By Nicole Tinkham
When we think summer, we think COLOR with beautiful blues in the sky and water and bright greens in the foliage. It really is an incredible time of year (minus the bugs and hot sun) for a landscape painting. If you’re planning to get out there and do some plein air painting or even if you’re painting from a photo, your colors must be on point to really make the work pop and get that summer feel. To do this, you’ll have to get really good at mixing summer colors. Here are 3 quick tips for doing so.
1. Define your blue
As you’re probably aware, not all blues are the same! There are cool blues, warm blues, blue-greens, dark blues, light blues, and many more. In a summer painting you have the blue of a clear sky on a nice day, the blue of the ocean, and the blue of pool water. You must first figure out what type blue you need.
For sky: You may want to use a mix of warm blue near the horizon and a little cool blue further away from the horizon.
For ocean: Use a cool blue and a little cool yellow for deeper water and then add in more yellow for shallow water. Make sure you have a smooth transition from deep to shallow in your painting. Using a mix of the same colors, create waves and details. You may even consider taking some of your sky color to create a slight reflection.
2. Locate your greens
As with your blues, your greens will also vary. When it comes to summer foliage, you have to take into consideration the placement in your painting. For example, something closer to the viewer will not be the same shade as something further away. This will create depth in the painting.
Distant green: Use cool greens with elements of blue for shadows and greenery in the distance.
Close green: Mix in warm greens throughout the greenery to prevent the painting from looking flat. Mix in some yellows or oranges for variety.
For BRIGHT beautiful summer greenery, keep the colors you are mixing close to each other on the color wheel. The further apart they are, the duller and grayer the color will be.
3. Color inspiration
Of course blues and greens aren’t the only summer colors you’ll see this time of year. Think watermelon red, sunny yellow and brightly colored umbrellas as well. For inspiration, take a ton of summer photos throughout the season. It doesn’t have to be a subject you want to paint. Just try to capture the colors of summer you love. Pinterest also has a ton of ideas for this.
Now it’s time to play! Have fun recreating those colors in your painting. It may take some experimenting to get it just right but don’t become frustrated, this is a learning experience.
Make summer a time to have fun with your art. There are so many brilliant colors that pop up this time of year, so make the most of them. Explore and try new things! You can head to the beach or the park for an artsy day. Enjoy the great outdoors and capture the beautiful scenery. If you want to experiment with colors more, take a bunch of photos and head to the studio to mix your paint. As you get used to mixing the perfect summer colors, it gets much easier to do. Keep it up artists, and be sure to show us what you’re working on this summer! Head over to our Facebook page and share with us what you’re creating 🙂