Saturday, April 14

Versatile Violet

I Used Violet in My Painting
to Make the
Foreground Appear Closer
to the Viewer
Color and color theory are things most painters have had to learn whether they wanted to or not.  If you didn’t or haven't taken time to learn something about how colors mix, then you probably have wondered why your paintings appear as they do: muddy and with little or no harmony.

On that cheery note, let me add that it’s never too late to learn something new about painting.

One thing I have learned about color—violet is one of the most versatile colors on the color wheel, with cobalt blue being the other (in my opinion).

What it is about violet? Well, as you know it’s a secondary color, the combination of red and blue. I think that’s a more useful combination than, say, yellow and green. You know that very bright yellow-green I'm talking about? That is used primarily for certain types of foliage at certain times of the year, in landscapes anyway, and for not much else.

Violet, however, can be used almost anywhere on your motif at any time. It can be used in the foreground since red tends to bring objects closer to the viewer.
It can be used in shadows. It seems when painters don’t know or can’t tell what color to paint a shadow, they opt for violet, and it’s usually a very good choice.

Don’t forget about violet used in skies for beautiful  sunsets as well as for reflections in clouds.

What's more, there are all those different combinations of reds and blues to make many different violets.  There’s the cool, blu-ey ultramarine violet to the really purple mineral violet to the warm, reddish Mars violet. I think Mars violet is one of the best colors to use in landscape paintings.

Next time you’re stumped over what color to use in your foreground or shadow or sky, try a versatile violet. You will have a friend on your palette.

Keep On Painting

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