Tip File: Understanding Temperature Changes

Look at the temperature changes from shadow to light in the paintings of masters such as Sargent, Sorolla and Monet. Make a chart of temperature ranges for the primary colors, and hold it next to the paintings to see how a color can be warm or cool in different situations. In your studio, set up a still life under north light with objects that are different primary colors plus one that’s white, and paint the setup. Then paint the same still life under a warm spotlight. As you gain confidence, try painting a scene in full color from only a black-and-white photo—you’ll be amazed at how easy it is when you follow the rule of opposites.

This tip is an excerpt from the Color Corner column titled “Not Always Cooler in the Shade,” by Scott Burdick. To read the full article, click here and order The Artist’s Magazine’s March 2011 issue.

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