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Aerial Perspective - Painting Graduated Colors

This lesson uses a grid as a framework to help you practice mixing scales of graduated colors in preparation for painting an aerial perspective landscape.

Graduated Tones of Color

  • Slide Show
 
 
aerial-perspective-grid-colors

Before you start painting your landscape, you should practice mixing scales of colors with graduated tones. Our illustration above and instructions below outline a simple format to help you.

  1. Start with a grid that measures 7 X 7 units.

  2. Paint in the central row of squares using the colors of the spectrum.

  3. Paint in the row above mixing a small amount of white with each color.

  4. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the grid.

  5. Paint in the first row below mixing a small amount of brown or black with each color.

  6. Repeat this process until you reach the bottom of the grid.

Graduated tones of Color - Step 1

Graduated tones of Color - Step 1

Draw a square grid (7x7 units) lightly in pencil.

  • Using the width of a 30cm ruler as the size of your squares is a quick way to lay out your grid without having to mark out the measurements.

Graduated tones of Color - Step 2

Graduated tones of Color - Step 2

Paint in the central row of squares on the grid using the colors of the spectrum.

  • Each of these is a key color which you will lighten and darken to create a scale of that color.

Graduated tones of Color - Step 3

Graduated tones of Color - Step 3

Mix a small amount of white with each of the colors and paint the row above.

  • The resulting row of colors should be one tone lighter than the preceding one.

Graduated tones of Color - Step 4

Graduated tones of Color - Step 4

Repeat Step 3 on each successive row until you reach the top of the grid.

  • Now each of the rows in the upper half of the grid should be one tone lighter than the preceding one.

Graduated tones of Color - Step 5

Graduated tones of Color - Step 5

Mix a small amount of brown or black with each of the key colors and paint the row below.

  • The resulting row of colors should be one tone darker than the preceding one.

Graduated tones of Color - Step 6

Graduated tones of Color - Step 6

 

Repeat Step 5 on each successive row until you reach the bottom of the grid.

  • Now each of the rows in the lower half of the grid should be one tone darker than the preceding one.

Aerial Perspective Drawing - Step 7

Graduated tones of Color - Step 7

Once you complete the grid you should find that each vertical scale consists of seven graduated color shifts from dark to light.

  • Choose one of these color scales to represent the fading tones of aerial perspective in your landscape painting, using darker tones in the foreground growing lighter towards the background.

  • Note that the mood or atmosphere of your painting will depend on your choice of color, with the blue/violet end of the spectrum being cooler and calmer, and the red/orange end being warmer and more intense.