Modern Color Theory: Master Color Mixing for Watercolors | Aima Kessy | Skillshare
Drawer
Search

Playback Speed


  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Modern Color Theory: Master Color Mixing for Watercolors

teacher avatar Aima Kessy, Top Teacher | Dainty Rebel

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

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

    • 1.

      Introduction

      2:16

    • 2.

      Class Overview

      1:55

    • 3.

      Class Materials

      1:16

    • 4.

      Color Recipe Book Project

      4:24

    • 5.

      Traditional + Modern Color Theory

      13:09

    • 6.

      Modern Color Models

      9:13

    • 7.

      Basic Mixing Method I

      10:51

    • 8.

      Basic Mixing Method II

      9:40

    • 9.

      Secondary Color Mixing Range

      5:49

    • 10.

      Mixing Darks + Neutrals

      9:37

    • 11.

      Tints, Tones & Shades

      2:51

    • 12.

      Color Matching

      3:34

    • 13.

      Playful Experiments

      2:29

    • 14.

      Reflective Practice

      1:24

    • 15.

      Your Favorite Colors

      2:11

    • 16.

      Final Notes + Thank You!

      1:16

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.

3,359

Students

56

Projects

About This Class

If you are seeking to level-up your watercolor mixing game and develop the confidence to mix any shade of color you want, this class is for you!

In this class you will learn effective paint mixing strategies and equip yourself with a modern view of color theory. In the process, you will create your very own Color Recipe Book to aid you in your color mixing adventure!

Key skills you will learn:

  • a new way of approaching color mixing ideas
  • how to incorporate modern color theory frameworks into practice
  • basic mixing strategies to mix the color you want every time
  • how to use a limited palette to create a range of color contrasts
  • develop your intuitive color sense through some fun color exercises
  • best practices you can incorporate and personalize into your own workflow
  • color mixing confidence!

Whether you're a beginner, color enthusiast, or experienced artist, this class is a great place to start refining your intuitive color mixing skills!

Happy learning! ♥

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Aima Kessy

Top Teacher | Dainty Rebel

Top Teacher


Hi, I'm Aima!
I am a watercolour artist and creative educator based in Brisbane, Australia.
I have a background in Animation and Early Childhood Education, and currently teach art classes on Skillshare as a Top Teacher.

I am inspired by nature, books, animals and have an avid interest in health and wellness.
My favourite things to paint are uplifting quotes and succulents from my garden. Both these subjects centre around my journey of self-discovery, healing and personal growth over the years.

As someone who has struggled with mental health, I promote self care and compassion, and reconnecting with oneself through art and creative self-expression.

