Lesson 35 Primary Colors and Others

One of the best things you can do to learn about colors for your paintings is to experiment. Try using different color combinations and mixtures on different paintings that all have the same subject. Then compare the paintings and figure out which set of colors works best..  In the 4 step photo below you can see that I made a drawing using a photo I took in Italy of my favorite china coffee pot and did a drawing. I added values and shading, making sure I had at least the big 3 values, light, medium and dark + the white of the paper.  Then I began my painting experiments. I used my copy machine to print out my drawing onto 90 lb. watercolor paper so I didn't have to redraw my picture for every color experiment. 

The first color experiment used the 3 primary colors, red, blue and yellow and mixtures of them.  You can experiment with any versions of the primary colors, I used permanent rose, lemon yellow and cobalt blue.  

For the  2nd experiment I used the warm colors, yellow, orange, red orange, permanent rose and the cool colors, ultramarine blue + quinachrodone burnt sienna. You can see  my color samples at the top of each painting.

So your assignment is to either use my drawing or make one of your own and try different limited numbers of colors.  If you are feeling brave, use other colors then the actual colors you see in your photo, make up the colors, be wild, be free and it will be a knock out experiment. 






Lesson 36 Light Against Dark

These days I am working on getting more "contrast" in my paintings, especially painting very dark areas next to white areas.  How and why do you do this, I hear you asking.  Well, I believe you need to study your subject ahead of time and make some "value" decisions.  You want to consider what areas you want to emphasis in your painting and why.  Contrasting light against dark is one of the techniques used when you want to show off a focal point in your paint, that's the answer to the why.  The how answer involves mixing dark paint, using either dark colors to darken your paint or thicker paint with less water, or sometimes you need to use both.  

You can use my drawing, or make one of your own.  In a perfect world, you could either find a subject with the perfect amount of sunlight hitting it for nice contrast, but somehow I never find the perfect light on my subject.  Now that I am "enlightened" to seriously adding contrast with light against dark to my painting, I may have more luck.

In the painted doors below, if you squint at them, hopefully, you will be able to see 3 values + the white of the paper.  Be sure to look at the left side of each door and see the dark against white contrast I am striving to put into my paintings.  

Your assignment this week is to paint a subject and add some dark against white contrast and decide how you like it.