Painting with a tertiary triadic color scheme

Secret Light landscape painting 6x8 Apr 18 2019
“Secret Light” 6×8 oil on panel

After doing my series of two-color studies of this scene, I wanted to take it to a finished painting. But instead of just two colors I selected a three-color palette: a tertiary triadic scheme made of yellow orange, blue green, and red violet. The paints I chose were yellow deep, viridian, and ultramarine violet.

Like with the last painting, I started with making a plan by sketching some different compositions, value thumbnails, and a notan. Doing these series of thumbnails and notans lately has been good for helping me look at compositions more critically. For example, the notan for this design is not all that interesting. I didn’t want to get caught up in endless adjustments so I decided to proceed and see how the finished painting would turn out.

Black and white reference photo with value plan sketch
Notan thumbnail with color reference photo
Monochromatic underpainting

I like this color scheme, and adding texture to the foreground helps add interest to an otherwise bland area. I think the composition could be improved by finding ways to direct the eye into and through the painting. One thing I’m noticing about my recent studies is that there are a lot of hard stops in the composition, like with relatively flat horizontal bands. I want to work on improving this so there’s more connection between the different areas of the painting.