Sunday, October 5, 2014


Part of our China journey took us to the Panda Sanctuary located just outside of Chengdu. We were told that this is the largest population of live pandas on display in the world. The 3 panda clubs were the most adorable fuzzy things ever.

My goal with the photos that I took was to capture scenes that I thought might be good material for watercolor or acrylic paintings. One of the photos was of a bright red bench surrounded by wispy bamboo shoots. If I take photos of scenes that are design balanced in the raw state I have solved half of the problems of painting good art work.
My photo

I am planning on doing the Red Bench in watercolor and try to combine it with a lesson on using neutral colors to emphasize the brighter hues around them.

I recently read an article by Steven Quiller in Artist Magazine where he gives instruction on how to mix the proper neutral that will harmonize with a specific painting.

His basically states that..."Using semi-neutral and neutral colors with some carefully selected brighter colors brings the painting to life". Quiller achieves these neutral by mixing the colors of the palette used in the painting with their direct compliment or  a pair of colors to either side of the direct compliment to get the proper neutral.

Obviously bright red is the bold color so now I have to mix harmonizing neutrals to use in the bamboo surrounding the bench.
Sketch and first color

My limited palette will be yellow, yellow-green and red. Using a Quiller  color wheel I chose my compliments to create neutrals from the original palette. Yellow uses ultra marine blue and yellow-green uses magenta.

Applying compliment

 I used the glaze technique to apply the complimentary color (magenta) to the green. I will leave the yellow as pure color to show peeks of sunshine through the bamboo. Some more testing is needed with other compliments to the yellow green to give more depth to the painting.
Well...., I will work on this some more and show you the results next week. Maybe mixing the paints before on the palette would give a more pleasing result.

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