Happy New Year!  A little late you say for that greeting.  Maybe so, but I’m working on a resolution–to do much better with my blog.  As anyone who knows me will tell you-holding forth on most any subject is easy enough for me.  Writing it down is the problem.  Therefore I am resolved to attempt to “blog” for you each Monday.  We’ll see how it goes.

For a while we are going to talk about COLOR.  So many artists are afraid of color, using it, mixing it, blending it, etc.  We are going to talk about it for quite a while.

You don’t need many-just three and then white in oil or acrylic to give you all you really need for a long, long time.  As much as it pains me to say that as a art supply seller those three colors, the primaries, will give you landscapes with lots of green, flowers with brilliant shades and skins that will take care of pretty much anybody you want to paint.

So it doesn’t have to be difficult.  Get one red, Alizarin Crimson, one yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light and one blue, French Ultramarine Blue, add Titanium White in oil or acrylic and you are done. (Accept no substitutes)  When I start a new student these are the colors they get.  When I travel, these are the only colors I take.  And this spring when I took a workshop from a nationally renowned artist, they were the basis for her skin tones.

Why these particular red, yellows and blues?  They are the best for mixing, at least in my opinion.  Everyone knows the next step is that red and blue make purple, blue and yellow make green and yellow and red make orange.  These are the secondary colors.  The real fun begins when you mix one of the secondary colors say orange (red plus yellow) with it’s compliment (the OTHER primary), blue.  When you start doing that you begin to see what’s inside the color wheel—because you are mixing the colors opposite each other on that wheel.  Red-green, purple-yellow, orange-blue, these are the combinations that will give you those MUDDY colors that everyone is afraid of, but that we need if we are going to paint  anything that is not a bright color.  Want to tone down that bright yellow, add just a touch of purple.  Adding just a bit will knock the edge off, a bit more and you’ll soon get to brown, then some sort of black—and there are lots of those.

Just play with this a bit and you’ll soon see how really easy it is.  I will recommend one color wheel-the Quiller Wheel-it will show you how all these mixtures work.

Give it a try.  You’ll soon see that you can mix with the best  of them.  Always save a little of your color so that you can mix back to it.  It may take you a while in the beginning, but you can do it.  Don’t be tempted to add more colors until you can mix well.  We’ll talk later about what to add and when.  Now go mix and have fun and enjoy your new sense of power.

Next time:  New Colors and White