Monday, November 26, 2018

350: How to Get Bright Color Using Color Charts

–SIXTEEN years ago I read an art instruction book that recommended making color charts. I used artist tape to mark off the swatches on canvas panels and mixed up my paint. After the swatches on the color charts dried, I attempted to use them in my painting procedure. But for some reason, the charts seemed irrelevant, and I rarely used them.

When I was moving into my new studio, I rediscovered the charts in the corner of my closet. I placed them on a shelf underneath my wall easel. With the charts nearby, I found I began to refer to them as I planned the color for my paintings. With a modest amount of planning, I found I was avoiding color clich├ęs, and my color became more varied and vibrant.


As prescribed in the book each chart used a single color which I mixed with all the others colors on my palette. I would then add this mixture with white. The colors shifted from left to right as I added other hues. The swatches shifted in value from top to bottom as I added white.

Initially, I didn't understand the purpose of doing color studies. Much like doing value studies you have to have faith. You have to believe the process will produce results–without short-term evidence. I can't explain why doing value or color studies results in better paintings. You have to keep experimenting with a principle even though you see minimal results. In some cases, the hoped-for breakthrough happens after months of seemingly nonproductive experimentation.

This process can be challenging to explain to the beginning painter. If I were to graph the progress of such experimentation, it would be a hockey stick. It would show months of no progress followed by an instantaneous rise in ability.

HOW I USE COLOR CHARTS
I almost always do a watercolor sketch before I transfer my design to canvas. The quick sketch allows me to imagine the chromatic direction the painting will take. I select colors by asking a series of questions. What emotional effect am I trying to achieve? What colors will be in opposition to the primary color? What harmonious accents will complement those main colors? To clarify my thinking, I shuffle through my color charts. Such a review breaks up habitual color mixtures allowing me to select basic colors. Do I want to mix my greens around a base of Burnt Sienna and Thalo Blue? Or would a base of Cadmium Yellow Light and Ultramarine Blue be more appealing? The pause to consider the basic colors allows me to simplify and harmonize.

After selecting basic colors, I sketch in my watercolor sketchbook. I then dash in the planned colors. It can be difficult to discipline myself to use only the colors I have preselected. But the results prove to be well worth it.

Finally, I have to carry the discipline over to my oil palette. I keep both the watercolor study and the relevant color charts handy. The inconvenience of adhering to a plan is outweighed by positive results.

By combining color charts with watercolor sketches, you can avoid routine colors schemes.

If you need a good watercolor set for doing sketches I highly recommend this versatile, inexpensive kit. The commercial color swatches in the photo can be found here.

Brad Teare, November 2018

1 comment:


  1. Nice posting..thanks.
    Ijin..info investasi lahan keluarga di San Diego Hills memorial Park bebas biaya perawatan dan kebersihan selamanya klik
    visit our website

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...