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How to make your paintings jump off the canvas

One of our members wrote to us asking what colors Bill used to create distant and closer trees in one of his paintings.

The short answer is…the color is not important.

He could have used any color or any combination of colors he wanted. What is important is the VALUE of the color he’s using.

One of the elements of perspective is the value of the objects in your painting. The farther away an object is, the lighter in value it will be. The farther away an object is from the viewer, the more of these particles get in the way. Before light can reach the object, it hits these particles and reflects back to the viewer. We are seeing more of the “atmosphere” than the object. As objects get closer, they get darker because there is less “atmosphere” in the way. Less light gets reflected off those tiny particles.

So, how do you change the value of a color?

You can increase or lighten the value of a color by adding white. You can decrease or darken the value of a color by adding black. When you see Bill highlight a mountain he always adds color to his Titanium White which means he’s not changing the color (or hue) of the Titanium White, rather he is lightening the value of the original color from the tube.

Alternatively, when you paint the “Closer Trees” you merely add less white. You could use the color closer to what came out of the tube. You could even add black.

Remember, make your distant objects lighter in value. Objects closer to the viewer should be darker in value. Now your paintings will have dimension. They won’t have that “flat” look.

Want to practice adding depth to your paintings? Sign up for our Master Class and we’ll teach you all the elements of creating great art. Learn more about our Master Class –> HERE



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