Demo: Adding warms/cools AFTER the fact... / by Angela Bandurka

Color temperature was always confusing to me. I didn't "see" it - when an instructor would say, "do you see those warm yellows there, and the blue in that shadow there", I was honestly lost! I didn't see those colours! It took years of training (and I'm always learning and growing as an artist so the training continues) to teach my brain to see the way an artist sees. This is something you CAN learn :)

Here is a very simplistic example of how you can work on a piece, ignoring temperature at the start - and then add it after the fact.


These are the paints I used, click on the images to see them up close:


Place your mouse over the image to read the text (mobile users, scroll down to the text for the images), click on the arrow or a thumbnail to see the next slide.


Paint your picture using values of the main colours. Don't worry about shifting any temperatures yet, just get your values right.


Really LOOK at your resource: do you see any areas that seem "warmer"? If the answer is no - do not despair! A good rule of thumb is to choose to do opposites: warm highlight/cool shadows OR cool highlights/warm shadows. You'll see it after you've been training yourself to see it for a while :) 


  • Pink: I added a touch of yellow to my pinks (see the outside petals, for example.
  • Green: I added some more yellow my greens to warm them up. I also added a touch of warm browns to the background in a couple of places (red and yellow with a bit of blue).


  • Pinks: I added a tiny bit of blue to my pink - see the cooler shadows in the center of the flower.
  • Greens: I added more blue to my green mix, and in a couple of places I even used a touch more blue in the darker green value to add some cools in the background.