|© Vicki Lee Johnston|
I love colour ... lots of it! However I realise perhaps I love it too much because I have acquired too many tubes of paint and confusion was starting to reign - who needs twelve different yellows? There is so much more to it - and this I realise the more I work with watercolours and see the outcome of decisions like choosing an opaque when I needed a transparent colour. My page of flowers for the SBA assignment was a disaster for me because I realised too late that some of the pigments were affecting the outcome greatly .... if I want to avoid the muddy look and in particular having to wash off and start again ... I need to put the time into understanding colour more.
Here is my overall colour chart ... all the paints acquired and some not even on there! A big difference to where I started with only six pigments. If you want to see the amount of colours you can create from only six here is my blog post
I am very happy I started that way because I do have a greater understanding of colour mixing. If I needed to could go back to using only six it would be good enough. But there are colours like Quin Magenta, Quin Coral and Quin Violet which I love so much .... and many of my artist friends have put me on to so many good colour fixes ...
So I made a deal with myself - before I started the next painting I had to sort my watercolours and understand more about each one to avoid the confusion of before. I started by sorting all the transparent colours and making their own colour chart which is helpful if you want to create beautiful clear, colourful washes and layer your work.
I also decided to do mini charts in their own colour families...
and while I was at it included colour strips with the pigment details. These will prove useful for working outdoors and trying to match up colour with a plant or flower and noting it in the sketchbook for painting in the studio later.
If you think this sounds like a lot of work you're right - I spent a few days just working on colour ... but I have a little more confidence that when I make a choice I know whether the pigment is transparent or opaque, staining, granulating, etc. Perhaps one day I will learn enough about colour to produce works with the luminosity and brilliance of one of my favourite artists, Carolyn Jenkins. I am always attracted by strong, bold artworks - watercolours can be a little pale at times and to create such colour you have to choose carefully.... for inspiration see Carolyn's website.