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Monday, November 1, 2010

Tertiary Colors – Sophisticated Sisters

What are tertiary colors, you might ask? Let’s go back to basics. Remember the song you may have sung in school: “The Primary colors are one two three; red, yellow and blue?” Well, there you go.

Following the Primary colors are the Secondary ones made by mixing two primaries together. A mixture of yellow and blue makes green; a mixture of yellow and red makes orange; a mixture of red and blue makes purple and many other variations in between.

Each of these colors has a complement. Blue’s complement is orange. Red’s complement is green. Yellow’s complement is purple. Place two complements together, and the result is a brighter, truer hue of each. Start mixing these complementary colors and you get a tertiary color (tada!): yellow-orange, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, etc.

In my latest Roaring Twenties painting, the colors of red and yellow are so closely placed and mixed, that they give the impression of orange. I used purple in the figure’s gown and highlighted the folds with orange’s complement (blue). This color combination gave the painting pizzazz. Because of the darkened background and the toned-down staircase, I needed to choose colors that would give the painting life.



Titled “Vamp on a Ramp,” the mixed media painting has glitter on the hat, jewelry, and gown. The figure is holding two real feathers in her hand to add to the Vaudeville persona. Art deco elements are represented in the background and add interest, color and a touch of the cubist elements so popular during this time period.

Here is a small clip of my original drawing to show you how a painting progresses and changes over time as artistic choices are made (some for better, some for worse).

I loved the original art deco elements in the background, but when painted, they became a distraction that needed to be toned down. The dress needed a more "vintage" feel to it than this streamlined version provided. I added the hat because it was soooo Vaudeville!

Next blog, I’ll share the finished portrait of my granddaughter that I did using a digital photo and the grid system.