Step Five: Block in Color

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Step five is to block in all the rest of the color. I love this step because it gets it so finished so fast. As I block in all those backround and surrounding colors I can accurately judge how the whole painting looks together. Is it too gray, does it need more color? Are my values too similar? Is my subject popping enough? I usually mix the darkest version of the color I'm using, paint in those shadows and then gradually lighten the color and paint the midtones and highlights. I use a limited palette of just red, yellow and blue (a couple versions of each) and then mix all my colors from that. I love the control this gives me to get the right hue of a color. I rarely ever paint a color "straight out of the tube." The best book I read about color mixing was "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green" by Michael Wilcox and it made me see colors in such a different way and appreciate where they all inherently lean. Some of these might be final colors on this painting, but some probably not. I work in layers and layers and layers (one reason I love acrylic), so everything's up for grabs on whether or not I want to play with it later. Painting the negative space around a subject (like the sky around the trees) is always one of my very favorite things of all. I love the organic edges it gives me. Only one step left after this!