As long as I am talking about color, I have found a friend in a color that has gone underestimated on the color wheel. Yellow Ochre…..
For some reason, (and I have been very guilty of this) artists try to build portraits in oranges, pinks and boring browns. I see these paintings and I think to myself….”if only this painting had some yellow ochre in it!”
Rembrandt knew the value of yellow-ochre. His paintings are rich and full of the pigment.
Look at how marvelous this portrait is below…the hits of red in the cheek appear red and fresh because of the yellowish yellow-ochre dominance everywhere else.
Apparently, there are a few different kinds of “earth” ochres, Limonite- this little guy below- a mineraloid containing iron hydroxide, is the main ingredient of all the ochre pigments.
Yellow ochre is close to green on the color wheel and it almost feels a little greenish, so it can “cool off” an area without having to pick green or blue hues.
My little paintng below would not have been successful without this color. Otherwise, everything would have been too “pink” on the lit side of his face.
So look for the ochre! It will be your friend too….