Saturday, February 6, 2010

Always Learning About Color

When I started painting, I was overwhelmed by all the color choices. I took a water color class with excellent instruction where I learned a lot of techniques. The mystery of color choice was a non-issue because the instructor suggested the colors to use for our projects.

I picked up just enough information about the pigments to know that some would be opaque and others transparent. I couldn't mix just any red and yellow to come up with a lovely orange... and don't get me started on which red and blue to select for a pretty purple! I was so intimidated that I could have given up painting if it it hadn't been such a driving passion for me to learn.

Experience is one of the best teachers. You just have to use the paint and experiment. I found Nita Leland's book Exploring Color and Dory Kanter's book Art Escapes. (More recently Nita released Confident Color which I also added to my reference library.) These books helped guide me in color selection. One concept that I greatly appreciate is the limited palette. It's a great place to start your color education. I dabbled with my paints and came up with palettes for paintings based on information I picked up in these books.
I can't omit another great book. Stephen Quiller's Color Choices is a wonderful reference book with color exercises. It was recommended to me by Joen Wolfrom whose color theory books are oriented to the quilt artist. Color Play is a gorgeous and informative book. It was a thrill to meet her in Houston at the International Quilt Fest several years ago and discuss our mutual love of color through quilting, art and photography.

About five years ago I moved from working primarily with transparent watercolors to acrylics. I introduced white pigment to my palette and I'm still getting to know my pigments. When I need new inspiration or I need help developing a palette, I still use the books I mentioned. I use a spiral bound watercolor paper tablet to make reference of my paint collection. I also work out my color schemes as you can see in the photo I posted. I work out intermediate colors by blending complementary colors and making tints by adding white. Its important to jot down the color names.

What prompted me to write this post?

Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen are co-teaching an on-line class: Color-Beyond the Basics.
This looks like it will be fun and very informative. Chris is a Golden Paint Working Artist and author. I have one of her books in my library and have read and skimmed it several times for inspiration and technique advice. I have attended workshops by another Golden Working Artist and came away with tons of great information. I have been following Julie's blog for a long time. Her work is exciting and her blog is fun. Be sure to go to Julie's blog where you can see a short video that introduces you to these artists and lets you know how you can sign up for the class. The great thing about taking an on-line class is you can work it into your own schedule and you don't have to go out in the inclement weather that many of us are experiencing this winter.

Alright. I'm done now. Now go to The Land of Lost Luggage!


Emily said...

Oooh, thanks for all the links. I've been looking for some help with color myself. I'm such a beginner with paints, and it's very tricky. I retained my knowledge of color wheel, primary, etc., but that doesn't really help when you want to mix.

jgr said...

Hi Regina,
Wow! Thank you for all the good info. I admit the color choices often get me stumped in watercolor.

Shayla said...

Thanks for telling us about your favorite resources, Regina. I'm going to check out Julie's blog.

Sara said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share....I will definitely be checking out Julie's blog!