Red, Yellow, Blue Pursuing the true look of nature
An old teacher of mine once said that every good painting has some of each of the three primary colors in it- red, yellow, and blue.
Being a contrarian, I immediately started looking for examples where that wasn’t the case – and I found plenty.
But in looking, I also saw the deeper truth to what he was saying – that the colors we see in the world around us are an endless series of variations on those three notes.
And furthermore – that paintings which accept that principle seem to have a depth and richness to them that brings them closer to the natural world.
I don’t treat this principle as a rule, and most of the time I’m not even thinking of it consciously.
But sometimes when setting up a painting, it becomes very clear.
Sometimes – like with this painting, it even becomes deliberate.
An interesting thing about this principle is that the colors need not be the actual three primaries – colors which are simply in the same family will do quite nicely.
For instance – in this painting, there is a clear yellow and a clear blue, but no strong red.
However, the eye reads the orange of the teacup and the brown of the teapot as reds, so the illusion is complete.