Watercolour

Exploring Colour

Paint Your Dreams - NB
Paint Your Dreams

My earliest childhood memories of playing with colours was with Carolyn sitting at our kitchen table, probably around 1970 give or take a bit (I’m showing my age!!). We would have our paints and colouring books out and we were very happy. Our paintboxes were very basic – we had a red, a blue, a yellow and a green! And when our paintboxes got a bit posher we also had a white and a black!! So if we wanted an orange, a purple or a brown we had to mix it! We didn’t worry about getting it wrong or making a mess – it was fun, we loved it. Little did we know that such innocent childhood fun would set us up for artistic adventures later in life…

Paintbox Colours - NB
The only colours Carolyn & I had in our childhood paintboxes ~ a red, a yellow a blue & a green…

Why am I mentioning this? Well, in this post I’m, in effect, going back to my childhood days and I’m starting off with just the basics – a red, a yellow and a blue. And with just those colours to hand I’m going start exploring… and I’m not going to worry about getting it wrong or making a mess… and it’s going to be fun

DS Primary Colours - NB

These are my starting colours – the Daniel Smith Primary Colour Set. One red, one yellow and one blue. No more. The primary colours. So with paints, palette, paper, water and brush in front of me I’m ready to have some fun mixing colour…

DS Primary Colour Char - NB
Mixing Daniel Smith Primary Colours

This is the result of a fun evening playing with Daniel Smith primary colours. At the very top of the chart you will see the primary colours on their own ~ all individually gorgeous colours in their own right. At the bottom of the chart you will notice a black colour – this was created by mixing small amounts of each undiluted colour together in my palette. Not all combinations of red, yellow and blue will reach black. But these did, although it did take me 3 attempts to get the ratio of pigments right! Now all the squares in between – 48 of them in total – are all the different colours I created by just mixing together different amounts of the three primary colours. Please view the chart larger by clicking on it as you will get a more detailed view of the lovely colours. So in total on this sheet of paper (19.5 cm x 28 cm) there are 52 colours! I could have created more but I ran out of space…

Now, why don’t I try some different reds, yellows and blues?

Triangular Colour Wheel 1 - NB
Triangular Colour Wheel 1 ~ Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow & Prussian Blue

In my triangular colour wheel above I’ve used Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and Prussian Blue. Notice that the Cadmium Red when mixed with a little Prussian Blue makes a rich brown colour and adding more Prussian Blue to the mix makes black – no purple… !

Triangular Colour Wheel 2 - NB
Triangular Colour Wheel 2 ~ Permanent Rose, Cerulean Blue & Naples Yellow

In this triangular colour wheel I’ve used Permanent Rose, Naples Yellow and Cerulean Blue. Notice how adding just a little Permanent Rose to the Cerulean Blue makes a gorgeous dark lavender blue.  And Cerulean Blue mixed with a little Naples Yellow makes a lovely pale turquoise and adding more Naples Yellow makes a lovely soft sage green.

These are just two examples but the different combinations of red, yellow and blue you could mix are almost endless. I will continue my colour exploration in another post. There’s a huge exciting world of colour out there to explore and this is only the beginning… !

Watercolour

Rambling Rose II

Rambling Rose 2 - NB
Rambling Rose II ~ WIP

This is the second painting in my rambling rose series (the first was in my previous post). I may work on this painting some more, so I guess it’s a “work in progress” but at the moment I’m enjoying it as it is…

I used the same colours as the first one – Permanent Rose and Naples Yellow. This painting measures approx. 8″ x 6.5″ and was painted on Khadi paper. And this one too looks better when viewed from  a distance – you get the “rose effect” better. It was painted loose, wet in wet and I’ve just let the watercolour paint do what it naturally likes to do – working with it, not against it…

In the summer of 2016 I planted a lovely pale pink climbing rose in my garden. This spring it has doubled in size and, although it is only early may, it has buds forming on it already! This summer I want to paint these gorgeous roses from my garden. So I’m going to take lots of photos of them and also I will cut some and bring them indoors to paint. On a nice summers day I may even do some plein air rose painting in the garden…

BACK TO BASICS

I also spent some time recently getting back to watercolour basics – basic colour mixing and practicing brush control…

Mixing Primary Colours - NB
Mixing Primary Colours

This is a very basic colour mixing exercise. I  picked one of each of the primary colours ~ I chose to use Cadmium Red, Quinacridone Gold and Indanthrene Blue (in the top line of the chart from the left). All of them are quite strong primary colours. I then randomly mixed them together using varying quantities of pigment and water. These are just a sampling of the colours I could produce. This chart measures 5.5″ x 7.5″, but if I’d used a much larger piece of paper I could have easily quadrupled the number of different colours created. This is a fun way of learning about colour – how they mix, what different colous and shades you can produce. And it illustrates that you don’t need to buy lots of different colours, when you are just starting out with watercolour – just a few will do…

Next a fun brush control exercise:

Leaves - Brush Control - NB
Leaves in Earth Colours

I used a whole range of different earth colours for the exercise above. But it’s not about the colours, it’s about brush control. I used just one brush – a Jacksons Icon Quill size3/0. It’s a lovely brush, it holds lots of water and pigment and has a superb point.  The purpose of the exercise above was to practice working from the tip of the brush to the body and then back again to the tip again. I enjoyed painting my leaves. More brush control exercises will be on the agenda in the future…

Sketchbooks · Watercolour

Colour Study

I’ve started to create a series of colour charts in a sketch book I’ve set aside especially for the purpose. I’ve done this purely for my own personal benefit so that I have a reference guide I can refer to when creating art. They help me decide what colours and shades I want to use when planning my work and they give me an idea of which colours I need to mix get get the desired results.

Colour Chart 1 - RN

I’ve done about 12 of these charts so far and I have made myself use colours that I don’t generally tend to go for as well as my favourites – so I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone a little. I’ve found it a really interesting exercise – some colours have reacted quite differently to how I expected. I’ve used just watercolours so far but in time I will move on to some acrylics as well.

I find it inspiring to see the variety of colours all on one page – it makes it easy to see what colours work well together. It’s inspired me to use different colours, tints and shades I might not otherwise have considered.

Most of all though, creating these colour charts has been GREAT FUN!! I find it enormously relaxing and therapeutic!