I teach watercolour classes with the aim of helping others understand an... See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
    Exceeded!
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Have you ever tried mixing your paints based on a color wheel but did not get the results you were hoping for? Or do you know a lot of mixing recipes but still struggle to mix your paints confidently? Or perhaps you simply want to develop your intuitive color sense. If you answered yes to any of these, then this class is for you. Hi, I'm Aima Kessy. I'm artist and creative educator here on Skillshare with a background in animation and early childhood education. In this class, I share with you the skills and practical methods of how to mix your watercolor paints with more ease and control. You will learn to approach color mixing ideas through a new lens, and develop the confidence to mix any shade of color you need. Color theory is often the first thing students are taught when learning about color mixing. However, most traditional color theories are based on ideas from the 18th century, which can be quite limiting and confusing, especially for a beginner. In this class, we will explore an updated color theory with modern tools and frameworks that can help you better navigate the paint mixing landscape. Most importantly, I will demonstrate how you can actually apply these tools and methods as we worked through some fun color exercises. For your class project, you are going to create your very own color recipe book where you can document all your fun exploration of color and paint. By the end of this class, you will not only have a ton of swatch experiments and a beautiful catalog of colors, but you will also be equipped with the skills required to strengthen your instinctive color mixing muscles. If you're completely new to watercolors, I would recommend watching my essential tools and techniques class before starting on this class. That being said, this class is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced painters looking to expand on your creative process. I hope you join me in levering up your color knowledge and color mixing skills so that in time, you can start mixing your paints more confidently and intuitively. 2. Class Overview: While this class focuses on paint mixing, the subject of color is immensely vast that it overlaps with other fields, such as physics, biology, art, psychology, culture, and language. I find this extended world of colors really fascinating. It has deepened my appreciation for the history and science of color. But it has also allowed me to approach my own practice with a different lens that is more open to possibilities. I will cover related topics in a nutshell, but I'll also provide some links in the projects tab for further reading. Theory gives us a framework to organize and contextualize complex ideas. It also gives us a common ground to talk about color and to discuss how it can be used. Practice an actual painting experience is, of course, key to mastering your paints. However, it doesn't hurt to have a bit of theoretical knowledge as a guide, because it can help with learning more efficiently, which in turn can save you some time and cost on materials. Remember, there are more ways than one to mix colors. There is no right or wrong method, only a working method that gets you the results you are after. This class is simply presenting another way of learning how to mix your paint more effectively. Besides, it's always good to have more skills in your toolbox. It allows you to consider more options and more possibilities when confronted with a problem. My hope is that you approach this color exploration with a spirit of play and experimentation. Use what works for you, discard what doesn't, experiment, improvise, and personalize your practice. 3. Class Materials: Here are some of the tools and materials you'll need for this class. Some watercolor paints, a small and medium round brush, and some watercolor pads or journals. I used good quality student grade paper that comes as spiral pads for both the color exercises and for the color recipe book. I will show a quick demo of how to create the color recipe book in the next lesson. You can also use your artists grade papers for some of these small practice paintings so you get a feel for how your paints will look and perform on a paper that you would actually use for a final painting. You'll also need some water, a mixing palette, some paper towel or cotton rag, a pencil, an eraser, and a ruler. The extra materials you'll need for the color recipe book are a pair of scissors or blade, some PVA glue, two hinged ring binders, a hole puncher, some thick card stock or cardboard for the covers, and some printed fabric to decorate your cover, which is optional. You can also find a list of these materials in the class resource section. 4. Color Recipe Book Project: I am honestly so excited about this class project. This color recipe book is essentially where you will be cataloging all your fun exploration of color and paints. As you work through each color exercise, you are going to record the color recipes that you found useful in this handy reference journal. Finally, you are going to swatch a page of your favorite color mixtures out of all the mixing experiments you've done. I would suggest using a designated color mixing journal for your test swatches and all your mixing experiments. This journal would be a place to just experiment freely to test out your swatches and color combos without worrying about the end results or being perfect, neat and tidy. A place for you to just play and experiment to your heart's content. The color recipe book is more of an organized version of the color mixtures you've experimented with in the mixing journal. Any pigment combinations that you might want to use in a painting and that you would like to refer back to easily, those swatches will go into the recipe book for easy access. I intentionally split the two and have one for experimenting freely and the other for organizing and cataloging the color mixtures that inspire me. This system works for me, but if you prefer to combine the two into one journal, by all means, go for it. Next I'm going to show you a quick demo of how I created the color recipe book that I used in this class. Now you don't have to create yours in exactly the same way. You can customize the size and materials to your liking. You can also use ready-made watercolor journals if that's easier for you. I chose to use these hinged ring binders so that I could easily customize it and add or remove pages as I go. Before we get started, make sure you've got all the materials listed in the previous lesson, good and ready to go. For my color recipe book, I decided to use the Jackson's cold press watercolor paper that comes as a spiral pad because it's good quality, affordable and it suits my needs. [MUSIC] I have a piece of paper here already cut to the size I want, which is about nine by six inches and I'm going to use this as my measuring guide so I'll know where to cut later, [MUSIC] Then I'll cut each paper to size using a paper cutter but you can also use a blade or whatever tool you have that can get the job done. For the cover, I just used the thick cardboard cover from the watercolor pad earlier and cut it down to size as well. Next, I marked the center of the pages so that the hole punches will be aligned. [MUSIC] For the final step, simply bind the pages together with a ring binder and you're all set. Now you can add or remove pages easily to curate your color recipe book. This step is optional, but if you are up to customizing the cover of your color recipe book, you can use any piece of fabric you like, cut it down to size and then glue it on with some PVA glue. [MUSIC] I marked where the holes were on the cardboard cover and just used a blade to carefully cut an opening big enough for the ring binders to go through. [MUSIC] That's it. The only thing left is to fill it up with your color recipes. 5. Traditional + Modern Color Theory: In this lesson, we are going to address some of the limitations and common misconceptions still taught in traditional color theory today. So what is color theory? Simply put, color theory is a framework of concepts formulated to explain color mixing and color design ideas. Why do artists need to talk about color accurately and clearly? The quote Bruce MacEvoy from handprint.com. "Simply because how we talk about color, affects how we understand color and how we understand color, affects how we identify, manipulate, and use colors in painting". Now, you're probably already familiar with basic color theory. If you've taken a watercolor class or two here on Skillshare. I myself have included brief explanations of traditional color theory in my previous classes. But in my own journey to understand more about colors and how to mix my paints more effectively, I discovered new and better frameworks that replaced an outdated way of thinking about colors. So let's look at where some of these old ideas can be limiting and address them with more current information. Let's start with the color wheel, which is central to traditional color theory framework. The color wheel is used to visually represent how colors can be ordered, related to each other, and combine to create new colors. A basic color wheel consists of 12 hues that are grouped into the following: primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors. This hierarchy of colors forms the basis of a basic color mixing formula. Mixing two primary colors creates a secondary color. Mixing a secondary color and an adjacent primary color creates a tertiary color. Mixing all three primaries results in a neutral or near black mixture. I personally think the color wheel is still a handy tool to have. However, one of the limitations of traditional color theory is that it promotes the idea of fixed and symmetrical color relationships. The logical order of colors on the wheel is a helpful and important guide. But the idea that we have to arrange colors in a perfectly symmetrical order is often a result of thinking about colors in a purely conceptual way. This focus gets in the way of learning about colors in terms of specific paints and their unique effects when combined on paper. An example of this can be seen when pairing complementary colors together, which are colors on the opposite side of the wheel. Complementary colors are said to be pairs of colors which when combined or mixed, cancel each other out and produces an achromatic color like white, black, or gray. