This lesson is all about color and how to use a limited palette. The 2 part video demonstration and article was previously only available to subscribers of my free newsletter, Private School. To get content like this way before the public does,simply enter your email below to join:

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The palette I used was primarily 2 colors: Phthalo Blue (cool) and Quinacridone Magenta (warm). Hansa Yellow is also used sparingly as an accent for the lights and highlights.

Part 1 and 2 of the video demonstrations are below. Scroll down to see process images and read the full article.

Part 1

Part 2


Process Images

The canvas was toned with a wash of magenta to create variation and potential color 'accidents'. Once the drawing is complete, I block in the dark shadow mass which includes her hair. The color here is mostly Phthalo Blue with a little Quin Magenta to make it darker and and slightly violet. This color and tone is also the darkest dark value in the painting.

The canvas was toned with a wash of magenta to create variation and potential color 'accidents'. Once the drawing is complete, I block in the dark shadow mass which includes her hair. The color here is mostly Phthalo Blue with a little Quin Magenta to make it darker and and slightly violet. This color and tone is also the darkest dark value in the painting.

With the darks and shadow established, I begin the transition into the lights. This color here is mostly blue with a touch of yellow to make the color pop. Every time yellow is added, the color will instantly buzz and pop because of all the violet already in the painting. Also note the subtle gradation: as the color moves down (towards here shoulders and chest, more violet is added to make the color darker and slightly warmer. This makes the color feel more "natural" and "real" and also helps to create the illusion of light on 3-D form.

With the darks and shadow established, I begin the transition into the lights. This color here is mostly blue with a touch of yellow to make the color pop. Every time yellow is added, the color will instantly buzz and pop because of all the violet already in the painting.

Also note the subtle gradation: as the color moves down (towards here shoulders and chest, more violet is added to make the color darker and slightly warmer. This makes the color feel more "natural" and "real" and also helps to create the illusion of light on 3-D form.

The lights in this scene are closer to half-tones in value. The color is mostly blue but now there is much more yellow. This brings the color closer to the color of the light and also makes a much more dramatic color and temperature pop.

The lights in this scene are closer to half-tones in value. The color is mostly blue but now there is much more yellow. This brings the color closer to the color of the light and also makes a much more dramatic color and temperature pop.

The highlights have a lot of white and a lot more yellow. This almost green color looks great and almost glows when placed on top of the blue-ish lights.

The highlights have a lot of white and a lot more yellow. This almost green color looks great and almost glows when placed on top of the blue-ish lights.

The sexy red bounce light (more a secondary light) was my favorite part of the painting. The color is mostly Quin Magenta for the first layer. For the second, variation layer I added yellow to make the color warmer. Of course, the yellow here really makes the color glow.

The sexy red bounce light (more a secondary light) was my favorite part of the painting. The color is mostly Quin Magenta for the first layer. For the second, variation layer I added yellow to make the color warmer. Of course, the yellow here really makes the color glow.

To complete the color block-in I fill in the background with more red-violet with lighter and darker notes for variation.

To complete the color block-in I fill in the background with more red-violet with lighter and darker notes for variation.

To finish the painting, I simply added a few more strokes of highlight on her chest and also added more green color to the light areas. I also added some variation in paint technique to make the surface of the painting more interesting.

To finish the painting, I simply added a few more strokes of highlight on her chest and also added more green color to the light areas. I also added some variation in paint technique to make the surface of the painting more interesting.