To illustrate what I mean by color family is to recognize a basic color which best describes a portion of the painting. For example, the top of the tower seemed to me to be best described by naples yellow. The brickwork of the lower buildings seemed best decried by alizarin crimson. The stone work on the tower seemed to belong to a cadmium red medium family. As you will see, I actually never use the tube color that bears the name of the family, rather I use many slight and significant variations in value and tone based on the components that make up the color.
To help identify the color families, the Golden Modern Color Mixing Chart is very helpful. The chart can be seen on the following URL, http://www.goldenpaints.com/images/colorMixngModernTheory.pdf. I look at my motif and I identify areas of the motif that basically have a similar color. I then compare the color of the motif to the colors on the Golden mixing chart and find the one that is a fairly close fit.
For example, the top of the light tower seemed to fit most closely to the Naples Yellow Hue on the color mixing chart. While i will never mix naples yellow exactly, let me describe how I use the color chart. The chart says that naples yellow is obtained from the modern color pallet by combining titanium white, hanse yellow medium, phthalo green blue shade, and naphthol red light in the ratio of 70:30:1:3 respectively. Don't worry about this complex formula it is actually easy to use.
If you look at the formula, what is happening is a base dark color, made up of one part phthalo green to three parts naphthol red light, is then mixed with a larger amount of hansa yellow medium. This mixture is then mixed with an even larger amount of white!
This lends itself to a very simple application to color pool painting. The base of my "naples yellow" color pool is formed by mixing a pile of the dark combination of one part phthalo green and three parts naphthol red light, which captures the essence of naples yellow.
My "naples yellow" color pool can be seen in the upper left hand portion of the the pallet. The basic dark color can be seen in the upper right of the pool.
Notice that I made these mixtures to capture the color and tone of my motif. I never actually mixed "naples yellow"! However, I was guaranteed color harmony since I was using the limited components of the "naples yellow formula".
This illustrates for me the power of having the limited set of modern colors on my pallet, as opposed to dealing with a large set of individual special colors, such as "naples yellow", etc.. As a matter of fact, I think it is much more limiting to have the specialized colors such as "naples yellow" on my pallet. For example, in the case of naples yellow the actual tube paint has a lot of white in it, which as you can see from the example above I did not need to achieve the actual tones and shades that I needed. I would have had to add all sorts of colors to neutralize the naples yellow, and probably not achieve the purity of color and harmony that is possible with the color pool mixing strategy.
The following image is the next step in the evolution of the painting.
The major advance in this stage of the painting was to bring all of the colors into harmony with respect to temperature, tone and intensity. All of these changes were facilitated by slight modifications to the various color pools.
In addition to the Naples yellow pool discussed above, other major pools included a blue for the sky, a green for the grass and trees, and to major red pools, one around alizarin crimson and one around cadmium red light.
Again in each of these pools is is composed of the base colors as defined in the modern color theory color mixing guide. However the proportions are varied to meet the needs of the motif, as well as the addition of complimentary colors such as green and blue, to modify the intensity, and the addition of a white or bone black to modify the value.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have added bone black to my modern pallet. Bone black is a very transparent black. It is especially useful when painting stone buildings, in that it naturally adds the burnt and dusty aspect of natural stone and brick.
The next step in the completion of this painting will be to add some people, and to provide some accents, and reflected lights and colors.