. . . when painting from life I suggest you search out exaggerations of color to make the transitions you need. . .
Wisdom, maybe. Experience, certainly. For instance, how about thinking of the shadow beneath a person's chin. Look there for the exaggeration of a color. Squint. Name a color that you see on the common color wheel, limiting your choices, and find the exact VALUE you need. Then choose that simple color and the correct value to start. You can further flavor it with more accurate skin tones as you go along. Apply this idea to the still life or landscape. It still works. Often you will find that you can flavor the transitions from one area of value to the next with color. Think of the proverbial box: one side is in direct light, one side is in deep shade, and one side is in half-light. The half-light side will usually bear the most color, because it's not bleached out by strong light or lost in shadows. Use that trasitional COLOR area as the place where a little healthy exaggeration works. In the shadow under the chin it might be the area where the transition from light to shadow exists, but apply it to any situation and it works.Does that clarify?
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