Art & COLORS - 4 STRATEGIES, an Artist's Guide - How to Pick and Compose | Stephanie Kilgast | Skillshare

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Art & COLORS - 4 STRATEGIES, an Artist's Guide - How to Pick and Compose

teacher avatar Stephanie Kilgast, Contemporary artist.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:43
    • 2. Observe

      2:23
    • 3. Monochrome

      10:36
    • 4. Opposition

      12:22
    • 5. Gradients

      10:46
    • 6. Rainbow

      15:30
    • 7. Skill colors Final Words

      0:57
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About This Class

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This class is fit for any artist interested in working in colors, but not quite sure how to tackle the task!
I will share with you my experience as a 10 year professional artist, explaining the composition of my own artworks.
I have always loved working with vibrant colors and over time I developed a certain amount of color strategies that I use in my own compositions.

To make this class more interactive, I also show you simple examples in watercolor for you to try out, so you finally jump over that hurdle of using more colors!
Watercolor is a great way to start getting used to colors and also to simply test out color palettes!

Stéphanie
instagram | website

c l a s s  s u m m a r y

Introduction
Observe
Monochrome
Opposition
Gradient
Rainbow
Final Words

I'm explaining the composition and strategies in my own artwork but also show practical examples through watercolors.

And here some of the tutorials I'll show during the class:

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m u s i c

Amarante http://www.youtube.com/AmaranteMusic

Meet Your Teacher

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Stephanie Kilgast

Contemporary artist.

Teacher

Inspired by natural forms, Stéphanie Kilgast’s artwork is an ode to nature and its current biodiversity. Plants, mushrooms, insects and other animals encounter in a vibrant swirl of colors under her brush or sculpting tools.

Since 2017, in her series “Discarded Objects”, she grows colorful organic sculptures on human-made objects, celebrating the beauty of nature in a dialogue with humanity, questioning the lost balance between human activities and nature.
Her work has a cheerful post apocalyptic feel to it, a reassuring reminder that nature has the capacity to grow back, if we only let it.

