Color Theory Goes to the Birds – #Watercolor #Shizen #ColorTheory

Nope. This time the birds aren’t for the ’52 Weeks of Watercolor Birds’ event.  They were done in my watercolor class.

Color theory is a main focus in Kathy Delumpa Allegri’s Winter 2016 Watercolor session. In the second class, we practiced Color Harmony and Color Mixing.

I was so proud of myself.  The night before class, I mixed all my secondary colors (Orange, Violet & Green) using three primaries (Aureolin Yellow, Cobalt Blue & Quinacridone Rose).  I made the mixes nice and juicy, figuring they would solidify overnight.  Except they didn’t.

No problem, I thought.  I’ll just lay them flat in the case and be careful.  Only I forgot and when I got to the studio, I pulled my case out of the car by one corner, and started heaving it into class.  I remembered a moment later, but….  well, you can see what happened.

So the class plan was to do three paintings of the same bird, using three different color schemes of our choice.  
My plan was to use up some of the spilled paint.  
My blue was totally wiped out, and the main color spilled and mingled was a reddish-orange.  I didn’t quite see the makings of Primary *Triad. but I was close to one. To get an actual Primary Triad, I should have used Cobalt Blue, but  Cobalt Teal just seemed more right to me.The other two colors were Aureolin Modern and Quinacridone Rose.  
* Using the color wheel for my explanation, a triad is any three colors that form an equilateral triangle on the wheel.  Primary colors are Yellow, Red & Blue, so a Primary Triad would be one using those three colors.  A Secondary Triad would be made of an Orange, Green, and Violet and so on, around the wheel. 

Next up I tried a Split Complementary.  Complementary colors are any two colors that are directly across from one another on the color wheel.  The color to the left of Orange is Orange Red.  To the right is Orange Yellow.  So I used Phthalo Blue, Orange Red and Orange Yellow.

For my last painting, I was aiming for a *semi-triad of Violet, Yellow-Orange and Blue-Green.  My colors got muddy very quickly.  I was using mixes I had made, so I think my mixes were off, thus making the semi-triad not so much a triad.

*With a semi-triad, you shift over two positions on the color wheel for two of your colors.  Starting with Violet: for a secondary triad, I would choose Orange and Green.  Since I want a semi-triad, I moved two colors to the right from Orange to get Yellow Orange.  Instead of Green, I go to the right and choose Blue-Green.

All of these paintings were done using a mix of Qor, Daniel Smith and M Graham paints.  I used a 3/4 inch Silver Black Velvet Oval Cat’s Eye brush on Shizen Hot Press watercolor paper.

Shizen watercolor paper is a handmade rag paper from Nepal.  It has an interesting texture, and it’s very easy to lift color.  It comes in both a professional and a student grade, as well as in a rough (cold-press) and smooth (hot-press) surface.  I always use the professional grade, and the smooth version here.  And even though it’s the smooth version, it is still pretty rough.


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