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Saturday Fireside Chat - Painting With Temperature - Stop Muddy Paintings Forever!


Painting With Temperature – Stop Muddy Paintings Forever!Baumann Old State Cabin

I love the Fireside Chats that we have on Saturday nights at The Grand View Ranch. This week, a group of artist friends helped us prepare our ranch for my Plein Air Workshop on October 20-21-22. Although we painted just a little this week, we did make time to have an art chat. One of the artists asked. “How do I prevent my paintings from getting muddy when painting outside on location?”


I replied…. “Muddy paintings happen because of temperature issues. Very few artists really understand how to use color temperature, and most artists are unaware that temperature is an essential element to create good compositions. There is no such thing as a muddy color. The muddy color that you think that you have created could ultimately be the color of the shadow on a face of a young angel. It is the relationship of a color temperature next to other colors that makes the color appear muddy. For example, muddy paintings happen when only warm colors are used. To correct this, there must be a warm color next to a cool color to balance a painting.”


In my workshops I include an in-depth discussion about color temperature theory and why it is important to use correct color temperatures in your paintings. I discuss how temperature, not value, is the secret key to creating great paintings


One suggestion that can help artists identify warm and cool temperatures is this. When you place your colors on your palette include both warm and cool colors. For example, on your palette place a warm yellow, a warm blue and a warm red on the left hand side of your palette, and then place a cool blue, a cool red, and a cool yellow on the right side. If you understand that muddiness comes from an overuse of warm temperatures in your paintings, you will be able to locate the cool colors on your palette and use them more effectively so that your paintings will never be muddy again.

Since we are talking about muddiness in your paintings, what about chalky paintings? If a painting is chalky, it is because the artist is using all cool colors with no warm colors. If you add more warm colors, the balance of warm and cool temperatures will be reinstated.


Of course, the study and use of temperature is more complex than what I just mentioned. If you want to get an entire overview and understanding of the use of temperature to improve your paintings instantly, I invite you to attend my next workshop in Mount Shasta on October 20-21-22 and learn a new way to understand and use temperature and color in your paintings!

I have coached many students over the years. My goal as a coach is to help students discover their own style by instructing with a method that allows them to grow as they are. If you want increase your knowledge and skill to bring your art to the next level, I invite you to watch my YouTube videos, consider phone coaching with me, or attend a workshop in Mt. Shasta where we discuss art, passion and life with other artists around the campfire. All the information is on my website,

There are some openings for my workshop in October, go to my website today!

Call me for information on workshops or coaching 415-606-9074

Paint with me in Italy the fall of 2018! Information link is below

The Grand View | 1151 Maple St., Hammond Ranch, CA 96069
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