Because of my love of color charts, I have been affectionately called “The Color Chart Queen” by my students. Recently I came across the moniker “Color Chart Junkie” which I find much more fun and appapros. Are you a club member?
What is a junkie? Here are a couple of definitions:
Why Are Color Chart Exercises Invaluable?
- They help solve painting problems.
- They serve as life long reference materials.
- They are a great way to discover color mixtures.
- They help to keep you color focused within a painting.
- You can see the true color versus relying on the label.
- Your color confidence increases.
- They help unlock the mysteries of color.
As proof to my color chart junkiness, let me show you a number of different color charts that I have created over the years. This sample is very small and will give you a mere peek into my addiction. And by the way, I don’t have them organized in any way, though I know that many painters do. These charts come in all sizes and I have duplicated many of them as I have evolved from working in watercolor to oils and to acrylics.
This first color chart is about mixing greens using just four tubes of paint. My blog, “Mix Greens Easily Without Tubes of Green Paint,” describes my strategy. Look at the variety of greens I can mix with just a few colors. I have made this chart in oils, acrylics and watercolors and loved the results.
This next chart was probably created some 25 years ago as I explored the characteristics of my watercolors. The directions can be found at “Color Transparency & Opacity Revealed!” I learned which of my pigments were transparent and which were opaque.
Here is a color chart that I made up for my color workshops. Students explore analogous colors by floating in hues that are next to each other on the color wheel. The circle areas are wet or have medium in them to facilitate a natural blending. Students always discover their favorite analogous combinations by painting this chart.
There is a constant discussion about warm and cool colors in our world. I came up with the idea to create two color wheels using different primary colors. The one on the left uses only cool primaries and one on the right uses only warm primaries. It is one way that I prove that a red-blue is a warm blue and a green-blue is a cool blue. These wheels also show the resulting secondary color mixtures created from the original primary colors.
For the more advanced painter, I encourage creating a value scale chart. It’s a wonderful exercise in seeing. This particular chart was created by mixing many chips of acrylic rainbow colors and then cutting them into 1″ squares. I then arranged them into value steps. You can see that the third step of the yellow is not correct! It needs to be darker.
And one of my favorite color charts is what I call my Chromatic Scale Chart. By matching up pairs of color complements, you can discover all of the luscious color mixtures you may not have known existed. My color students are always surprised by what they learn when they do this color exercise which is described in my blog, “Complementary Colors are Dancing Partners.”
In my humble opinion, the most important chart is what I like to call the “Pigment Chart.” This is the chart you keep handy because you can truly see each hue. For directions read “How to be Intimate with Your Colors & Why.” This shows only my reds and I have a separate chart for my blues and yellows.
When I buy a new tube or bottle of paint, I always add it to my pigment chart. For example, I just ordered a bunch of fluid acrylics from Holbein and cannot wait to see what they look like. In addition, I have never used this brand for acrylics. I will create a separate chart just for fluid paints.
And finally, I end with a color chart that shows swatches of color I planned to use in a painting. This is the color palette for, “Deepen the Journey” I usually determine my color palette before I begin a painting. It helps me stay focused with my color choices. I find this liberating, not limiting. And, if I decided to add another hue as the painting progresses, then I do.
Which of the above color charts will do next? Describe a color chart that you find valuable. Aren’t the possibilities are endless?
If you are not already a member, will you join the Color Chart Junkie Club?
If you are interested in learning more about color mixing, check out my online video course, “Acrylic Color Mixing Made Easy!” All media are welcome because the basic principles of color apply.
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