an analogous scheme based on yellow. All of the notes within it contain yellow. This is a little larger section of the color wheel, so it is less of a close harmony.

Here it is again in a scheme based on blue.

Below is a section of the wheel which is really too wide to be fully harmonious. You could argue that it is still a analogous scheme based on yellow, but the harmony is pretty much lost. If was any larger it would contain a color plus its compliment which would no longer be an analogous color scheme. The most effective analogous schemes cover only a quarter of the color wheel.


Gregory Becker said...

I can make the color yellow keep its yellowness while traveling from light into shadow by adding small amounts of burnt umber ubtil the burnt umber takes over completely and then finish taking burnt umber darker by adding ultramarine blue to take the color to black. In fact with those colors used to cover the entire value scale I could paint with only those and complete a good landscape. I would have temperature variation color variation and it would look analogous. I want to do more work that is like this.
My question is how do other colors travel through the value spectrum and keep their original color readability? Blue I could modulate with white and black. Red is somewhat different. The black tends to warm it which I like but white cools it way too much. I want to have a warm version of a color traveling through the value spectrum and a cool version of a color traveling through the value spectrum while retaining its' redness or blueness or whatever. I want to be able to look at those lines and see the localness of the principle color.
Sorry I am so longwinded but I finally found a way to articulate something I have been struggling with.
Basically, I just want to know how a color travels through the value spectrum and retains its' principle locality along the way. I dont struggle with yellowturning green on its' way to black anymore.

Philip Koch said...

If one does stick to using just a quarter of the color wheel (Stape's "true" anaogous color scheme) the resulting painting will be unified. And for painters just starting out, I think making a project to do a whole bunch of such works would be extremely useful. Probably more paintings have failed from the curse of too many colors pulling things all apart than any other cause.

Restricting color to just a pure analogous color scheme does come with a little risk of getting lots of unity in the painting but perhaps not enough surprise. Using really zappy shapes and pronounced dark and light contrasts in the right places could remedy that.

Or, one can use the analogous color scheme over the whole canvas, and then at the end add some little touch of a highly contrasting complementary color to shake things up a bit.

willek said...

This is the stuff I have been really thinking about recently. Please don't stop now. Should we be choosing limited pallets that depend on the conditions of the day, like warm orange sunlight, low overcast or noonday light, etc? Any conventions here?

billspaintingmn said...

Stape! Your apples look delicious!
This was an excellent season for anyone that wasn't effected by the late frost this last spring.(Some folks lost there's early on.)
I'm on high ground, so the trees were safe.
I will have to get them before the wildlife does, (Honey crisp seems to attract an appetite) They eat them right off the tree!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Let me grind on that for a while. I think you may have learned more about that than I know already.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am going in to that tonight.You are out ahead of the class.

Stapleton Kearns said...

These are for inventing color schemes not so much for recording them.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I like those apples, when do they ripen?