Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Color Theory



 Color Theory can be easily explained with a color wheel. Every artist, especially beginning painters, should have a color wheel. This helps reduce error in mixing paints and ingrains the primary, secondary and tertiary colors in your mind through repetition of reference. Many experienced painters can eyeball paint colors and come up with a perfect match in the new mix. Many of us that have this ability have it BECAUSE of the repetition of mixing and many are born with the talent and develop it further. First, we'll talk about primary colors. Red, Blue, and Yellow. With these three colors, you can make all of the secondary colors. If you mix red and blue, you get violet. If you mix red and yellow, you get orange. If you mix blue and yellow, you get green. Thus, the secondary colors are violet, orange, and green. Of course, if you are mixing a secondary color and have more of a lighter hue than a darker, then the resulting value will be lighter. This is just logic. For example, take a large amount of yellow and a small amount of blue. This gives you a VERY light green. Thus it follows that the reverse would be true, i.e. lots of blue and very little yellow gives you a blue-green that is more blue in hue. Spend a day with some cheap acrylics and paper plates, mixing colors, and seeing what you get. If you find a color you really like and want to use, use your palette and try to match it based on the sample you made and mix a larger quantity. if you can't get to it right away, use your spray bottle to spritz the paint and the saran wrap you should keep handy for covering the paint, and cover it. Try to get back to it within a few hours, or it may dry up on you. Once you feel you are firmly grounded in mixing colors (and it takes many people a while to feel confident with it), then you can introduce gessos, because you will then learn that the color you were working with will change depending on the amount of gesso and water you've got incorporated into the mix. My next blog entry will be about using these additives in your acrylic paints and the differences they make in your medium. Until then, get a color wheel, some cheap acrylics and play. Play with color, play with learning fundamentals, and have fun.