Creative Sketchbooks, Module 1
Chapter 6: Colour Matching
Activity 6.1: Mix paint to match a picture of fruit or vegetables.
I was a bit wary of this to start with, but once I got going I was fine – I used water colours and found matching colours wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and I really enjoyed it. I remembered to jot down the colours I used, and even tried to keep the track of the proportions I used (there’s progress for you!). I felt a real sense of achievement and was pleased with the results.
Activity 6.2: Make a pattern using the palette created in the previous activity.
The aim was to create a pattern or abstract picture which reflects the proportions of colour in my source picture, which was a very different way of looking at pictures, colour and pattern – it made me inspect the original photo very carefully, and made me realise there was more variety than I thought at first.
For this I had to scribble a looping, curving pattern with white wax crayon, oil pastel, or candle, all of which will resist wet paint. Since it is such a long time since I’ve done any wax resist painting, I experimented with all three, and had a go with masking fluid as well. The oil pastel won out – it had good resist qualities, was much the easiest to use, and was clearly visible on the page (important when your eyesight is bad!).
At one point, despite the warning in the workbook about making lots of paint, I ran out, and initially left it as it was, because I was scared of spoiling it. But later I went back in, mixed up some more, and I don’t think you can see the join, which is good. Overall the results were not too bad, and I was quite pleased. However, although the proportions of colour I used were OK, the balance of colour was wrong – far too much white all blocked together, which made it look unfinished. Perhaps I should go back in and add another colour, to break it up a bit?
Extra Activity: Make a pattern using the palette created in the previous activity.
· Try the same activity as before, but vary the colours used.
· Reverse the proportion of colours used.
· Swap light colours with dark colours and vice versa.
· Swap colours with their complementary colour.
I did a couple of patterns using my pumpkin colours – the first one with different proportions to the original, and the second trying to reverse dark and light, which was not totally successful, but looks quite nice. (The first one is at the top of the page below, the second one is at the top of the next page – I don’t know why I didn’t do them on the same page).
Then I checked my colour wheel to try and make complementary colours for my oranges, yellows, greens and white, and even managed to mix a very dark purplish greyish black from phthalmo blue and alizarin red, which delighted me no end, but I used a ready-made tube of violet which had gone hard for my violet colour – I cut it in half, scooped a bit out with a cocktail stick and watered it down, and it was just what I wanted.
However, I had a disaster with the Alizarin red, because I squeezed a bit too hard and a lot of it came out in a rush, all over the painting, which hadn’t got all that far. I tried rubbing it off with a baby wipe, but that made the mess worse, so I blotted it with kitchen paper, and painted pale red over the biggest and worst bits, where it even covered the waxy outlines. Then I used a wet brush to lift off as much of the smaller blobs of paint as I could, and used a dry brush to get rid of the excess moisture. After everything was thoroughly dry I carried on painting, using darker colours over some of the red. It does look a little peculiar, but it will remind me never, ever to mess around with paints over a work in progress!
Anyway, I did a second attempt, altering the colouring distribution, which looks much better.
I really enjoyed this chapter. I loved the colour matching exercise, and resist painting was a fun technique to play around with. More importantly, it made me think about shape and colour in a different way, and to consider the variations of just one colour, and how changing the proportions of colours used in a picture can alter its appearance. I’d like to try this with identical pictures.