Color studies in two colors plus white

I’ve been doing a lot of work to gain a deeper understanding of value and composition, and now I feel like working on color. I enjoy painting with a limited palette, and with all of these new colors in my drawer of oil paints I wanted to do some experimenting to get a feel for how they work together.

My primary goal with this exercise was to find some good complementary pairs among my colors — two hues that could act as a warm and a cool together and would neutralize when mixed. I also wanted to get a sense of how a selection of colors influences the overall mood of the painting.

It was enlightening to see how two colors that sounded like they’d be complements actually worked with each other on the paper. For example, I thought Winsor Orange and ultramarine blue (#7) would be exact complements, but the overall tone of the study feels very cool to me.

Because I used all three primaries for the first three color studies, I quickly found myself wishing I had that third hue to balance out the rest of the studies. It sure gave me a greater appreciation for having three colors to mix with!

Next, I want to do a bunch of three-color palette studies.

color studies in two colors - 1 Apr 17 2019
Numbers 1-9
color studies in two colors - 2 Apr 17 2019
Numbers 10-18
color studies in two colors - 3 Apr 17 2019
Numbers 19-24

A table of the colors I used:

# Color 1 Color 2 Color 3 Color 4
1 burnt umber
2 cad yellow pale hue napthol red ultramarine blue Utrecht white
3 cad yellow pale hue napthol red ultramarine blue Utrecht white
4 cad yellow pale hue napthol red ultramarine blue Utrecht white
5 lemon yellow ultra violet Utrecht white
6 trans earth red ultra blue Utrecht white
7 orange ultra blue Utrecht white
8 lemon yellow ultra violet Utrecht white
9 terra rosa viridian Utrecht white
10 yellow deep ultra blue Utrecht white
11 trans earth red ultra blue Utrecht white
12 terra rosa cobalt turq light Utrecht white
13 orange ultra violet Utrecht white
14 yellow deep cobalt turq light Utrecht white
15 orange cobalt turq light Utrecht white
16 orange viridian Utrecht white
17 alizarin viridian Utrecht white
18 yellow deep ultra violet Utrecht white
19 naphthol red cobalt turq light Utrecht white
20 burnt umber ultra blue Utrecht white
21 trans oxide yellow ultra violet Utrecht white
22 yellow ochre light ultra blue Utrecht white
23 yellow ochre light ultra violet Utrecht white
24 yellow deep ivory black Utrecht white