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest visual contrast by enhancing or altering the appearance of the other. These definitions are not inaccurate. But in traditional color theory, the difference between visual complementaries and mixing complementaries are not clearly defined. Visual complementaries relates to color vision and the way we visually perceive contrasting color. The use of visually contrasting colors plays a huge role in color harmony and design. Harmonious color combinations are subject to personal taste and style, which is why there are many different color models. Each base on a different plausible definition of complementary colors. Mixing complementaries, on the other hand, relates to the actual pairing of pigments, inks, or dyes that mix to create an achromatic or near neutral gray or black. Remember, material paints do not function in the same way as conceptual colors. The idea of fixed complementary color relationships in traditional color theory is often very limiting when it comes to understanding how to mix darks and neutrals effectively. We will explore more on mixing complementaries in the mixing darks and neutrals lesson. Next, let's look at primary colors. The traditional primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. But you might have also come across different color models with different primary colors such as cyan, magenta and yellow, and red, green, and blue. What's the difference? Red, yellow, and blue are considered the traditional primary colors used by artists from the past. The RYB model is an example of a subtractive color model. Subtractive color mixing describes the colors that result when light absorbing materials such as pigments, inks, or dyes are mixed. The CMY model is also a subtractive color model. It is often used in color printing with the addition of a black key ink, usually known as the CMYK color model. Thanks to the advancement in pigment manufacturing technology, these modern pigments replace the traditional primaries in the printing industry. Due to the wider range of color mixtures they were able to produce. Mixing subtractive primaries together results in a dark neutral mixture. Since each pigment is capable of absorbing and reflecting back different portions of light wavelengths, the more pigments we combine, the more light wavelengths are absorbed, which will cause the mixture to be perceived as a near black or dark mixture. The RGB color model is an additive color model. Additive mixing involves combining different light wavelengths to create a range of colors. Our computers, phones, and TV screens use additive mixing. The additive primaries, red, green, and blue can be combined in different ways to create the colors we see on screens. Mixing all three additive primaries results in white light. We will mostly be referring to subtractive color mixing in this class since we are working with pigments, which are light absorbing materials. So which of these subtractive primaries are the ideal primaries to use in painting? Technically, the ideal subtractive primaries are cyan, magenta, and yellow. These pigments produce a broader range of colors at the highest possible chroma. For example, the violets and greens they produce are a lot more saturated than the ones produced by red and blue pigments. Cyan and magenta are also distinct hues that cannot be reproduced by red, yellow, and blue. But red and blue, on the other hand, can be mixed by cyan, magenta, and yellow. The reason that red and blue pigments do not mix bright saturated violets is because they do not share a common reflectance of violet wavelengths. A red pigment is capable of absorbing most of the violet, blue, and green wavelengths, while the blue pigment absorbs most of the yellow to red wavelengths. This combination of pigments almost cancels each other out, which results in a dark red violet mixture. In magenta pigment, on the other hand, reflects wavelengths in the violet, blue, and red spectrum, and absorbs mostly the green wavelengths, since both the magenta and blue pigments reflect significant amounts of violet wavelengths, the resulting mixture is perceived as a saturated violet. If cyan, magenta, and yellow produces a better color range, why are red, yellow, blue still taught as the primary colors in traditional color theory? Mostly because it has been a long-standing tradition, but also because colors are viewed in a simplistic and idealized way. This emphasis on sticking to a rigid system of primary paints is another limitation of traditional color theory. In trying to understand the low-intensity mixtures that resulted from mixing the primaries, artists from centuries ago theorized that it was the impurity in paints that caused it to reflect light that was tainted by a secondary color. For example, a yellow primary paint was believed to reflect yellow light tainted with either some blue light or red light. To overcome these limitations, the split-primary palette was created on the basis that all paints are impure, so there are no pure primary paints. The split-primary palette is a mixing system that consists of a warm and cool version of each primary color. This system states that in order to mix a bright saturated violet, one should mix a cool red which reflects red and blue light together with a warm blue which reflects blue and a bit of red light. If a cool red was mixed with a cool blue, which is tainted by some yellow, the presence of a third primary color in the mix would dull it down. First of all, the idea that the color of a paint is identical with the color of light it reflects is no longer accurate. A yellow paint doesn't simply reflect yellow light. It also reflects both red and green wavelengths, which stimulate the corresponding cone cells in our eyes to interpret the color as yellow. What about magenta? There is no magenta light wavelength in the color spectrum. It is a color that our eyes and brains perceive from the stimulation of red and blue wavelengths combined. The final perception of a color is translated by our eyes and brain through a complex neuropsychological process. We have three types of cone receptors at the backs of our eyes that are each sensitive to a range of light wavelengths. The three types of cone cells respond roughly to the light of short, medium, and long wavelengths in the visible spectrum. So they may respectively be referred to as S cones, M cones, and L cones. The S, M, and L cones are sometimes misleadingly referred to simply as blue, green, and red cones respectively. When light enters our eyes, they stimulate different combinations of these cone cells, which sends a distinct signal to our brain to interpret a specific color. Subtractive mixing happens at the level of our material paints, but the light that is reflected as a result of the subtractive mixture is interpreted by our eyes through additive mixing. So while these two color mixing models are often described separately, all color mixing involves the retinal response to light. The ideas behind this mixing system are no longer valid. But it does solve the problem of muddy violets and greens, which is why it is still widely thought in color mixing. The split-primary palette is actually a combination of RYB and CMY pigments, which explains the expanded mixing range. However, the issue with this framework is that it conforms to a rigid idea of sticking to a warm and cool version of three primary paints, which dictates a very limited way of selecting paints for your palette. In practice, a single green pigment can also act as a primary paint to further increase the green mixing range. I, myself have mentioned the split-primary palette in my previous classes, but that was before I learned about modern color models. That changed the way I started looking and thinking about colors. We'll explore that further in the next lesson. But back to primary colors, the question of which primaries are the best has been a longstanding debate even today. Honestly, the choice of which primary paints to use depends on what you're painting needs and preferences are. So whether you use RYB, CMY, a split-primary palette, or include a green pigment as your primary, your main concerns would be whether the paints you have in your palette are able to produce the mixing range and paint effects you desire. In short, there's no reason to limit yourself to a rigid idea of primary paints. Painters from the 18th and 19th century used the historical pigments red, yellow, and blue because they were limited to what was available to them then. Today, we can conveniently choose from a large array of pigment options. What you designate as primary paints in your palette may differ to another person's palette. I would suggest using more than three paints to increase your mixing gamut. Anywhere between four to 12 paints is probably a good place to start when you're first learning about color mixing. Keeping to a smaller palette just helps you get familiar with your paints much easier and faster. In essence, traditional color theory focuses on idealized concepts and treats colors as abstract ideas rather than as physical substances that each have unique mixing characteristics. These frameworks are still useful, but they are just in need of an upgrade. So let's explore more of these updated frameworks and modern tools in the next lesson. 