Friday, 16 October 2015


EXUBRIUM by Sea Dean

I heard an experienced artist utter these words the other day and as usual it got me pondering. I think all artists like Picasso go through their "Blue Period" and I have times when I wallow in the ultramarine hues, but I have to admit that people do tend to buy "happy" paintings more than "moody" ones. The warm palette includes all colours, but slanted towards the warm tones.

Yellow ...
Cool - Cadmium Yellow Light or Lemon
Warm - Indian Yellow

Red ...
Cool - Crimson -
Warm - Cadmium Red Light

Blue ...
Cool - Ultramarine or Cobalt
Warm - Cerulean or Turquoise

I could go on but you get the gist. I think it's always a good idea to make tables with the brands of paint you use and separate them into warm and cool colours because this also has a great influence on your colour mixing. I use two stay-wet palettes, one with warm and one with cool colours so I don't mix them inadvertently.

I favour complimentary colours to make certain areas pop, so none of my paintings are completely warm or cool, but they are usually predominantly one or the other. Whether it is a landscape or an abstract the interplay between warm and cool can add a dynamic slant to your work.

Above you will see that EXUBRIUM is predominantly warm Cadmium Red Light and Turquoise, but I have used cool Purple and Lemon to add pizzazz. This painting is very red, which would be overpowering if it was a large painting, however framed and placed in a dark corner it works well.

In VIOLET FRONDS the predominant colour is Turquoise which is a warm blue, but the addition of cool Purple, Titanium and Zinc White have kept it icy looking and true to the frosty inspiration photo. Although hard to see, there are accents of warmer white and iridescence which prevent this painting appearing overly blue when viewed in room light.

What is your experience with warm and cool paintings. I would love to hear your views in comments.