|Color-mixing chart with colored pencils|
If you’ve done anything with watercolor at all, or even if you haven’t but you hang out on watercolor-related websites, then surely you know of Jane Blundell, queen of all watercolor mixing. Her blog is an unbelievable wealth of information on everything related to watercolors, especially paint pigments and what they look like when they’ve been mixed with other paints. Sometimes I go there just for the eye candy.
Several years ago when I took a brief watercolor class, I made a color wheel and small mixing chart for the primary palette we were using. I found the exercise interesting, but I didn’t understand enough about color temperature and other color properties to go beyond what we learned in class. And as much of a junkie as I am in terms of craving color in my immediate surroundings, I haven’t felt particularly compelled to make color-mixing charts for my vast quantities of colored pencils.
This week in the colored pencil class I’m taking, we focused on color mixing, and part of our homework is to make several color-mixing charts of the type Jane would be pleased by. Now that I’ve read a few art technique books and have some years past that brief watercolor class, I think I finally understand enough about color to learn from making color wheels and mixing charts.
An interesting aspect of colored pencils that we talked about in class is that their hues are mixed optically rather than physically. Unlike yellow and blue watercolor paints that are literally mixed together to make green, pencils are layered and remain independent hues, but our eyes experience them as a new color. The effect is closer to layering transparent glazes of watercolor rather than mixing liquid paints.
Shown above is my basic mixing chart (if you were expecting a neatly ruled grid, sorry – that would be Jane’s blog! 😀). I selected a warm and a cool shade in each of the three primaries plus green and then mixed them into the various permutations. The next chart I make will combine three primaries to achieve various grays, and mix each primary with its complement to make additional grays or browns.
If today’s sunshine continues into the weekend, I’m going to have a problem staying indoors to finish my homework! (But this part of the homework is so much easier than the second part – drawing a partly cloudy sky!)