When I found out that our second art bundle in Studio Journeys was going to be about working with color constraints, I was a little disappointed. I've done so many color wheel studies and done paintings using only compliments or analogous colors, and I assumed we would be doing more of those. I am so thrilled that Nancy Hillis took a different approach.
We started by using only secondary colors. That never occurred to me to even try. We mixed purple and green, purple and orange, and green and orange as the basis for our palette, and then mixed in black, white and two grays. The secondaries produced a gorgeous range of colors with lots of earthy, subtle blends.
I decided to follow my friend Paula's example and keep good notes in a notebook. Beside each palette study I did a small color study painting. Those led to lots of different questions for more exploration. What if I emphasized purple instead of green, what if I emphasized the dark values or the brighter intensities? These experiments give way for a whole range of painting ideas.
This first mix is from Golden's Permanent Violet dark and Utrecht Veridian hue (a color that has always been way too harsh on its own, but it produced some gorgeous blends.)
Golden's Permanent Violet dark mixed with Golden's Cadmium Orange.
And Utrecht Viridian Green with Golden's Cadmium Orange
After I did those initial studies, I wondered what would happen if I started with a different version of the secondaries. I grabbed some different tubes and started blending, then mixed each blend with a little white. I then chose one of my favorite combinations to do another small study.
Green and Violet blends.
Violet and Orange.
Green and Orange.
I got a little obsessed doing these as I found the results quite delicious. It feels like I now have a shortcut to the perfect color. I spend so much time mixing the perfect dusty aqua, for example, with a bit of this and a bit more of that. Now I can get a head start on it by starting with the right secondaries.
It was also the perfect little quick project for the month. With my son home from college and lots of Christmas activities going on, I couldn't focus on anything much bigger than this. Happy Holidays Everyone!