Square tetrad color scheme study

Blue Ridge Vista landscape painting Apr 19 2019
“Blue Ridge Vista” 6×8 oil on canvas panel

Last fall we camped in Boone, NC, and drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were a bit too early for the full colors of autumn, but things were just starting to turn. We stopped along the road and I snapped a photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains that stretched back to the horizon. I thought it would be a fun study to capture the blue-green of the mountains as they’re affected by atmospheric perspective.

I followed my planning worksheet again for this one:

  1. thumbnail sketches
  2. four-value plan
  3. two-value notan thumbnail
  4. color strategy (square tetrad of red orange, yellow, blue green, and violet)

Four-value plan and notan thumbnail
Black and white and color reference photo
Monochromatic value study in seven values (five greys plus black and white)
Rough color map to test out my initial color mixes

One of my goals with this study was to loosen up my brush strokes and go for basic shapes without detail. Interestingly, I prefer the black and white painted study over the full color one because the shapes are more interesting and the brushwork is more lively. But I do like the colors in the final one — this limited palette of lemon yellow, winsor orange, ultramarine violet, and viridian was nice to work with.

I’ve been feeling a little stuck on color schemes…once I choose the scheme I want to use I’m not quite sure about a good way to select my pigments for color harmony, and then intermixing the colors so they retain the characteristics of the selected scheme. This would be a good topic to study in more detail.