Fall Vineyard in Four Colors (Color Charting) by Hylla

With no time to do a full oil painting, it was important to capture the day with a pencil sketch and color notes.  To unify the painting, I worked with only four colors: Avignon Orange (Maimeri Puro), Brilliant Rose (Old Holland), Azure Hue (LeFranc), and Sulfur Yellow (LeFranc).
Here are the basic colors with tints (lead white).
Each is paired above with its complement and shows the neutral mix of those complements.  Equal proportions were used in the above but obviously a great range is possible especially in the pair on the left.

Next picture shows the two warm colors when mixed together.
The center mix (equal amounts) is a primary red with complex tones, far more interesting and appealing than using a straight primary.  If you aren't familiar with Maimeri's Avignon Orange, you're missing a spectacular transparent burnt orange made from quinacridone pigment.  
In the landscape scene I was painting, there were hardly any reds.  So why choose a limited palette with two reds but only one blue and one off-yellow?  Well, I'm using the reds mostly to neutralize the greens.  I want subtle nuances that can represent the shift in light from morning to late afternoon.
Below is my color chart of three times during the day. Not shown but possible is a lighter, brighter yellow, a simple tint of Sulfur Yellow and white.

As you can see, the November morning is foggy in Petaluma. By noon the sky's blue and colors are more chromatic. At 4pm there's terrific clarity of lights and darks but the sun is low enough that there's no glare. 

My head-scratching question is this.  To what extent do I need the pencil sketch?  I'm empowered more by the color charting as a map for the final painting.  After all, it isn't the shape or juxtaposition of the hills that moves me; it's the colors next to each other.
The challenge to myself: come up with compositions that show the interaction of the mixed colors without representative shapes.


  1. Hey Hylla,

    I loved taking a landscape painting class through the SRJC with Marcha Connell, here is her website: http://www.marshaconnell.com/workshops.htm

    I was mostly commenting on your challenge, to come up with compositions that show the interaction of mixed colors without representative shapes! It actually reminded me of that class.


  2. Nice, Amanda. Thank you for your comment. How did you do with the challenge of losing representative shapes?

  3. Her color discussion and display is very interesting. That's one big thing that I miss when painting with encaustic is that it's not that easy to mix color when dealing with pots of paint. My remedy is to sometimes switch to acrylic or oil to satisfy my color mixing jones. But I can see that she is a real master of mixing. Just lovely - thanks for posting this, Hylla!

  4. Oops, guess I wasn't so clear. Camille IS terrific with color. This post though shows my own color mixes in oil. Confusing, isn't it, because I also was painting in Petaluma at the farm.