She built her reputation and her sculpting skills around hyperrealistic miniature food sculptures. Her wo... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello. I am stuffing a killed asked, and I have been a professional artist. For the last 10 years, I have exhibited in most continents and I have always worked in very brights colors. I wrote a tutorial book in 2013 and F recently been published on This Is Colossal. In today's video, I would like to talk with you about colors. I think that colors are what makes out the most interesting and colors also what I connect to the most when I view all the artist work. As you can see behind me, I really love colors. And in this video I want to share with you my techniques and my methods to work with colors . Because yes, I have methods to choose and pick certain colors and to work on it. I'm also going to show you on very practical example what you can achieve quickly and also in order for you to get a feel of colors. I'm going to start your teach you about monochrome and then build up strategies to add more and more colors and to pick and choose so you can build up the confidence to work with more colors in your own artwork. I really hope it's going to help you to make more colorful out and not to be afraid. Of course, the project of this class will be to pick one strategy you like and make your own artwork about it. You can follow one of the many water call examples I'm going to show you doing with class or do something that is specifically into your medium or your preferred way off doing out. It can really be anything. The only thing I am asking is to show me that you understood the ways off Working with colors. I really hope you're going to take this class, but most importantly, that you're going to enjoy it. 2. Observe: before we dive into strategies on how to use colors, I would like for you to take the time and observe the world that is around you at is the unique vision off one person. So it is very important for you to understand what colors you actually like. What colors were drawn to you? What? What do you enjoy? And it is true, the colors that you enjoy best that you are going to be able to make artwork that is uniquely you and that is also very colorful. So thinks you can start to observe in nature is pretty much anything. You can observe nature itself. Animals are good options, insects, flowers, plans, anything but also very basic and mundane things that surround you. How is your house looking? How is your garden? What about your pets? Maybe the way you dress, the closest you like even your city are the meals you like. Best land. You look with your eyes and not your brain. Actually look at the colors. May glee effort to use your eyes and not your brain. When looking at colors, for instance, trees. Your brain tells you that trees are brown but are they? If you really look at it, what are you seeing? I personally I see beige gray off course. There's some ground, but I would not say brown its dominance on the street. So start to really understand what you are seeing, the colors you are seeing and translate them into your head into actual tangible of usable colors. The sooner you understand what cause you like, the faster you can get at actually working with colors in your artwork. Don't look at pallets that are outside that people want to give you to use. These are good for exercises, and they're all fine just to losing yourself up. But they're not going to be enough for you to grow as an artist. You really need to understand that an artist's palette is extremely personal. It is their vision and their color sensibility. So this is really important to keep in mind, to grow yourself as an artist and also just to make better outwork. You really need to make the effort to look into yourself, to go deep, to understand what you like best, and to work on that 3. Monochrome: the first tragedy to work with colors is to work was just one color and all its variations . So go monochrome. This is especially efficient if you are a little bit afraid of colors and you just don't know. But calls work well together or you want to try a colors. But it seems so overwhelming, and this is also why it is my first strategy. So, apart from the ease off using monochrome, another thing that is interesting is that when you work on just one color, you can really focus on very conceptual feeling and emotions. Colors are very powerful V high course for emotions, So when you are working in Monarch Room, you're really going to give a strong emotion to your artwork. If you want something that is very energetic, you're going to go toe warm colors like orange, red or pink. But maybe you want something that is a little bit sad or with some kind of sorrow or despair. I'm going to go to the cool tones like the blues, and if you go on very bold colors, you're going to have a lot more energy than if you go to pale colors, which are going to be a lot more calm, so collectively interesting to use in your artwork and when a drone is really the first thing you want to try out. So I occasionally work on one of prune pieces like this one. This one is called I can anxiety and I've worked on very actions off blues but also a little bit off silver You want to keep a few things in mind when you are working in monochrome? What is really important is to work on variations you are not using just one blue You're using one blue as the base and then a lot off different blues to life in the artwork up. So if I go back to this blues culture, you have some blue that is very clean. Then you have some blue than is publish. You have some blue that is a little bit more pale You can't even go a little bits to the teal and turquoise So you can really play a little bits around around the blues we have your blue but if you add just a bit of red you go to the purple And if you're just a hint off yellow. You go to the two conscious you can off course. Just use whatever blues you have at home and work on those and mix them together and see how it goes. So this is something that is really important that is going to give life to you artwork. The other thing. You want to Sprinkle the different kinds of blues all over the artwork here on this yellow sculptures to this one is also I