6. Modern Color Models: [MUSIC] The many variations of color wheels throughout the centuries evolved from Isaac Newton's hue circle, which was originally used to illustrate the color mixtures of light. Color wheels developed from simple hue circles into more elaborate column models as advances in the science of color and technology were made. In the early 1900s, American artist and educator, Professor Albert H. Munsell created the first modern color order system called the Munsell color system. It is a color space that specifies colors based on the three properties or attributes of color: hue, chroma, and value. In traditional color theory, the properties of color are presented as separate ideas. Hue being represented on the color wheel. But the value scale and chroma concepts are not integrated into any kind of practical three-dimensional space. Munsell was the first to illustrate color systematically in 3D space, integrating the three properties of color into independent dimensions. The Munsell color solid is based on careful scientific measurements of human visual responses, which makes the resulting shape quite irregular. Let's take a look at each color attribute. Hue refers to a color family or hue category, such as red, orange, yellow, and so on. These basic color families can be further categorized as in-between hues, such as red-violet, red-orange, blue-violet, and so on. Hue is measured around the circumference on the horizontal axis. Now, the terms hue and color are often used interchangeably. To give you an example of how they can be distinguished, let's look at the colors pink, maroon, rose, and crimson. These are colors that can be categorized as belonging to the red hue family. Chroma describes the relative brightness or dullness of a color. Other words that describe chroma are purity, intensity, and saturation. Chroma is measured horizontally, moving outwards from the intersection between the horizontal and vertical axis. Value describes the relative lightness or darkness of a color. It is measured along the vertical axis. These three color making attributes have been identified by vision scientists as a sufficient way to precisely specify any visual color. When we look at a color, our eyes and brain perceive these three attributes at the same time. Understanding how these color attributes are all interrelated within a system is a key component to modern color theory framework. Since the Munsell color system, many more modern column models have been developed based on this geometrical framework. The color order systems I want to highlight in this class are the color metric position chart by Schmincke and the artist's color wheel by Bruce MacEvoy from handprint.com. These contemporary color diagrams show the location of different watercolor paints in a CIELAB color space, measured using a device called a spectrophotometer. The CIELAB is a three-dimensional color space defined by the International Commission on illumination in 1976. It is specifically designed to encompass all colors the average human eye can see, which explains the irregular shape of the color space. The color locations in CIELAB were then simplified into a two-dimensional diagram showing only the hue and chroma dimensions. Not many of these color order systems are produced, as they require a color measuring device and there's no standard CIELAB color atlas available. The color metric position chart from Schmincke is based on the measurements of watercolor paints exclusively from their brand. Bruce MacEvoy created his artist's color wheel using pigments averaged across all paint brands. Daniel Smith has recently created their own color diagram. But as of the creation of this class, a higher resolution image of the color map is not yet available. Similar pigments across different watercolor brands may vary in their color attributes slightly due to different pigment formulations. While this might change their location CIELAB space, the exact measurement of paint locations is not our main concern. A rough overview of color locations is a sufficient enough guide. Remember, the next step always involves testing out our paints. How exactly do we use these color diagrams? Let's use the artist's color wheel as an example. First of all, this diagram makes it easier to locate the approximate position of different pigments based on their hue and chroma. Hue locations can be specified around the circumference of the wheel. Unlike a traditional color wheel, the dimension of chroma is also illustrated. The distance of a color from the center point of the diagram indicates the chroma of the paint. Paints that are bright and saturated have high chroma and are near the edges of the diagram. Moving towards the center, which is the achromatic center, colors get gradually duller and darker. Comparing the relative distance between different paint colors and their distance from the achromatic center is part of the basic mixing strategy you will learn in the next two lessons. The same principles apply with the Schmincke color metric position chart. The middle point of the diagram can be identified by the location of the dark neutral paints. Imagine this as the achromatic center within a circle to help guide you. Besides using these charts as a color mixing tool, they are also a helpful guide to paint selection, as they can help you plot the gamut or mixing range of a set of paints. For example, let's say I'm using a primary triad palette of CMY pigments: PR122, PY151, and PB15:3. The first thing to do is to identify the location of each pigment in the palette and mark them down or circle them. Then draw a line connecting each pigment marker until you have an enclosed area. This enclosure is the gamut of the palate, which is the approximate range of hue and chroma these combination of paints can possibly mix. Any color within the gamut can be mixed and any color outside the gamut would be harder to achieve in terms of saturation. PR122 mixes saturated violets with PB15:3, but mixes a mid saturated orange with PY151. If I swapped out PR122 for a redder pigment, like PR108, my orange mixes would be even more saturated, but the violet mixtures would start to suffer instead, as the shape of the gamut changes. By plotting the gamut of this palette, we can already tell how three paints produces a very limited mixing range. Yes, cyan and magenta pigments can produce more saturated mixes than red and blue pigments, but using only three paints still limits the possible range of mixtures. The only way around these limitations is to add more colors to the palette. The larger the gamut, the wider the range of color mixtures, which is why the split-primary palette still works. But remember, you don't have to confine yourself to the idea of selecting just a warm and cool version of three primary colors. Any set of colors can be your fundamental colors or primary paints so long as it meets your actual painting needs. Besides, paint selection is not solely based on color alone. The paint handling attributes, such as the transparency, opacity, staining characteristic, and more, are equally important factors to consider. Perhaps your style of painting or the subject matters you paint don't require such a large mixing range. Then perhaps a low-intensity palette of red, yellow, and blue paints is all you need. A color order systems simply allows you to judge and compare the shape and size of different gamuts, which is useful when selecting your paints. Now, it's important to note that no color diagram is a perfect representation of color. The unique properties of pigments cannot be defined on a simple color chart. These diagrams are more often upgraded map to help you better navigate the paint mixing landscape. In saying that, the traditional color wheel can still be used so long as you're viewing color relationships through a modern lens. Let's explore how we can actually start to apply these frameworks in the next few lessons. 7. Basic Mixing Method I: We are getting to the essence of this class which is understanding the basic methods of mixing watercolor paints. Earlier on, we explored how all colors can be uniquely identified and related to each other as locations within a color space. Specified by the three properties of color: hue, chroma, and value. Now it's time to put that information into practice as we get familiar with each attribute and shift color around the color wheel or color space. Instead of relying on fixed color formulas, you actually start to understand why you are getting the results you are getting and in the process, learn the ability to modify your color mixtures accordingly. The three basic methods of shifting color consist of hue shift, chroma shift, and value shift. Let's look at each one. Hue shift is when you're mixing your paints to get hue changes around the circumference of a color wheel or color diagram. This can be any hue within the range of two adjacent colors. Hue shifts can happen either clockwise or counterclockwise depending on the pair of mixing paints you use. This method is typically used when you are focused on getting the hue of your target color more accurately. Or when you are needing to mix high-intensity mixtures. In this case, you would mix hues that are closer to each other around the circumference of the wheel. Chroma shift is when you're mixing colors further apart or across the wheel to bring down the saturation of a hue. These are usually your complementary or near complementary colors. Remember, colors get gradually duller the closer they get to the achromatic center. This method is used when you were focused on getting the dullness or saturation of your target color more accurately. Value shift is used when needing to adjust the lightness or darkness of your color mixture. Remember, color value cannot be defined on a color wheel or color diagram. To illustrate value in a three-dimensional space, imagine tilting the color wheel on its side. Value