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I have a deep blue sky and a bright yellow sunset setting over a nature scene, but when painting in the yellow sunset and fading it to the blue sky I end up with a lot of bold greens that are noticeably out of place.

How do you fade colors without getting the combined color? I'd like to fade a yellow to a blue without getting green in the middle. I assume the concept would apply to any two colors, though.

This may not be the best example image, but here you see very bold blues, and very bold yellows without mixing into a bold forest green anywhere in the sky. enter image description here

  • I can't think of a transition like you describe it without the mixed colour. So, maybe there's a third colour involved? What if the yellow first fades to orange or red before you get to the blue sky? You best check the reference image to see what to do. – Ji Ugug Apr 27 '16 at 18:07
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    A sunset sky usually transitions from yellow sun to blue sky by going the other way around the color wheel - from yellow to orange to muted red to very muted purple to muted indigo to blue. For example, fade from blue paint to orange or red paint, then fade to yellow paint. – Robin L. May 24 '17 at 10:24
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There are green areas in the photo, although they are not bold.

Maybe your solution would be not to fade but to juxtapose bold colors.

  • Yet, if you want to fade, painting by layers will have a cleaner mix than painting in impasto (glaze a very thin blue over the yellow). Also you could use dots of each color next to each other for a vibrant optical blending (like impressionism or pointillism).

  • Otherwise, first fade the colors toward grey before fading.

    One of the ways to desaturate the colors is going into non complementary biases, like fade from a blue-green (cyan, phtalo, Prussian), into a blue-red (ultramarine, cobalt), fade that to a yellow-red (azo, cadmium) then a yellow-green (lemon yellow, Aureolin). The intermediary color will be greenish but muted.

  • Another way is to use ochres and earth tones (transitioning with a Venetian or yellow ochre, or muting the green color with green-earth or another greenish brown paint), and yet another way is to use opposite colors to mute the intermediary color (i.e. mute the green with a glaze of red).

However, I think the best way to achieve a clean contrast with high colors is to mix as little as possible.

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