Painting Day 2

Colour theory
I’m not going to repeat the intensive first session on colour theory just main points of what I learned.

I liked this session because it answered lots of questions that had appeared in my mind as fleeting thoughts from time to time during the last year but haven’t had time or thought to ask eg is it important how you lay out your palette, why are there different kinds of white…

The palette
Chris talked about palette as a ‘mental or diagrammatic thinking space’ – I liked that. You lay out your palette according to what you’re going to paint eg colours you need.

We laid out across the top a basic set – white, 2 yellows, 2 reds, 2 blues and 4 extra whites down the side. Chris talked about other colours, pigments, qualities of colours and pigments.

Using a narrow range of colours as a starting point he said is more likely to lead to cohesion of colour.

Primary colours
Yellow red blue – from which others are mixed

Orange mauve green

Brown grey

Chris uses one brush per mix – a basic point but a relief, even though having 5 brushes on the go was a bit of a nightmare with one hand.

One jar for cleaning, one for mixing. You can add linseed oil to darks.

What we did
We spent 20 minutes mixing colours to match a still life – vibrant red teapot, green and blue bottles, shiny metals, gold and black shoe.

We did a base coat of white acrylic.

We were asked to draw out the painting in paint, pencil or charcoal. We could choose to match the colours and just paint them, or use a second approach – painting the dark colours first for the first layer then building up the layers with medium the light tones. I did the second.

My painting was just about okay – was really very tired, my drawing in paint was too sketchy, didn’t have the energy to really revise it. Painting was rushed, but it was an exercise really. I like how the book looks though.


What I learned
I lack practice in colour mixing. This is an understatement as it was obvious listening to Chris that mixing colours is a lifelong discipline and set of understandings and knowledge that is fairly daunting. It was very tiring, my arm was hurting and though I started out okay my ‘mental space for thinking’ soon got into a mess, and was affected by practical issues such as getting to the sink to clean off a patch of colour that had suddenly ‘grown’ and was threatening to drip off the edge of the palette.

Judging the amount of colours to mix and how different colours work with each other is a whole issue in itself eg how a tiny bit of one colour can completely overwhelm a larger amount of another.

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