shift happens on a vertical axis, ranging from white to black or light to dark. In watercolors, we lighten a color by diluting it with water. This lightened color is also called a tint. To darken a color, we mix it with a dark neutral paint or its mixing complementary. This darkened color is also called a shade. Choosing a light or dark paint to mix the target color also influences the overall color value of the mixture. Now, this is where the color diagram or color wheel comes in handy to help you identify the mixing paints that can get you the color mixture you want. You can use either your standard color wheel, the colormetric position chart from Schmincke, the artist's color wheel from handprint.com, or even one that you've made yourself. Or you can use a combination of these resources to help you further study the hue relationships between specific pigments. Now, do you remember, as we've learned so far in this class, there is no ideal color wheel that is going to give us exact mixing predictions. The simplified representation of color relationships on a color wheel or color order system cannot illustrate the mixing behavior of paints as unique material substances. The second half of the equation can only be achieved through the experience of actually mixing your paints and understanding the mixing behavior of your chosen palette. Next, I'm going to walk you through a few examples of how you can start choosing the combination of paints that can get you your desired color mixtures. In this example, I'm going to try and mix a yellow earth hue. I've swatched my yellow ocher paint, which is a pigment yellow 42, just as a visual reference of the target color I'm trying to mix. I'll be using a traditional color wheel for this first example. Even though it shows a very simplified version of color relationships as we've discussed previously, it is still a helpful tool to give us a quick glance of the logical relationships between hues. For example, Violet is always going to be somewhere between blue and red, or cyan and magenta. You won't find it between yellow and red-orange, for example. A quick visual of a hue relative location to other hues on the wheel, whether it is further or closer to another hue, can still be a helpful indicator to our paint mixing choices. I've also got a pad of post-its here, just so I can note down the different combinations of mixing paints. The first step is to locate the approximate hue and chroma of this target color on the color wheel. Let's start with approximating the hue. Just by visual judgment, I can tell that this target hue sits somewhere between yellow and yellow-orange. Next, I'm going to approximate its chroma. I'm going to imagine that the hues are losing saturation the closer to get to the achromatic center. Judging by its chroma, I can see that it's a moderately dull yellow, yellow-orange hue. That means it would sit somewhere midway to the achromatic center. Based on its hue and chroma, this is approximately where the target color would sit in relation to all other colors on the wheel. Let's say I'm using a limited palette of six paints. Based on the paints I have in my palette, the next step is to find the pairs or combination of paints that can mix our target color. I'll start by identifying any two paints that create a mixing line passing through the target color. My yellow and red-orange pigments create a mixing line that is close to the mixing point. We'll be able to mix the hue, but it will be a bit more saturated than what we're looking for. Because these two hues are very close to each other. The magenta and yellow pair, on the other hand, are a little further apart. We can possibly get the chroma shifts we want from this mixing pair. Now, the next option would be to find any combination of three paints that enclose the target color within a triangle. This is usually a combination of a hue shift and a chroma shift. These paints basically form a gamut. As long as the target color exists within this gamut, it means that it can be produced by mixing the three paints in the right proportions. I can either start with mixing a hue close to the target color, mixing the yellow and red-orange, and then use a chroma shifts strategy by adding a third paint, which is furthest away or on the opposite side of the wheel to bring down the intensity of that mixture. Or I can also adjust the chroma of my yellow paint by first mixing the red-orange and ultramarine blue paint to get a mixing complementary of the yellow and then adding that slowly into the yellow until I get it to the saturation I want. The mixing strategy you use depends on whether you want more control over the hue and chroma, or whether the focus is on adjusting the dullness of the mixture. Let's see there are a few combination of mixing triangles or triads that can possibly mix the target color. Apart from the yellow, red-orange, and ultramarine blue, there's also the yellow, red-orange, and phthalo blue. Possibly the red-orange, yellow, and green. As you can see, there are quite a few options of pink combinations to choose from. But what you want to keep in mind is that each paint is not merely a color but also pigments with unique characteristics that interact differently with each other when mixed. Choosing the best combination of mixing paints would ultimately depend on the final color appearance and/or paint handling properties you seek in the mixture, which would all be based on the context of your artwork. Think of the hue, chroma, and value, as well as the transparency, the opacity, staining characteristic, and texture you desire off the mixture. Next, I'm going to use the Schmincke colormetric position chart as an example. Using the same approach, hues on the outer range are more saturated and get gradually duller and darker towards the achromatic center. I've located the pigments on my palette and located the target color. Next, I'm going to look for the pair or combinations of mixing paints like we did earlier. As you can see, this is a more detailed diagram than a color wheel, as it shows the relative hue and chroma locations of different pigments within this specific brand. The advantage of this sort of colormetric chart is it gives you a better visual when plotting the mixing relationships between pigments. But the point is not to get caught up in exact locations because we're still only using this as a guide. Even if you have paints from different brands, you can still roughly approximate hue locations based on similar pigments from this chart. Another thing to note is that mixing lines are not always straight. They can be curved inwards or outwards depending on the mixing behavior of specific pigments. The straight mixing lines here illustrate a simplified relationship between hues, which is enough to help us choose our mixing paints and approximate paint proportions. Remember, the next step is to always test out the mixture. But knowing where you're headed can certainly help you get there faster. Say I'm using an extended palette, I've got these other pigments I can use as mixing paints and I've got my perylene maroon PR179 here. You can see that there is a mixing line passing pretty close to the target color if I mix it with the yellow I have. I can try those two as my mixing pair. PR179 is darker and less saturated than PR122. Since it is closer to the achromatic center, it can create darker mixtures more easily. I can also try the permanent yellow deep PY110, with the ultramarine blue PB29. Last of all, I can try mixing the yellow with a dark earth pigment, which is the raw umber PBR7 I have in my palette. I've noted down all the mixing pairs and combinations. In the next lesson, I will test out these mixtures and touch on a few key points as I work through the mixing process. 8. Basic Mixing Method II: Assuming that you are just starting out with a new palette or a new set of paints, it would be good practice to test out all the combinations of mixing paints that you've identified, so you can compare the results and make notes. What you want to do is pay attention to the paint handling properties or pigment characteristics such as the tinting strength, the transparency, opacity, texture, et cetera, as well as the mixing compatibility of the pigments because these will influence the final color appearance and the handling properties of your mixture. Most of my pigments here are transparent to semi-transparent. Keep that in mind, I won't necessarily get the same concentrated and opacifying character as the yellow ocher paint, but I'll still be able to make something as close to the hue as possible, which is what I'm aiming for. Let's get started. Since the target color is a mid-saturated and mid-valued yellow yellow-orange, it would be easier to work from a more saturated mixture and dull it down gradually. I'll start with the yellow since it is lighter valued and can easily be overpowered by a darker valued paint like magenta, which also means that I would need a higher ratio of yellow in the mix. I'll grab enough paint and make sure it's in a concentration that I want. If not, I'll add either a bit more paint or more water to the mix. The quinacridone magenta has a higher tinting strength and is darker value than the yellow. Even a small amount of paint can dominate the mix easily. What I want to do is gradually add the dominant paint in. I'm not just going to go in heavy. I'm just dabbing off the excess paint from my brush and just slowly start to mix that in. I'll add a bit of water to readjust the consistency because it's getting a bit too pigmented. I'll go ahead and swatch that mix so I can see what it looks like on paper. I'll also create a tint of the color. I'll dip my brush in water to wash off some of the paint. Now, the mixture at this stage is more of an orange-yellow. I think I might've still added a bit more magenta to begin with. I'm going to add in more yellow to lighten the mixture towards a more yellowy-orange. At this