It’s been a very long time but the blog is resurrected!
Having recently written a tutorial about colour mixing using a primary palette, I decided that this would be a good subject to kick start the blog with. A few years ago I decided to eject all of the unnecessary paints from my paint box in order to simplify the colour mixing process, if you’re wondering why I dismantled my beautiful looking paintbox, I found I was only actually using a small number of paints and simply didn’t need them all, also, it’s so much easier to teach students using a limited palette and it puts a stop to the idea that you always need another colour in the palette. To prove that this was a good idea to myself, I removed everything that I felt wasn’t needed and attempted to mix the same colour using primary colours, it was surprising to see how many of those colours I could match!
|The streamlined paintbox on the left and all of the un-necessary paints can be seen on the right. I swapped half pans for full pans with the most used paints.|
What is a Primary Palette
There is often a lot of confusion about what a primary palette is, the most basic form comprises just one red, one blue and one yellow, from which all secondary and tertiary colours can be mixed. However, a palette of just 3 colours will not provide the range of colours needed in many brightly coloured botanical subjects, so if you've tried that and failed - don't be put off because paint is not like the light and you'll struggle to achieve everything! My primary palette is actually quite broad with 4 yellows, 5 or 6 reds and 5 or 6 blues, any less would be too limiting for me. Since streamlining the paintbox I found that have a far greater understanding of colour mixing.
If you want to see my palette choice you can find them in my suggested materials list on my website click here.
The old paints haven't been wasted though and I've given many of them away to those that still use them but I can honestly say I haven't missed any of them.
|Some of the paintbox survivors - reds, yellows and blues, checking out their light value and saturation here by painting from full saturation to a pale watery wash.|
Making Useful Colour Charts
There is no point in making colour charts for the sake of it, they have to be useful. Once I'd removed the redundant colours, I set about making some basic colour charts mixing primary colours to make a wide range of secondaries and tertiaries, such as seen in the simple charts below. The first task included making secondary mix charts - a yellow and red chart, a blue and red chart and a blue and yellow chart. For this I used 1:1, 2:1 and 1:2 ratio mixes which gave me a large range of colours which are warmer and cooler than the 1:1 ratio.
Then I add the third primary colour to those mixes, for example adding a small amount of red to a green mix, (made from blue and yellow) can create a more natural looking green but you can also shift the balance of the same three colours to make brown or grey as well as a range of greens etc.. It became very clear that this provides everything I could ever need. I made brown and black charts using the dark value pigments mixed using thick creamy paint mixes charts and grey and white charts, using high light values colours painted as tints.
The light value of the colours and the viscosity of the mix are all important too. But thats for another post.
Putting the Charts into Practice
To use these charts, I simply place a new subject onto the most appropriate colour chart as a starting point. All the mixes have a warmer and cooler version of each mix and are painted in swatches which start at full saturation and then watered down to a tint. Below are just a few examples.
|A selection of colour charts and subjects painted using the charts mixes for guidance.|
Thank you for reading