can, but it's energy. I used difference variations off yellow, and it's almost orange. At some points. I could have gone the other way, so go from yellow with a hint of green, so something that is very kind of more of a cool color. But I went with more direction orange, but that's just a choice. I wanted to give the illusion of energy, so I wanted something that was both and strong and didn't want cool colors. And so what is important? I think when you're working, Monarch Room is to use the same variation all over the peace. So not just put some orange here and then make a grade in from orange to yellow. But because this is going to give you another idea. It's going to be by color. If you're working on morning from, you really want to a bit like spices. Put them a little bit everywhere and it's going to give a sense of unity. And the last thing you want to keep in mind when working on monochrome is to unify a little bit everything at the end. So on sculptures you don't really work on highlights and shadows because they okay, you naturally. However, here I did unite everything a little bit with some white and silver, just to give it some sense of unity. And in paintings who are going to use darker shades and lighter shades. So maybe a very strong maybe, and the very lights pale blue or even white, just to put some shadows everywhere on your painting and also some highlights. And this will really unify your painting and make it work? No, I am going to show you a concrete example for you to try out a blue mushroom watercolor painting some variations. So he and this example of this blue mushroom I am using some blue, but I can add orange tents off orange to it for instance, attends off ground just to darken the color lit bits and to make it a bit more interesting . See, it's still a sort of balloon because bluest dominance the color got more interesting. And so, as you go, you can play around with other dashes of other colors to see what's what it will get you. So, of course, this is going to be very dependent on the medium you are using. I'm showing you he would want her collar, because I feel like watercolor is something that everyone has. And so it is an easy way also to test colors. If you're afraid of colors, this is a great way to start. But you can also use blues that are slightly different, maybe even at some green in its and I think to here. So he it's almost a teal blue, and it's a lot easier to work with Colors that's are very similar, like this one here, and you really don't have to bother too much about it because it's going to work because of the colors are sue because you are just working on variations off a blue, so there's not much risk involved. Another great way off. Mixing variations on an artwork or painting is to use the same variation, but on very indifference. Spots off the painting. So, as you can see, I'm using the same color here, here and here, almost a little bit on top. This will help the painting to be more cohesive. Now this painting works, but it is a little bit flats. So what I'm going to do, you know, So this applies more to watch a color. I'm going to go over certain parts and add some soccer and brown just to kind of give it some extra richness. What I did was to mix Brown with some blue, so it's kind of a very dark blue now for the back. I want something that is really dramatic. So I'm going to use this very Navy blue here, and I'm just going to add some details off blue to it. So it's it kind of lightens up, so I'm just going to play. But around with cola I paint. I drew a border, so I'm not actually using tape because I don't really like how tape looks. It's it looks to meet if you ask me, but feel free to use tape for your background. Where I'm going to do is to simply go and have a little bit of fun. But to make it really dramatic, I'm just going to come and control slightly the mushroom. You just want to be a little bit quick about it, because it's drying pretty fast since that this water column I'm working in several washers . Washers often unite picture and colors, going to make awash with the same navy balloon on the mushroom. It will be light one on certain places. Now, to give this painting some unity, I'm going to Sprinkle some whites use I put here. I left the white off the paper here, and this is very dark and romantic, and I like it. But to unifying the dark background and the mushroom, I want you at some white, so it's going to response to the white of the paper. I'm just going to hide the mushrooms. I don't put it over, and I'm simply going to use some acrylic paint 4. Opposition: The second strategy to pick and choose scholars to work with is what I like to call opposition. And to understand the position you will need to understand the color wheel. So we are starting with the primary colors. So I'm using magenta and not red simply because magenta is going to give you a much more nicer coloring. If you mix it with, then you will have blue and a nice yellow and then off course you have in between colors like orange and red and then purple. And then he teal and a nice green to compose color on the principle off opposition. You're going to take a color wheel, and as you can see, I used magenta as a primary color. Here I used magenta, blue and yellow for primary colors, and these are secondary colors, and when you are working on a position, you are working using one side and then the other side, and these are combination. That always worked really well. No matter what you do, this strategy works really well and paintings, and you can get really bright results with those like this painting where I picked orange as backgrounds and blues for the main subject, which is a cicada with growing mushrooms. And so here, As you can see, I am working like with the monochrome technique. I am picking one color, which was blue in this case, but I'm doing a lot of variations, so it's not just a single piece of blue. It's blue with a lot off turquoise and some navy. And, of course, some black and white neutrals are always okay and on the back. And I have this very sleek orange. I just used the one color at the background, which makes it off course a lot easier to come both with, because if you have a lot of variations in the subject and in