A few days ago, I discussed a basic Value Structure technique. I showed how we can emphasize the spacial distance between Foreground, Middleground, and Background by restricting each area to a specific part of the value scale, either Black, White or Grey.
That very same principal can be applied to Color Temperature as well.
Try breaking your composition down into three distinct temperature ranges: Warm, Cool and Neutral.
Just like value, restricting certain areas to a particular range of temperature will create a more legible composition and a greater sense of depth. Once again, you can arrange these temperature in any order.
By using tryptic schemes for both color temperature -and- value you ensure focus and legibility in even the busiest of compositions!
Once I’ve decided on the basic value structure, I reinforce that with the same tryptic structure of color temperature. In this case, I chose to make the background neutral, the middleground warm, and the characters of the foreground cool.
As I paint the image, I incorporate a lot of different colors into each of these areas. But just like the value range, I am always careful to squint at my piece, making sure that the general impression of the area still falls within the temperature range I decided on earlier.