One of the greatest little tricks I learnt as a young artists was how to attain colour harmony in my work. It is much simpler then you can imagine. Here’s the rub….
1. Determine the overall colour or two that permeates the entire scene. So for example if painting a snow scene it might be grey-blue or some other similar combination.
2. Work out a value scale with ivory black and titanium white from 1 to 10, with one being the darkest while 10 being the lightest. Thus you’ll have 10 distinct Gray values on your palette.
3. To each of these 10 values add a little bit of the “overall”colour from step one and in so doing changing the Gray scale to something different.
4. Start painting by mixing every colour with one of the colours from your pre made pool of values. So for an example if you a mixing a value 1 green hill as illustrated by the dark hill above; I would mix that colour by adding the appropriate green with the darkest value from my batch.
With this “soup” painting method you invariable have mixed the same colour theme with every paint batch. Perceiving a scene in terms of one strong dominant colour and then painting the entire scene with it, can also be achieved by mixing a single pair of complimentary colours and then limiting one’s palette to the use of those colours and white. The two complementarys would basically replace ivory black on the value scale. Remember however that the proportion is 1 to 2; that is 1 primary and 2 complimentary.
The above example was painted to illustrate this method using an overall green-yellow mixed into every batch of colour. Although the jpeg does not capture it well the whole work does achieve that green-yellow colour balance.
One final point, that although this way of working can be used for still life or portrait work, it is widely accepted as outdoor way of working.