Choosing Colors for Your Painting
Art tip #5
When deciding on the colors to use for a painting, it is a good idea to consider the color scheme in regards to warm and cool colors. Decide if the color scheme is to either be mostly warm colors with a smaller amount of cool, or more cool colors and a smaller amount of warm.
Having a dominance of warm or cool can help you create a mood for your painting and may help you express the feeling you had when you first saw it. Blues and greens can create a calm feeling, dark cool colors a somber mood, lively colors in reds and yellow are colors that can make you happy when you look at them.
You can see the warm and cool colors on the color wheel: the side with the red and warm yellow is warm, and the other side with the blues and greens is cool.
Each primary color will also be categorized as warm or cool. It is helpful to make a chart in your sketchbook, divided in half, of all the colors, having one side for warm and the other side for cool. When you add a new color to your palette, add a sample of this color to your list. Usually, a color that has a little red added to it will be warm, and a color with blue or green in it is cool. As an example, Ultramarine blue has a little red added to the formula, while Thalo Blue has a little green added.
UB- Ultramarine blue TB- Thalo Blue
CRL- Cadmium Red Light AC- Alizarin Crimson
CYM- Cadmium Yellow Medium CYL- Cadmium Yellow Light
This painting is mostly warm. It has a very different feeling than if I had used the more typical blues, greens, and violets for this scene. I used Ultramarine blue, Alizarin crimson, Cadmium red light, and Cadmium yellow light.
Art tip #6
Tints: Most watercolor painters use water to lighten the hue of their paints rather than opaque white watercolor or gouache. It is helpful to make a chart in your sketchbook that shows the tints of each color. This allows you to see how light a color can become and will help you in choosing your colors for your painting. One example is Cadmium Red Light. It is very intense when used right out of the tube, but when diluted, it is a beautiful, soft peach color, which I use quite often in portraits.
Try tints of all your paints in your sketchbook for a great reference tool.
"Looking Towards Willits."
I have been an artist and craftsperson all my life. I have lived in Willits for over 30 years and am very active in the art community. I have been the recipient of several arts grants and artist residencies in the local schools. I have been teaching watercolor for Mendocino College for 16 years.