These 3 colours are remarkable for the variety of un-muddied mixes they produce. They form vibrant colours even when the 3 are in the same mix. You know, of course, that the more colours are added to a paint mix, the closer to mud the colour becomes. Or, in technical terms, the chroma is lowered.
Another remarkable quality of these colours is the variety of different landscapes which can be produced by varying the blue or adding another colour. For example, the painting ‘Oughaval Wood‘ uses the exact same colours plus Cadmium Yellow and look at the difference in colour.
I read a post (in an art forum) by an oil painter who was trying to match accurately the colours in a scene he was painting. As a photographer I know its not possible to do this, even with the most sophisticated camera. From dawn to dusk the colour of light is changing continuously. Imagine how much the colours in a landscape will change over, say 2 hours of a painting session.
I regard the landscape in a painting as a construction in which the colours are matched relative to each other. It can be made to look ‘natural’ or surreal, or any way the painter decides. Our eyes constantly adjust for changes in colour balance, so we don’t notice the difference. So it is when we look at a painting, we adjust to see what we want to see.
I’ve just completed the first stage of a new painting using these 3 colours. I don’t normally paint in more than 1 session, but this time I’m taking advantage of the quick drying Alkyd oil paints I’m using at the moment. The painting will be dry enough to glaze tomorrow. Its an exercise in taking these same 3 colours in a completely different direction. I will post the results tomorrow. In the meantime have a look at this painting process. See you then.