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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Setting Up a Limited Palette

Let's play with color.  The photo below has in it a number of colors.  Coming up with a limited palette scheme for this can take us on an enlightening adventure.  

A limited palette that follows a scheme has inherent harmonizing potential.  But knowing how to find that scheme can be challenging.  Here's a four-step process I use:

1.  Identify visible hues
The major hues I see (top to bottom) are blue, yellow-green, yellow and orange.

2.  Begin with one or two hues you see.  I'm choosing two--blue and yellow that I can combine for a third hue I see, yellow-green.
Blue + yellow=green, giving me a range from yellow to yellow green to green to blue green to blue.

So it looks like both Ultramarine Blue and Hansa Yellow Light could be candidates to yield at least three hues I see--blue, yellow and yellow-green.  

3. Find these chosen hue's complements
The complement of blue is orange, so I can add to the palette
Quinacridone Burnt Orange (a good candidate because mixed with hansa yellow light, it will produce the oranges I see plus provide a range of darks)
The complement of yellow is purple, possibly Dioxozine Purple. (This will give a range from yellow to yellow ochre to brownish purple to purple as well as a good range of values).

4.  Test the scheme
     By doing these steps, I've come up with a possible limit palette scheme of blue, orange, yellow and purple--two sets of complements that, when I plot them on the color wheel, show up as a double split complementary scheme.  JOILÀ!

A double split complementary scheme is any two sets of complements formed from colors on either side of a single set of complements.
Mixing with these complements plus white, I can get the lower intensity hues I see, especially in the vase and on the rock window casing.
    Just to be sure, I squeeze out onto the palette these choices along with white and explore all the possible hue, value and intensity mixes I can come up with from various combinations of Ultramarine Blue, Hansa Yellow Light, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Dioxazine Purple and Titanium White.  THERE'S where I begin to see potential.

   If you'd like to learn more about ways to work with color schemes, take a look at Series 10, four video tutorials on Transposing Color found HERE.

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