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Making colour punch: experimenting with greys and neutrals

This first painting is from the village where I visit family in Spain, up in the countryside above Costa del Sol. Vineyard country at the foothills of mountains and beautiful in evening sun.

At the moment I'm learning traditional techniques to paint with oils. I'm experimenting with under painting, with limited palettes and using neutrals. I've been mixing colours to get chromatic greys. More lively than black and white out of a tube. Makes the brighter colours stand out and something I plan to do more of.

The under painting layer of this Spanish Village was done with mixing phthalo blue, indian red and cadium lemon hue. I used these colours to highlight where I wanted the dark (cool) and light areas to be. You can see from the second image below how this has helped guide me as I continued painting...

I kept the shadows cool and I toned down the second building from the left so the colours don't stand out. The intense colour is only where the sun is shining. Not finished but happy with this so far.

Similarly with this small painting of Dubrovnik Harbour I started under painting with warm and cool colours, then adding in detail.

Really pleased with how the boats worked - very effective from a distance with just a few touches of paint against the darker shadows. I still need to sort out the background sea - currently looks like the sky so may add a boat.


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