This exercise was all about mixing different colours and trying them out to see the results. I spent a lot of time playing around with colours (especially grey) whilst working through the book Colour: A workshop for artists and designers by David Hornung, as detailed in this post. That work was mostly done in gouache, but I also spent sometime experimenting with didffernt mediuims eg. oils, watercolours and acrylics as shown here.
The above pieces were worked in gouache, firstly I picked two complementary colours and white, then mixed them all together to make a neutral grey for the background.Then the colours were mixed in varying proportions to create an example of the range of hues and values that are obtainable from mixing ultramarine blue and orange. This way of mixing colours produces a palette of colours that work well together as shown in the geometric design I painted afterwards. This was a very fun but time consuming exercise so next I created a hue chart using acrylic paint, which was much quicker.
I’m not sure if this hue chart is more comprehensive or less. It obviously shows the effects of combining more colours, but only at full saturation. It also only shows what happens when you mix shades of the three primary colours – red, blue and yellow. I chose to use both a warm and cold shade of each colour, eg. Vermilion red/crimson, Ultramarine blue/pthalo blue, lemon yellow/cadmium yellow, to see what differences it would make. It turns out that the different yellows and blue produce quite different results when mixed together. I find this chart is a very helpful starting point for quickly looking up how to approximatly make a colour, but lacks the detailed information of the dot inventory so I think I may try to produce a few more of those.
My course also specifies mixing colours with black to see what effect that has, this is something I never do, I always mix in a complimentary colour to darken the colour I’m using – or sometimes a grey I’ve mixed myself, as I always find black takes all the vibrance and light out of a colour, so I decided to try that out next too! I’m not totally against black, I do use it, but normally as a separate contrast or outline.
First I made some simple scales for hue, value and saturation, mostly so I can easily look back and remember which one is which. Then I moved on to experimenting with how to mix colours to make them darker. I took five bright saturated colours, and in turn tried mixing them with black, grey and a complimentary hue from the colour wheel. They all gave different results, I didn’t really discover a favorite way of making the colours darker, but I would note that the black didn’t mix very well with the yellow, and it came out a green colour instead.
This next exercise involved mixing and matching colours from a piece of fabric, then painting next to it so you can’t tell where the fabric ends and the paint begins. I thought this was a very interesting exercise – the example made it look like the fabric was melting onto the paper – so I cut out a few different pieces of fabric to try. I have to say I gave up in the end, colour matching is very difficult and it became incredibly boring. I did manage to get quite a bit done before I gave up though so its not a total loss!
Exercise 3 involved colour matching from reference images, the instructions said to use a viewing frame to pick one small area to work from, but oops I didn’t read that bit until after I’d done these so I guess I’ll have to do some more! The first one is called Little Wonder by Nel Whatmore. I chose acrylic paints to try this, as I thought I might be able to paint the lighter colours back over the dark if necessary but I was wrong, Only the white would cover the dark areas, so if there wasn’t white in the colour mixed then it just disappeared into the darker colour beneath it. So I kept mixing up a matching colour, realising it wouldn’t show up, then adding white and having to remix the entire colour! I also thought it might me more helpful to show all my colour test patches this time, in exercise 2 I just did them on some scrap paper and threw them away.
This second image is called Love & Wonder by Lawrence Coulson, I absolutely adore the colours used in this painting – they have such a glow to them! My version doesn’t have the fantastic smudged blending that the original has, but then I used a big brush in an effort to keep my copy simplistic, I didn’t want to get caught up in copying every little detail. I was actually really pleased with how this one turned out, it has an impressionistic quality to it. Each copy took about an hour so even though my aim was for quick simplistic copies the colour matching requires time and concentration.
I didn’t enjoy this exercise at all, and it was very very time consuming. These two pictures are the result of an entire afternoons work! I guess with practice they would be much quicker, and I probably tried too hard to make the paintings look like the objects in front of me, but the one time I tried not to bother about it and just capture the colours (the blue cylinder), I gave up after a while as it just seemed messy to me. This was once again done in acrylic paint.