stage, I'm adjusting the paint proportions and just observing the hue and chroma changes as I add a bit more yellow or magenta into the mixture. I am trying to hue match my target color, but at the same time, I also want to explore and get familiar with the range of hues I can get between these two paints. Remember, wet paint on paper will not look the same once it has dried. Take the drying shifts into account before committing to the final mixture, like these swatches here are starting to lighten a little as they dry. Now, what I can see here is that the hue is there, but it's obviously still more saturated than our target color. This is a good example of a curved mixing line between two paints. The magenta and yellow are fair distance apart, but they still produce a somewhat saturated mixture, although not as saturated as mixing the yellow with a red-orange paint, which is closer to each other on the color wheel, but also not as dull as we'd expect from the distance between these two paints. What we can do next is use the triangle strategy and introduce a third paint, which will be our adjusting color to reduce the chroma even further. I'm using the same yellow and magenta mixture and just adjusting it so it's close to the hue of the target color before adding in a little bit of phthalo blue. Now, the mixture is shifting to green, which means that the hue was leaning more towards the yellow, which is closer to the blue. A hue shift was happening and only a slight chroma shift. What I'll do is pull in the mixed that contains a bit more magenta in it. You can see the color is now more of a dull greenish-yellow. The magenta is dulling the green, but I still need to shift the hue back to yellow-orange. What I'm doing at this stage is again, using careful visual judgment while keeping in mind the relative distance between hues, whether it's further or closer, to help me adjust the paint proportions accordingly until I get the color I'm looking for. I'm also just having fun exploring the range of earth colors I can get as I play around with the paint ratios. Now, mixing the yellow and magenta or yellow and red-orange first, allows me to have more control over the hue and chroma of the mixture. As you can see, I can mix a range of earth colors between the yellow and magenta or the yellow and red-orange hues. Not just a yellow earth color, but also some earth oranges and reds like burnt sienna and burnt umber, or I can also mix the two hues furthest away from the target color to get a hue that is a mixing complement to the yellow and focus instead on adjusting the saturation from bright to dull. Adding some of this violet mix into the yellow to lower its chroma. Remember it all depends on your mixing goals. As you play around with the paint ratios to shift your mixture as close as possible to your desired color, remember to observe the changes in the mixture and make a visual judgment. Is it getting too light or too dark? Is it starting to lean more on the cool or warm side? Is the hue shifting toward a completely different hue? Is it saturated or dull enough? What about the texture? Paint handling attributes? Remember to take drawing shifts into account and then make your adjustments accordingly. Also, pay attention to how certain paint attributes affect the way a pigment dominates in a mixture, such as the pigment tinting strength, opaque versus transparent pigments, and light versus dark paints. Last but not least, have a feel for how the paints are mixing. Are you able to load up your brush easily with paint? How much or how little of this pigment do you need to shift your mixture? Is one pigment more dominating than the other? Are they both dominating and fighting in the mixture? Is it concentrated enough or too diluted? Let these questions guide you as you get to know your paints better. I have found several different ways I can mix my target color and discovered mixing combinations that worked better and once that didn't quite get there. Most of my paint combinations will produce a semi-staining and semi-transparent mix. There is a slight variation in the hue and chroma range between the different mixing combinations, although not as significant. If I were to use more opaque or granulating pigments, I would probably yield different color effects. Depending on the paints you have in your palette, you might find different mixing pairs or combinations and produce mixtures different to mine. It all boils down to personal preference and what you're looking to create in your paintings. The fun part of color mixing is, you get to decide which combination of mixing paints produces the color effects you want. Now, this whole process might seem a bit tedious at first and maybe a bit too technical, but the basic mixing concepts will help you understand how the properties of color relate to one another on the color wheel or color space. Once you get familiar with how your paints behave and mix with each other, mixing the colors you want will come more naturally so you don't have to keep repeating these mixes unnecessarily. That's where the mixing journal and color recipe book can help streamline the learning process. You can always go back and refer to the mixing ranges you've already explored, make comparisons and solidify the knowledge you have of your palette. Let's continue practicing the mixing strategies and start filling up your color recipe book and mixing journal as you work through the color exercises. 9. Secondary Color Mixing Range: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we're going to explore the mixing ranges between two primary paints. If you have more than one shade of red, yellow, or blue, this would be a good exercise to get familiar with the mixing behavior of pigments that appear to be similar in hue but produce fairly different mixing results. If you are only starting out with three paints, that's fine too. You can still do this exercise to explore a fuller range of mixtures from your pigments. You can find a template guide for this exercise in the class resources. The layout of this exercise is set up so that you can do a visual comparison of hues within the same color family. This exercise helps illustrate how the relative distance between pink colors in a color space affects the chroma or intensity of the mixture. The closer two paints are, the brighter and or more saturated the mixture. The further apart two paints are, the darker and or duller the mixture will be. I'm going to start with exploring violet for this example. I'm going to mix my red and magenta paints, PR 255 and PR 122 with the two blue pigments I have, which are PB 29 and PB 15:3. Use whatever pigments you have from the same hue family that can create a violet mixture. I'll start with mixing the two hues closest to each other in this color metric chart, PR 122 and PB 29. For this first mixture swatch, I'm going to mix a violet that is visually somewhere between the magenta and ultramarine blue, not leaning too red or too blue. Remember, pigments have varying tinting strength, which means that it's not always a 50 50 mix of paint. You have to judge by eye and make a relative comparison between hues as you adjust your paint proportions accordingly. This section over here is where I will explore the full range of transition hues between PR 122 and PB 29. You can create a gradual step scale from magenta to blue, or you can swatch to huge changes randomly. It's really up to you as long as you capture the range of hue shifts between the two paints. I'll start with magenta and gradually add more ultramarine blue into the mix and swatch the color changes as I go. You can also switch a tint of the color if you like [MUSIC]. See how you can get hues ranging from red-violet to blue-violet, just from carefully varying the pain proportions. But also notice the vibrancy and saturation of these mixtures. Notice what happens when I mix the ultramarine blue with a red pigment that is further away from it. It mixes us a deep dark disaturated violet. Of course, we know by now that red pigments are not effective at mixing saturated violet with a blue, red violets or magentas, which would be a closer distance to the blue-violet pigments, would be a better choice if you were looking to mix bright saturated violets. Otherwise, this mixing pair produces a beautiful dark eggplant purple, which would be great as a shadow color. You can get some lovely colors ranging from deep red wine to plump purples and beautiful dark blues, all perfect for deepening color values. If you mix the red pigment with a blue pigment that is even further away from it, these two would technically be near opposites or near complementaries and therefore would mix a darker and duller near a black violet. These mixing range gets me a more earthy red that starts to neutralize in the right paint proportions, and also create some nice muted dark blues. The dark, red, violet, and blue would be perfect for shadow colors. Although the term muddy color has often been associated to this type of violet mixture, it's not in any way a bad color you want to avoid unless you intended to mix a bright saturated violet in the first place. Our next mixing pair are a lot closer to each other. As can be expected, the mixtures would be nearly as saturated as mixing magenta with the ultramarine blue. Comparing the color mixtures this way provides you with a clear illustration of the varying shades and intensities that result from combining different pigments within the same color family. Or pigments that look visually similar but produce different mixing results. Instead of relying on the broad color idea that red and blue equals purple. Understanding the relative relationship between paint colors and treating them as pigments with unique mixing capabilities, makes it a lot easier to mix a color you want. You'll start to notice the subtle nuances of hues that exist within the same color category or hue family. Learn to see and describe color not only based on hue but also its chroma, value and color temperature. Go ahead and explore the other secondary colors and they're mixing ranges, and practice observing how the relative distance between hues and different pigment characteristics influences the final color appearance of a mix [MUSIC]. 