Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Colour matching


One of the challenges that many beginning artists have when painting is getting to grips with colour theory.  It can be daunting with many formulas, favourite primary colours and different colour wheels to choose from.  Too often the concept of colour mixing and determining the correct value and hue is misunderstood and mud happens more than is liked.

I'm determined to simplify the colour process in my workshops by breaking it down into basic colour mixing, understanding just what colours are in some of the primaries and why mud happens.  While there are a number of colours on my palette, some are standards, some come and go.  Here are the most common:

Cadmium yellow light
Cadmium red light or medium
Permanent rose
Alizarin crimson
Ultramarine blue
Phthalo blue
Raw or burnt sienna
Titanium white

From these I can mix pretty much any colour I want using variations of primary secondary and tertiary colours.   One of the exercises that I use in the workshops is getting participants to match colours on paint chips and in common objects.  This helps students explore the paint colours and understand the effects of one colour added to another and everyone really enjoys the challenge.

In the image above, I was matching paints to Mango Madness, a BEHR paint chip.  I don't know if I'd be brave enough to have this colour covering a whole room in my house, but I LOVE the colour.  What do you think?  Did I get it right?  Next time you're in a hardware or paint store, grab some paint chips you love and take them home to try to match the colour in paint.  And don't forget to write down what colours you used to get that hue, along with a paint swatch on paper or canvas. Its a great resource to keep colour swatches and notes about them.


This exercise and lots more will be used in my Painting Realistic Water and Palette Knife Painting workshops that are available this fall and winter from my studio in Flatrock, NL.  Registration is simple, classes are relaxed and learning is guaranteed.  For more details or to register, visit my website.  I'd love to see you in the studio soon.

6 comments:

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

it drives me insane how many people know nothing about colour theory and use coloured pencils. its one of those mediums, you need to know even the basics with, i tell people all the time if they don't know, get a colour wheel. they are cheap and will help them figure out the basics
*ends little rant* :p

Jeanette Jobson said...

Love the rant :)

And you're right, too many people jump into colour not knowing what they're doing, only to get frustrated.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

you hit the nail on the head. the person gets frustrated with colour, so often stops creating art all together :/ which is a shame, since it is something easily remedied by a bit of studying.

suzanneberry said...

a perfect match and a very interesting post! color mixing has always been a problem for me! great suggestions!

suzanneberry said...

me again, love your new profile shot!

Jeanette Jobson said...

Colour is often a big hurdle for people and I love trying to break it down into simplicity to help others (and me!) understand it. Match the colour chip is one of the exercises I use in painting workshops that's always fun.

And yes, it was time to update that profile image. I look completely different in every photo that's taken. I'd make a good spy. :)