the background, it's might be a little bit more difficult to composed with. But it's also is going to depend on the medium you are using. So this is acrylic could be oil painting, so it's a very thick kind of painting, and you have very vibrant and opaque colors, and in that case, I like to use very simple backgrounds. But again, it's just a matter of choice. I also used this approach in the sculpture, so it is a broken plate. I didn't break it on purpose. If you like to know more about this story, I have a video about. It's on YouTube, so I'm not going to dwell on it now. But basically I picked off course the colors that were on the plate, but on the plate there was a lot of green as well, and I decided to go just with the opposing colors, blue and orange. What I did here was to make variations off our and variations of blue and then kind of Sprinkle both everywhere. I did some kind of islands. If you are going to make those very strong colors to have an island off one cola and an island of another color, so you can have many islands. But you do want to have some kind of structure. If you mix it too much, it's just going to look a little bit money. Here's another sculpture that where you can see a little bit better, how the islands work, so I have again. It's the same color patrons I do like that pattern sits again orange and blue, and so you have one island of blue and then one off orange red and blue and etcetera. So you always have that position between those colors, which makes it easier to compose with, like in the monochrome. Once you have composed your picture, you kind of want to united somehow. So in my sculptures I always come back with some paint and at some some highlights and shadows everywhere, which helps to unify everything on this painting. What's unifies all the variations of blue is the black rich really helps to hold the piece together, and what helps to unify that very bright background. And the very cool subject is also the patron off white. Since you have a little bit off white here and so the pattern helps to unify. However, you don't really need it. It would work as well without the whites. I did it for many reasons, and it's again a personal choice, so you don't have to do that. It will work as well if you just have this on the back of the orange. Since this is already very dark and interesting, you can have a very clean but this artwork also false into the opposition category, even though we have more than just two colors So I went with very warm colors off pink and orange and basically made variations around pink and orange and then opposed it with the turquoise mints background. So it's really the same principle of as the monochrome, and this is also a good way to animal colors is to pick colors that are very close together . It could be also yellow and green, and you could oppose these two Purple Winston's. It's important to keep the color wheel in mind if you want to oppose things, really, to pick like a few colors on one side and you oppose it to one color off the other side. And now I'm going to show you a quick example off watercolor painting using green and pinks . So, like the Mona from peace, I'm starting to our different variations off green. A little bit everywhere. - Yeah , and now, to give the turtle a little bit more richness, I'm going to mix some drown with the green to have a darker shade of green and just go over certain spots to add some shadows. And now we're going to make the water, or only it's going to be an opposing color, and it's going to be pink and magenta. That should be fun. So I prefer going over to the purple when opposing a green to pink rather than read. I don't really like to mix red and green because it is too Christmassy, but that's really just my point of view in my preferences. So it's not rule you really did. You have to trust yourself as well, in terms off colors on what you like best. - And , of course, water colors are nice with washes, some going to add some wash of a very light comin. And I feel like what is lacking here is a little bit off darkness. So I'm going to add the touch off navy blue, but really just a touch. - We owe theme background turns rather dark. I'm just adding some more dark wash onto the trip now, like with the mushroom painting, I want you unify everything together. It's and since I left a lot of white space where the turtle is, I'm just going to add some whites pattern on the pink background. I'm going to use an acrylic Marcus. I'm using the German brands more tough, but there are many other ones that you can use. I just happen to like Reese, the best 5. Gradients: The next method to choose and work with colors is what I like to think as Grady INTs radiance basically are not about opposition over. You can meet very opposing colors, but really about following the call wheel. So you will start, for instance, at yellow and go over to blue through green and turquoise. So this is a rather easy way to add a lot off colors and not to make too many mistakes when you mix the colors because obviously when you're working off on variations on off one color or several colors, you can make mistakes. If you're working on Bleus Winston's, you might pick a blue that doesn't quite fit the other blues for some reason, because it's too purplish or too dark or too turquoise for all the rest, and it might be a little bit awkward on the ends. But when you are working on radiance, you are working on something that is gradual and there is reminiscent off a rainbow. But radiance can also be tricky because it can be to rain berry. And if you're trying to make artwork that still hasn't adults feel, if you are deciding to use all colors of the rainbow. It can look childish. So this is something to keep in mind when working on Grady INTs. If you're working just for yourself, then that's perfectly fine. And if the sense off your artwork is very cute and very past stallion, Reine Marie again, that is perfectly fine. But you have to be aware off the the risks off certain methods. For instance, on this one, I made a radiance that goes from a very dark navy, actually black. And so to make this kind of radiance, I simply mix the in between colors all the time. So I'm starting with blue, and I know I'm going