Sunday, June 17, 2012

Watercolor workshop: Color!

Welcome back!
I LOVE COLOR. It is short of a miracle that I don't live in a house with each room done up like a paint-chip display at the hardware store. Don't you just love those? All of those colors arranged so harmoniously with each other!
Here's the thing about color: once you understand it, your whole life gets easier--and more colorful!

Colors are divided into groups:

Primary colors are your foundation. 
Red, Yellow, and Blue.
You can't MIX these--you have to buy them. 
If you have your primary colors plus Black and White, you can mix any other color.

Secondary colors are what you get when you mix your primaries.
Red + Yellow = Orange. 
Red + Blue = Violet. 
Blue + Yellow = Green. 
 If you have your primaries and your secondary colors you have a rainbow.

Tertiary colors are what happens when you mix a primary and a secondary. 
They are: red violet, blue violet, 
blue green, yellow green, 
yellow orange, red orange. 
Yes, the primary's name goes first--they're that important! 

You may remember the color wheel from your grade school days:

Complementary colors are opposites on the color wheel: Red and Green. Orange and Blue. Yellow and Violet. 
If you mix them together, you'll get a brown that is pretty close to black. 
But if you put them next to each other, it makes them pop! And will make your art (or your wardrobe) more vibrant.

Analogous colors are neighbors on the color wheel: 
These colors will always look good together.

This week, you should make a color mixing chart! 
It will give you the full range of possibility that you have with your palette, plus get you used to working with your brushes.

Since I am working with a sixteen-color palette, I made my squares a half-inch. If you aren't as into rulers and measuring as I am,  go more free-form. 

The way this works is: 
Make a nine inch square. 
Measure off a 1 inch column* on the left and a 1 inch row on the top. 
Then measure off half-inch increments for columns and rows. Connect your measurement lines**, and voila! You have a grid. 

* Columns go up & down. Rows go left & right.
** I mark of measurements on the top & bottom of the page--and connect those. Then I mark off measurements on the left and right of the page and connect those.

For each column, write each of your colors at the top (in that one-inch space that we so cleverly left open)--until you run out.
For each row, write each of your colors on the left (in the one-inch space)--until you run out.

You should have a red on the top AND a red on the side, an orange on the top AND an orange on the side, etc.

Paint the color in each square that has that name. 
I did columns first. 
Above, you'll see a column of each color in the 16 color palette.

Then paint across the rows with the corresponding color. 
You will paint OVER the squares you painted.

When you're done, it should look like this: 

Kind of fun, right? (Or not. Again, I LOVE color, so I get a kick out of having my own personalized paint chips)
Now you have a reference sheet for your palette! Oh, the possibilities!
You can pick any 4 color neighbors and they will always look good together.

Be aware of the colors that you are drawn to. Look in your wardrobe and see what colors you have the most of. Look around your space and see what colors you have chosen to bring into where you are. Jot down in your sketchbook/journal when you see color combinations that you really like.

Next week: techniques and tips!


Mrs. Waldrop said...

I love your color mixing chart! I am just now learning watercolors and came upon your blog! What luck right? Can't wait for the next lesson!

kara d said...

Welcome! I am so glad you're enjoying the tutorial!