Saturday, April 26, 2014


Watercolor Project: From My Garden
Week 3

I am hoping that all of you have the background in and the first light washes on your veggies, in the last class we worked on increasing the intensity of the color (the brightness or depth of a color) and to establish the shadow areas of by increasing their values (lightness or darkness of an area). Shadows create form and some of these vegetables have bumps or ribs on them that will have darker areas at the bottom of the bumps and lighter at the top. This is just another layer of wash and not the finishing touches, that may come next week, for now, try to keep your whole painting at the same level by working around your painting and NOT finishing as you go.

Again, I don’t have the time to go for a stroke by stroke narrative of each element of this project, basically the technique is the same throughout, you just need to change color depending on what you are working on or if it is light or dark. All of the veggies have a base color such as orange or yellow or green, this will be where you start with your color and to that you will add color to darken and slightly gray the colors for now, like I said, this is not the finished painting, we still have some work to do to establish our values.

To gray a color or to create a shadow or form shadow color, you will need to add a form of the colors complimentary color. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the color wheel there are 3 primary colors: Blue, yellow and red and they are on the thirds of the wheel. If you mix equal
parts midway between each of the primary colors you get secondary colors: Green, orange and purple. Green is between blue and yellow, orange is between red and yellow and purple is between blue and red, these secondary colors are directly across from a primary color: Red – Green, Blue – Orange, Yellow – Purple. This is the simple version, there are whole courses on color and color theory and volumes of books if you want to know more, but for our purposes this is what you need to remember. So when I say to create a shadow color or a grayed color, what I mean is to add its compliment or some form of its compliment.

Most of you don’t have any trouble mixing mud, it is very easy to do your color just needs to have all 3 primary colors present and they cancel each other out creating a muddy gray color, usually not the color we want. The way to create a softer grayer color is to start out with the color you want – say green – to gray the color you will need to add red or something with red in it like sienna or purple, depending on what you need. The red or sienna, which is in the orange family, or orange these will gray the color but not change its value too much (values is the lightness or darkness of a color), purple will not only change the color but can change the value to a darker form of green. Conversely, if you are working with red, you will add some form of green to gray the color.

The key to color mixing, especially when you are learning, is to sneak up on the color you want. Some colors like sienna, purple, pthalo blue or pthalo green are very potent colors and little amounts go a very long way, for instance if you were trying to add purple to gray the yellow for the zucchini you would NOT want to mix them in equal amounts or you would get a grayed purple, even 10 yellow to 1 purple may be too much but it is a much better place to start than 1:1.
You may also want to build up layers of color the create the intensity of the color and the values, trying to go from “a” right to “z” can create more of a problem than adding a few more steps. Watercolor needs patience especially when you are learning, as you build on your skills and knowledge, working faster will come automatically because you will know just how much you can do without causing yourself more problems. Be patient.

I did increase the values in my background by starting in the corners with a darker version of the color that was there and adding water as I got closer to the area of light and at PV I did start adding in some of my shadows and started working on the wood table both which I will show Torrance on Monday. Get your painting as far along as you can and I will see you next class.

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