10. Mixing Darks + Neutrals: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we're going to practice mixing some darks and neutrals, such as blacks, grays and browns, which do not appear on your typical color wheel. These achromatic use extend the value range of your palette, which is useful for adding more depth and contrast in your paintings. Learning to mix your own darks and neutrals can be very handy, especially if you're working with a limited palette. Some painters avoid black pigments completely because used in isolation, it can appear quite jarring to the overall color harmony, or perhaps a little flat and lifeless as a shadow color. Now, I think that's nothing wrong with using black pigments on their own. I honestly think it again depends on personal preference, your style of work, and the context of its application. Using the basic mixing strategies we learned earlier, we're going to create a range of deep darks and neutrals and earth tones through these methods. Mixing primaries, mixing complementaries, and mixing with dark valued and low chroma paints. Using the pigments you have in your palette, explore either one or all of these methods in your mixing journal. We know that mixing all three primary paint colors in the right proportions results in a dark neutral mixture. This is essentially the triangle strategy. So as long as the mixing triangle in closest the achromatic center, any color within that range, including black, grays, and browns, can be mixed. The key is paint proportions. And just as we learned earlier, depending on the mixing paints or pigment combinations you choose, you can get varying mixture results including different paint mixing behaviors. Experiment with different mixing triads or pigment combinations to mix a dark neutral mixture, including some browns and some darker or duller versions of different hues. The more pigmented the mix, the darker or closer to black the color becomes. When diluted, you can get varying tones of gray that might lean warm or cool depending on the undertone of the wash. Remember, mixed blacks and grays can also lean toward a hue family or color temperature, depending on the pigments used and the paint ratios. A warm black will have a slight bias for red, while a cool black might be shifted to a blue or violet. So you can have a violet gray, a bluish black, or brownish black, for example. This subtle sense of color and mixed neutrals is what gives it more depth and dimension. To mix browns or earth colors, simply adjust the paint ratios and shift the hue towards yellow, orange, or red, and then dial it down accordingly. The key to mixing earth colors is to recognize that brown hues are usually desaturated shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. Knowing which hue family or color category a brown or earthy color belongs to, makes it so much easier to understand how to mix these colors using the mixing strategies we learned earlier. We also know that hues further apart mix duller colors and opposite colors or complimentary colors will mix neutrals or near neutrals. Mixing complementaries are a quick and easy way to mix a rich dark gray or near black mixture, since you only need to work with two paints. So rather than limiting ourselves to the traditional complementary pairs on a color wheel, and the idea of fixed complementary pairs. So red and green, blue and orange, yellow and violet. We are going to think in terms of specific pigments. Similar to the secondary color mixing range exercise, test out mixing different pairs of pigments that are opposite or near opposite to each other on a color wheel or color space. What you'll find is that the same paint can mix a near black mixture with several other paints and paints with a similar hue can have a completely different mixing compliment. Here's an example, PG7 and PR122. A green and magenta paint are considered visual complimentary pairs. This pair of colors amplify each other, and create a visually harmonious contrasting pair. The two paints however, are not the best mixing compliments, as they would mix a dark muted violet instead of a more neutral gray mixture. But if we mix the magenta with a slightly warmer green like PG36, which is very similar in hue to PG7, we get a mixture that is more grayish and closer to black. PG36 and PR122 would be considered mixing compliments. PG7 on the other hand, mixes beautiful rich shades of black with PR255 and PR179. PR255 can also mix dark neutrals easily with a bluer paint, PB16, which is a completely different hue. This sums up that mixing complimentary pairs in subtractive color mixing, are not fixed to a unique set of colors. Here's a visual summary of the example I just explained. A red pigment like PR255 can mix neutrals with several other paints, ranging from green to blue. And paint similar in hue like PG7 and PG36, have different mixing compliments. Going by the visual color of a hue alone does not determine whether a pair of paints will mix a near-neutral gray or black mixture. A good exercise would be to get familiar with the pair of paints in your palette that can mix deep grays or near black mixtures. Keep in mind that near complementaries won't mix true neutrals, but are still useful for mixing darker and duller versions of a color. Use the relative distance between hues as a guide and test out pigments that are not just direct opposites, but also near opposites. Remember, color relationships are not fixed and symmetrical in subtractive color mixing. You don't have to know all the mixing complementaries out there. You just need to remember the mixing complementary pairs of pants you often use in your palette. So have fun exploring and making comparisons between different pairs of pigments to find your preferred mixing complimentary pairs. Finally, you can also mix darks and neutrals by using dark valued or low chroma paints, such as black pigments, dark neutral convenience mixtures, and dark earth pigments. Examples of black pigments are ivory black, Mars black or perylene green, which are usually based on carbon or iron oxide pigments. Dark neutral convenience mixtures such as Payne's gray, neutral gray or sepia brown, are usually a mix of a black pigment with two or three other pigments to give it either a warm or cool tint. Examples of dark earth's pigments include burnt sienna, burnt umber, raw umber, English venetian red, and many more. Some painters find it easier to mix a little bit of these paints to tone down a mixture. For example, adding sepia brown or a neutral gray to deepen greens. Burnt umber PBR7, and burnt sienna PR101 are a favorite when it comes to mixing dark neutrals with a blue pigment like ultramarine blue PB29. These paints are good mixing complementary pairs because the earth pigments are already closer to the achromatic center, which makes it more effective at dulling and darkening mixtures. Overall, some people might prefer these paints for convenience. But apart from the dark earth pigments, you might not need most of these paints if you're mixing your own dark neutrals from a primary triad or mixing complementaries. As always, it's a matter of contexts and how you've set up your palette to reflect your personal painting style. Once you're done exploring these methods and experimenting with different pigment combinations to mix your darks and neutrals. Go ahead and catalog some of your favorite pigment combinations and mixes into your color recipe book. Here I've created a page from mixing blacks and grays and another for my favorite earthy colors. I played around with a few template variations and will provide examples of these in the class resources for you to use as reference. You can pick a template that you like or modified it to what visually makes sense for you. For this page, I swatch the darkest black or near black mixtures I could get on the left side and to the right, I swatch some of the mixing range, including some great tints and dark shades of the phthalo green and perylene maroon. Colors I know I would want to refer back to later. For this page, I want to visually be able to compare the different mixing compliments and the varying shades of black or near black mixtures they create. You don't always have to swatch the full range. You can focus on certain hues within the mixing range. Create your pages in whatever way makes the most visual sense for you. 11. Tints, Tones & Shades: [MUSIC] In this color exercise, we're going to create a simple monochromatic painting. So using a single hue, we are going to vary the value and saturation of the color to create some nice visual contrasts. Just like the tints and shades we've been swatching in our mixing journal and color recipe book, we are going to do the same thing except keep the color contrast within the same hue or color family. This would be a great warm-up exercise to get your creative juices flowing because we're only focused on shifting the value and saturation of one color and painting a pattern of simple shapes and lines, which can also be quite relaxing. You can find a reference template for this exercise in the class Resource tab. Otherwise, you can also paint any simple shape or pattern you want. I've just done a light freehand sketch of this pattern of half circles and I'll be using my Phthalo blue paint, PB 15:3 for this example. The first thing I would do is swatch a value scale of the color so starting with the color at full strength, I'm mixing in a little bit of water just to get it at the right concentration and just making sure there's a good amount of paint in the mix. Then I'll slowly dilute the paint with water and create lighter tints of the color. If you've