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Monday, February 15, 2021

The Secret to Painting Luminous Reds

It's the season for Red! I love red so it is easy to get excited about painting red things. Red can be overpowering though. And since I like to build up my color with layers of pastel I don't want to jump right in with the 'Power Red'.  I have a technique for working with red that allows the most vibrant reds to really glow.

The color chart above shows my technique. The trick is to start layering with a duller and darker red. I sometimes even begin with a dark purple. Here I began with a dark brick red. I selected two other dull cooler reds for the middle layers. I reserved the most vibrant and warmest (orange) reds for the final layers. You can see these bright reds better when they are layered over the dark cool reds. In contrast if you just go right to the brightest red it isn't as interesting!

Depending on how much warm light there is in your scene you could take it a step further and add some red orange and even push it to go with some orange and yellow orange as I did in the poppy painting. You are moving toward the yellow of the sun!

I have a digital PDF step by step demo of this painting available in my Etsy shop. Click here for the link

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