Saturday, 8 October 2011

Colour Charts! And more Colour Charts!!

My first colour chart
Mixing so many leafy greens got me thinking about how I use colour to get the right mixes I need to make my foliage look luminous and real. The SBA leaf assignment last year needed so many different greens, it was advised to start with a colour chart of mixes.

Even with a relatively small palette of blues and yellows, with a few browns and Cadmium Red, I found a vast number of greens could be made. Acid, fresh greens with Winsor Lemon are my favourites but all are beautifully rich and complex. A great exercise that really got me thinking about colour and how we see it.

Having created a plethora of greens, I have made charts for all number of colours that I have found tricky to get right. Shadow tones are so difficult to judge, and I have found myself so often using the universal, 'botanical grey' mix of French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red. A really great tip I picked up form Jenny Jowett FSBA when trying to get the shadow mix right is to only use the colours you have used in your painting, (mix the flower colours for the flower shadows, leafy colours for leaf shadows. You get the idea). A careful mix of these colour will produce the colours of the reflected light and shadow tones in the subject, creating a more realistic blend of tone.    

My favourite Perylene Maroon, with some of the gorgeous mixes. I love using these colours as much as possible and they have been particularly useful in the latest leaf challenge. Mellow fruitfullness, I should say so!  

Keeping a record of all the mixes I make, especially when I buy a new colour or a new brand helps save time when finding the right mixes for a project. Practical help can also be found in books. The one which I find most useful and the book that many artist's recommend is Ian Sidaway's, 'Colour Mixing Bible'. Find out more about this book in the Recommended Reading page.  

Perhaps I did get a bit carried away on this one


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