Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Exploring Color

I've been working on a painting for a special project.  I am not great at color mixing. In mixing flesh tones for my faces I always have trouble.  I can start out with three primaries and white and then need a brown for shadow and it always seems to be too green or pink, I just can't seem to get the portion right.  So I give in and use burnt sienna a lot. I want to learn this skill so I thought maybe if I took Julie Balzer's Getting Started With Color Mixing  class it might help.  I knew how to do most of what she shared but I kept thinking brown was a combo of red and green but I learned there are other ways to make brown. This little class just pushed me in a new direction. Julie also talks about the fact that if you mix your own colors your work is more unique.  I liked that idea. I really like these short and simple and inexpensive classes that she teaches.

I have a moon in the painting I'm working on and I wanted it to be golden colored. Had a hard time coming up with how to do that. Either it was too yellow or too orange, so I kept going back to a whitish grey moon which I didn't want. So I started making a sheet of Golden fluid acrylics samples. Just the gold like colors at first.  There are a lot of colors I have from that great sale I got at Michaels a few years ago, that I never use.  Time to remedy that. I hadn't planned a chart or it would be more uniform that this. Once I added the gold colors I ended up doing a chart of all the colors I have. Now I have made charts like this before but I never really used them. This time I studied the colors and did some practice mixes to come up with what I needed.  It was really a great tool. I don't know why I never did this before. Now I have the chart right with me so I know which colors I want to start with.

I really wanted to learn more about this subject. So I headed to the library to educate myself a little bit more and found these two books.  Betty Edwards book is more on the theory of color and understanding it.

The color mixing bible is full of pages of charts of color mixes for all mediums.  Its pretty comprehensive.  I think I'll use the first book more.  I want to know the reasons behind the mixes so I can do it intuitively from now on. This is just one more way to challenge myself, do go deeper like my word of the year.

How do you challenge yourself?


  1. You're really delving into color! Those two books look interesting so I may check to see if our library has them. I, too, like Julie's small classes. The price is great and I can pick and choose which ones to take, and she's always informative.

    1. Thanks Janet. Well you know I am doing this because I get so frustrated all the time. Hopefully I will learn something that will help in all my future work.


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