For the crucified owl I did just some very basic tests to decide the colors, but since I'm not quite comfortable with colors yet, for this painting I did again many tests as for the oryx painting. For now I want to experiment with direct complementaries and I like using fairly crazy hues... so I came up with a cadmium red - phtalo blue palette similar to this one (painting by Zdizslaw Beksinski):
I'm also a bit obsessed with learning complementary underpainting, which is hard to do properly but allows for very nice effects. After a few tests it turns out that a phtalo blue underpainting with red/brown on top of it may actually work and create some interesting contrasts and blur effects where it is not completely covered:
The sky is probably going to have some more blue, to give more volume to the clouds. On the left a test for feathers (the yellow is ochre). Probably they won't look exactly like that but the contour effect is very interesting and is what I'll try to get in some places. The light/shadow colors albeit unnatural look oddly consistent. For them I followed the simple rule of thumb of giving shadows the opposite hue and temperature of the light: since the moon is going to be very bright blue, the shadow areas should be in the red/brown range. I've used for them a warm grey obtained just from the two main colors, phtalo blue and cadmium red.
Because they are near perfect complementaries on the color wheel they can mix to a very dark grey, and adding more of either color shifts the grey to either cool or warm in a nice gradual way. With such good grays available I'll probably need very little black for the painting.
I also tested carefully how the values should be distributed in the image, to make sure only the main figure gets the brightest highlights and everything is well contrasted:
And here we go!