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Tertiary colors are the neutral browns and grays that, when over used in a palette, are often referred to as "mud." Though sometimes banished from an artist's palette, they play a crucial role. Tertiary colors give more vibrant hues a chance to shine and play a starring role in compositions with more subtle ideas or moods behind them. Follow along with Mary Jane Begin in this installment of Artist at Work as she explores tertiary color, its best uses, and the creative possibilities available with this palette. She paints a landscape based on a reference photo, and provides tips along the way about establishing a ground, adding texture physically or digitally, building depth, and making your focal points pop.
Mary Jane uses the following materials in this course:
And with the cloud, I think I'll use a pencil because it's a small little area and I wouldn't be able to do that with my finger. So, I'm just going to look at the cloud in the sky, in my photograph, and look at where the light is across the top, and try to capture that with this pencil. So I'm leaving some of the white that was established from pulling the color off the surface and using this as a sort of the highlight of the cloud.
And it's really cool white, this is very, very cool and it's working against a white surface, so it's warm, so the warm and the cool are reacting to each other. Which is good, that's what I want. I want contrast of the light on the cloud, and the shadowy part of the cloud. And I also do something else. To maybe push the cloud to relate to the tree. Which is just to add a very, very, very light tone of purple. I'm just going to graze this over the surface.
And it's very subtle, but it's meant to sort of pull a relationship between these two areas. I had some purple here. I want this to be just a little bit of purple color so the cloud speaks to the tree and it's not as dark but it's the same basically the same color again in a different form, it's pencil instead of a pastel stick or watercolor. Tube. So that's, I can blend with my finger a little bit.
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