watched the essential watercolor class, you would have done the water to paint ratio exercise and created a similar color value scale. I'm going to create a shade of the color like we learned in the previous lesson. Here I'll add in your complementary paint to push the blue to a darker and deeper shade so I'm just adding in a tiny bit of Pyro Scarlet PR 255. Remember, I can also lighten this dark shade and get varying tones of grayish blues. So now I'm just going to play around with the paint and water ratios to vary the lightness and darkness, as well as the saturation of the color. [MUSIC] This is a really fun, almost meditative color exercise so enjoy the process, practice your precision of brushstrokes. Drop some paint in wet-on-wet, overlay some details wet on dry, and maybe paint a few more in different colors. [MUSIC] 12. Color Matching: [MUSIC] Color matching, as the name suggests, is an exercise where we are going to swatch colors from different references and try to match it as close as possible to the color we are observing. Now when you're painting something, it's not necessary that you paint the exact colors you see unless, of course, you are trying to create something realistic. Otherwise, you are free to interpret the colors in a way that expresses the emotion, the mood, the story that you are trying to convey to your painting. You are the artists after all. That being said, the purpose of this exercise is to give our instinctive color mixing muscles a workout as we start to make sense of what works, what doesn't, how it works, and why. True frequent practice is strengthened the neural pathways and start to internalize these processes. Every time just by looking at a color you can already get a basic sense of how to mix that here. Using the following sources, try and color match what you see into your mixing journal. The first is true paint chips. You can find these at your local hardware store or paint shop, but if not you can also cut out squares of colors from old magazines. I cut mine into half and stuck the cards I want to color match into my mixing journal with some blue tack. Throughout this exercise, you can use a color wheel or color diagram as a quick reference guide, but I encourage you to try and practice without it. Start imagining the color relationships in your mind's eye instead. This helps you develop your instincts more as you incorporate what you already know with actual practice. For example, looking at this first block of color to the left, I can observe that it's a dark valued and low chroma blue so my first thought would be to use a chroma shift strategy to mix this color. I'm going to try phthalo blue and mixing a bit of Pyro color to deepen the color to the right shade. I'll also create lighter tints of the color to try and match the other mid and light-valued blues. I think it's looking pretty close to the paint chip, but I'm going to let that dry first. I'll try other mixing combinations as well and see if I can get a better match. [MUSIC] The next source is to swatch colors from live references. This can be anything in your immediate surroundings, including plants or pieces of fallen leaves in your garden, anything at all that you find you want to color match. Last of all, you can swatch an entire palette of colors from photographs. I usually do this with photos of my succulent that I plan on painting. It's part of my painting process to do a color study of my subject matter before I painted so that I can establish the overall color scheme and what paints I'll be using. [MUSIC] The color matching exercises are a great way to fine-tune your color instincts so have fun using your observation skills and documenting the colors all around you. 13. Playful Experiments: [MUSIC] The color exercises so far have mostly been focused on understanding basic color mixing concepts and learning how individual pigments in your palette work. Now it's time to put your palette to the test. In other words, to start painting with it and using it in context. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first is a more deliberate practice. Begin testing out your palette by painting several small paintings of the things you're interested in. There are lots of watercolor classes here on Skillshare to get you started on a simple painting project. I encourage you to have a browse on the subject matters you are most interested in whether it be florals, landscapes, animals. If you're interested in painting some cute cacti and succulents, I recommend checking out my fun and simple series. The other way is to do fun spontaneous experiments and mix colors freely on your palette. Just follow your curiosity and observe the mixtures that could result from unlikely color combinations. Really just pure mixing fun. There are no mistakes, just happy accidents. You can focus on painting simple shapes and patterns. You're not distracted by the process of picture-making, but rather more focus on the color shifts that are happening, just like what we did in the tints, tones, and shades color exercise. This period of free exploration is like a meditative practice in itself. It also gives the mind a chance to synthesize all the different ideas you've been learning about. I encourage you to practice both approaches because learning happens in more ways than one. Set aside time for some structured practice and another for more free flow painting experiments. As Robert Greene once said, "Creativity is a combination of discipline and childlike spirit." Now after you've done several of these paintings, you might be able to get a feel for any insufficiencies in your palette. For instance, if you're finding it difficult to mix a certain shade of color, or you need a convenient solution for a color you frequently mix, you might start thinking about adding or substituting pigments in your palette. Experiment and make notes, and most importantly, enjoy the process. 14. Reflective Practice: [MUSIC] Now after all the mixing and experimenting, it's important to engage in some reflective practice over the learning process. This is a simple practice of noting down observations and asking open-ended questions. These types of questions can help you address any gaps in your learning that you have yet to bridge. Examples of these questions can be, what did I learn here? How can I improve on this? What I'm I still trying to figure out? How do I, fill in the blanks. Are there any hues I still find hard to mix? What can I do about it? An example answer would be, yes: an earth color similar to yellow ocher. I can't get an opaque enough creamy texture and I use this color a lot so maybe I can opt to add this as a single pigment in my palette. All in all, this practice allows you to track your progress over time and focuses on a solution oriented mindset. Plus the act of writing itself can improve your thinking process which helps you synthesize your learning even more. Remember, make notes, review and reflect after each exercise, be curious, and most importantly have fun. 15. Your Favorite Colors: [MUSIC]. By now you probably have a ton of color swatches. If you haven't circled or ticked any of your favorites, go back and have a look through your mixing journal or your color recipe book and see if there are any colors that stand out to you, or it just makes your eyes light up. Then go ahead and swatch those colors out on a page just so you can easily refer back to the mixing recipes while you're still getting to know your pigments and your palette better. Plus, just looking at a page of colors you enjoy is so much fun. Who knows? It might even spark an idea or two for a painting project. Now, the layout of this page is really up to you. As long as it visually makes sense and is pleasing to your eyes. From all the mixing swatches I've done, I noticed that I'm drawn to these deep darks like indigo, and turquoise, and deep plump purples. I can imagine using these for a galaxy painting or as shadow colors. In fact, this combination of perylene maroon, and thalo green is a mixture I often reach forward to deepen the shadows in some of my succulent paintings. The mixing pair of PG36 and PBr7 creates this beautiful mossy green which I love, so I recorded that one down too. What you can also do is organize your color exploration by category so it's easier to do a visual comparison of the same hues. You can also add small paintings for color study reference, and catalog different color schemes for future reference. The possibilities are endless. Have fun adding to the pages of your color recipe book as you embark on your creative journey. Your favorite colors might change over time. Feel free to add to the pages of your color recipe book. With time and experience, you won't have to keep referring to the mixing recipes of colors you frequently mix because you would have developed the muscle memory for it, and it becomes second nature. That is when you know your colors intuitively. 16. Final Notes + Thank You!: That's it. You've reached the end of this class. Thank you so much for joining me, I hope that you gain some new skills and leveled up your color mixing game. I hope that you had as much fun as I did creating your very own color recipe book. Honestly, I'm really excited to see all your wonderful projects. Please share them in the projects tab, I would really love to see them. If you found this class helpful in any way, I would like to ask a favor to please leave a review or even a thank you in the discussion tab because it helps this class reach more people, which of course helps me too. If you know someone who might benefit from this class as well, please share it with them. As always, please reach out if you have any questions at all. Last but not least, I hope that you continue to explore and develop the ideas you learned in this class and use them in your own way. Play with your paints, create lots of paintings and never stop learning. Thank you again and see you in my next class.