to have turquoise, green and then yellow. And then I simply mix what comes between the blue and the turquoise to blue that is getting even lighter that changes a little bit and then from the to request to the green, always adding some variations and then from the green to go, always lighter to a yellow. Same goes for this one, which is quite a dramatic, which is a little bit more dramatic because it could have been opposing colors as we are starting with orange and we are ending in blue, but we're not in opposition here. We're really going ingredients, so it's gradually from orange to red to pink to purple to blue. Note that this time I didn't try to. You exactly used the same colors to mix. I used a pink that was a little bit more cleaner because it worked better than two makes a very dark shade off blue and a very dark shade of red. So this is something that you also need to keep in mind, that you might not always be able to use the same colors and mix in betweens. He wanted to look cohesive, but it also needs to look nice and sometimes mixing colors. We'll give you a result, but it's simply too dark. Which would have been the case here. Another example, where I'm using as well Grady INTs as what we have previously seen. Opposition is this one, so it's not pure position because I'm starting because I haven't radiated in the middle. There is some sense off progression, and I oppose it with a very dark blue background. Now, this is something that you want to keep in mind as well. Opposition works for certain things, but not so much for others. For instance, he if I had worked on opposition and I had used different variations off the orange and red and spring of them all over, it would have been a very different thing to see and understand. Whereas here since I am going gradually from the very pale yellow to the very dark Fred, it really gives the sense of progress, something that is growing so that this is something you really want to keep in mind because the chose off colors and the choice off method is going to tell a lot about what you want to say with your artwork. Another example of great int is this dragon fly that I finished not so long ago, and here I am focusing on especially cool tones. Even the pink is a very cool pink, and I simply make great in a very gradual radiance from yellow to pink. And then again, I'm going up to the yellows to make things a little bit more interesting. I'm playing a little bit around with colors, but I'm staying in the same tones and it's mostly gradual, so the radiant is not boring so it's not like, just okay. I'm starting with yellow and I'm ending with pink. I'm also playing around with dashes off unexpected colors. So I've added green a little bit everywhere, and I've added pink in the tie also, and the wings themselves are completely yellow, and the blue goose as well, bits everywhere, So it's still mostly ingredient. But there are a few unexpected things that make the painting a live with more life and a little bit more interesting. And I think that's key. To keep in mind is, do not just follow a rule and go like I'm going to make a great agent and that's it, but really to play around with some septal allegations and dashes off colors on top off the rest, just to make everything a little bit more interesting and snow for concrete example. I am going to paint a bottle, ingredients off rainbow and opposed to colorful background. - As you see, I went from yellow to purple, so using my color wheel, the opposing color is turquoise, which I will use as a background. - I do if you want to call the washers to the background. She addressed the color but also simply to add interest and better master how the background looks. - As with the previous examples, I am adding some white patterns with the acrylic marker and acrylic paint to the backgrounds to unify it with the very present white around the bottle. - And finally I end the painting by adding some shows to the bottle with a light wash off dark brown. 6. Rainbow: Now that we have covered all the basis on hard work with colors, we can go kind of nuts. For instance, on this one, I picked a lot off colors I started with, Let's say, some kind of a position. I picked blue but slightly turquoise background, and I opposed it to mostly pink. Subject the subject. However, it's not just Ping. It also has a lot of different variations in them. So I stayed in the shades that surrounding pink, so I went to the orange and yellows. But I also went to the purple. What trick I have really mixing much colors that are very opposing is to have tiny grey agents all over. I have Grady in that goes from red to orange of the legs. That doesn't mean that you cannot oppose colors in it, because in a way, the whole subject is all about opposition. Adding unexpected colors will lighten up a picture a little bit. So in the wing here, for instance, I'm adding bits off yellow in the middle of a pull off red and things, but also bits off blue in this ramping, and this just kind of life ends up the whole picture and subject. Then you can also work on all colors and have the whole rainbow in your artwork. And this, I think, is the most difficult. Some going to give you a few tips on how to make that work. Now when you are working with the rainbow, one thing you want to keep in mind is that all colors need to have a about the same brightness, and you don't want to use too many colors. It seems like a lot of colors, but you still have. You have pink, you have orange. You have some kind off purplish blue and a nice green. And then I simply springing out the same colors all over this culture. And this is what is going to make it sort of coherence. If you are having a lot of colors, you want to Sprinkle the same variations, the same colors all over you artwork. So you have some sense off unity among your artwork. So one thing that you should avoid, especially if you are starting to work on colors, is to use one color just once in your artwork. If you are using a lot of colors, it's a lot easier to spring ill the same pink here than here. Then here the same two crews here, here, here and everywhere, which will help give you a cohesive look. And, of course, but this is true for all outworks. You want to end and unify