In one of my classes last night we got to talking about color - how to combine, what works with what etc.
Color wheels have fascinated me since I first started painting at age 16. My Mom enrolled me in tole painting classes at Maude's Tole Shop in Webster Groves. Back then, almost all tole was done with oils. Our first assignment with Maude was to paint a color wheel.
We used 3 primary colors: red; blue; yellow
and then worked with those colors to create the wheel.
Having found this image on a clothing site, it works well to illustrate how colors work together. If you use the 3 primary colors, you can blend almost any other color you want except black and white.
It doesn't matter what medium you're using - oil based paints, water based paints, markers or chalk - the theory is the same.
Mixing 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow in equal parts = orange
Mixing 1/2 red and 1/2 blue in equal parts = purple
Mixing 1/2 blue and 1/2 yellow in equal parts = green
Changing the portions will change the color density. It's that simple.
No matter what medium you choose, if you want to highlight an image, add more of the lighter color. Shadowing = add more of the darker color.
A few other tips I learned at Maude's:
- To highlight red, add a bit of yellow. Some want to add white, however, white added to red = pink. If you want to keep the intensity of true red, add just a bit of yellow.
- Black + yellow = green. Black + red or blue = purple. Since there is really no *true* black, adding primary colors to black leads to other colors. It's fun to experiment. If you want to try this, start with just a teeny dab of black. It goes a long way!
- Start light. It's much easier to add dark colors than it is to take them away.
When working with watercolors, drag water onto a seperate sheet of paper or palette. Adding more water = less intense color. Less water = color will be more intense. Using water will help with shadows and highlights.
Don't be afraid to experiment. When I first started painting, I worked everything on artist tissue paper. It was great practice.
Hope this helps and happy coloring!