Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rosemary, Oregano and Color Temperature

Kate Kern Mundie, Rosemary and Oregano, 10 x 14 inches, oil on panel

I brought home rosemary and oregano from our community garden. It was so lovely I had to paint it before I could cook with it. The herbs added a nice smell to cover the normal aroma of oil paint in the studio. 

I used a palette of  earth tones and greens. The earth tones were Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Spanish Earth, and Rosso Veneto . I used Titanium White, Indian Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Cinnabar Green, Terra Vert, and Courbet Green. All are  Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors. The red earth colors act as color compliments to the greens. A complimentary color is the opposite of a color and is mixed from the other primary colors. For example, red (a primary color) is complimented by green, which is made from yellow and blue (the other primary colors). Blue’s complimentary color is orange, which is made from yellow and red. I used two of each color, a warm and a cool. Burnt Sienna and Rosso Veneto are both red colors. Burnt Sienna is warm and Rosso Veneto is cool. Raw Umber and Indian Yellow are both yellows but Raw Umber is cool and Indian Yellow is warm.  You are thinking, where is the other blue? When Corbet Green is mixed with a little white it looks blue and works as my cool blue.

the palette

I am left handed and arrange my palette with white in the corner and reds and browns accross the top. Raw Umber could be a brown or a yellow. Blues, yellow, and greens down the left side. I mix my colors in the middle.  L to R top: Titanium White, Burnt Sienna, Spanish Earth, Rosso Veneto, (Vermilion- not used) Raw Umber (its dirty with a lot of green in it) T to B side: Ultramarine Blue, Indian Yellow, Cinnabar Green, Terra Vert, Corbet Green. 

You can see on my palette pictured above, I mixed several different greens. I added Indian Yellow to the group of greens on the left and Raw Umber to the group on the right. The Indian Yellow makes the greens warmer and the Raw Umber cools them down. 

Background color tests
When I was picking a background color, I needed a color that would make the greens in the main object, the cup of herbs come forward. The actual background is unappealing yellowing wallpaper. I did not want to paint the old wallpaper into my painting. A general rule is that warm colors come forward and cool recedes. If I used a warm color for the background it might make the background pop forward. I thought about using blue but thought it was too close to the greens. Spanish Earth is very cool and leans towards purple and the blue family. I ended up using Rosso Veneto mixed with white. It was the cooler of the reds and complements the greens.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kate,
    Reading this really informative post, and then checking out Williamsburgh Oil Paint made me think about the ochre mine & processing facility that we visited in Roussion (provence)last year - they have restored this facility and operate it in the way that was done 100 years ago.



Thank you for your comments. All comments to Mundie•Art are subject to moderation before posting.