everything with some kind of neutrals in sculptures. Usually you are going to go in with whites and some black or dark brown to kind of give the shadows and highlights, and this will help to unify everything. And now let me show you how to paint in rainbow colors. I picked acrylics because it's easier to show you how the mixing works, but feel free to try this out with watercolors. As you will see, my process is very interested. I hope it will give you the courage to just start doing so. The idea here is to use five very bright colors, and she add an undertone to kind of unify the colors I usually like to mix in between colors. So here, for instance, I'm going to use a bit off orange and yellow and then add a little bit off reds to best. You really want to use a palette knife when mixing your colors and also blue and red, which is going to give us a very dark, almost wrong and the green. And then I'm also going to add some whites through the pellets so you see a five color so far and whites, and what I am doing here is just preparing some different kinds of shadings and see if we're going to be able to to mix them together. E made a very rough mixes, but let's start and see how it use the idea here to try and mix colors that seemingly don't really go well together is tomb like with the Mona from technique to kind of Sprinkle them around. The picture now I picked called is pretty much at random. I'm going to show how I can make this work just also tomb kind of give you some visions that it's not that difficult, just kind of need to try it. And what I like to do is to make kind of Grady INTs off all my variations. And he, for instance, the purple I'm adding more red because I feel like it's not a good color, so I'm working really fast here I'm not giving too much attention to detail simply because I'm trying to work on colors. Now I've started to work on a pallet that is warm and so the blue and green are too cool for me. So what I'm going to do is to add a little bit more off yellow to the makes to get a green that is a little bit more grass green. Same for the mint, because curently, I'm I'm starting to have yellow as an under tuned to all my colors. For instance, the green I picked is the flock to dark green, so adding in some yellow is going to make it work better with the rest of the bullet. I'm really working on the go here to show you how you can work in your artwork. I think it's a lot off reassessing e never really know where I'm going when I'm starting to pains on to sculpt with colors, have a vague idea of the colors I wants, But then I simply compose on the go. And so I'm trying to share this year you so you understand a little bit better how I might be working way. I really want you add some blue to this. And so since the boo is very dark shade, and right now it just doesn't really fit. What I'm going to do is at some whites to its and also a bit off yellow to make it more light minutes. So he is. See what I have done. I am. I'm really working as yellow is my under tune to most of my colors. And so the blue transformed into this lights mints just to fit the rest of the palate. And so now I have kind of a summery theme to my mushroom. So that point, you might be a little bit afraid I'm not, but you might be a little bit afraid off the result. The end result, because it's looking really colorful, and for now, it's not super cohesive. I mean, sure this It's the undertones. It's not shocking. The brightness is about the same, but still it is extremely colorful. Don't worry. And the end we're going to unify everything with some neutrals, black and whites. Also, another thing you can add like dashes off blue just to liven up the mint. A little bit like here. No way I would say the most important thing he is. Do not be afraid to just try things out. Also, I know it's a rule that you're not supposed to mix colors directly onto the paper of the canvas, but I do it all the time because I feel that it's a lot easier to work with colors that way , then to mix the exact collis you need on your palate and then oppose it to your paper. And I think it's also important to understand that they asked a certain set off rules that exist in the art world. But it doesn't mean that you have to follow all the rules perfectly. So just the thing to keep in mind and to stay playful in your practice. Yeah, I added some direct blue for the shadows on , and I'm going to say it again. But when working with so many different colors, it's really important. Sprinkle variations off those colors over the painting and here for the mushroom cap, I'm making a Grady int. When working with many colors, you're basically making variations around radiance and opposition, and now we're going to add some black and whites to unify everything So what I do is to use black and the nice, Mix it with the same color, and I simply add shadows and some details and textures. White also is a powerful way to unify painting through highlights and also to separate certain colors way and no, I am adding shadows to this, them slower than usual, which will give you the time to do you think about your color. Since you composed them, you can also use water collars. I used acrylics because I thought it was easier for you to visualized the color mixing. 7. Skill colors Final Words: now these are all the strategy I use on a regular basis and my own artworks. They're not fixed rule, so you can play around with them and tweet them to your liking. I think it's also really important for you to understand what color's your most driven to, because if you are picking colors that you like visually, you also going to be able to work better on them. If you love blue, then by all means go and work on blue. If you love orange and really warm cola students, and once you are confident in the colors you like best, then maybe it's time to try another color. And just to spice things up. And since you're wrong, I have a bunch of other classes here on skill share that you might want to check out my post about one class of months. And I have a couple of videos on scale. Shall re can also follow me on social media. I go everywhere under the Monica. I hope this class was fun for you and that you learned a ton and I hope to see in my next class bye