A Landscape Painting Based on Analogous Colors

This landscape painting of Meadow Grove farm uses an analogous color palette.

Meadow Grove. 14x20, oil on linen. 2017

This painting features one of my favorite locations in Loudoun County. It it one of the few places in the Loudoun Valley where the landscape is flat, and you have an unobstructed view across several fields all the way to the foot of the Blue Ridge.

I've painted this scene a couple of times before and I've always tried to bring something extra to the table when I've done so. This time I decided to build the color scheme around analogous colors.

In an analogous color scheme, all the colors are all selected from a narrow slice of the color wheel: yellows, oranges, and reds in this case. Although it looks as if I've used green and blue in the painting, in fact my palette was only cadmium yellow medium, burnt sienna, alizarin permanent and raw umber; the greens and blues are purely an illusion. The effect is called color constancy.

You may sometimes see analogous colors referred to as a single-color structure. They both mean the same thing. It's a wonderful choice when you have a picture that's painted into the light, or where you want to cultivate a sense of unity. It doesn't make for the splashiest color drama, but it can bring a sense of quietude to a painting that might otherwise be dominated by a strong color, like green in this case.


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