Category Archives: Project 1: Understanding colour

Exercise 4: Complementary colours

This exercise is devoted to complementary colours. The colours that are on the opposite sides of the colour spectrum/ wheel. These truly o work together to create harmonious colours.

I started by making my own colour wheel using Chevreul’s colour wheel as an example. More research on this artist can be found within my research points section within my learning log blog.

year 1 part 2 colour wheel 001

I then progressed on to considering the twelve colours from Chevreul’s colour wheel, laying each colour next to its opposite/ complementary on another grey ground. I have added white to for examples. I have made mixtures of the complementary colours and the effects of these are incredible. Side by side, each appear to become stronger. Through their contrasts they bounce of each other.

year 1 part 2 complementary colours 001


Exercise 2: Primary and secondary colour mixing and Exercise 3: Broken or tertiary colours

This has been a really insightful experiment. Through several books and websites, it appears that the paints that can be called most like the prime colours, are very much of personal opinion. This encourages me to believe that alike art itself, colour is very much perceived in a personal way. This in mind I undertook these exercises, provoked by the course material.

After preparing the ground,  including mixing black with a white emulsion. The neutral grey that I mixed made an interesting background. Similar to the previous experiment, I found that the colours became richer and much more intense, using this background colour. I do enjoy layering the paint on top of a painted background, there is much more stability and control.

I lay down the different tones of yellow, blue and red that I currently have and experimented to find what I felt showed the purest of prime colour.

Below each colour I have included an example of the colour mixed with white underneath it.

The yellow that I chose as my prime was Lemon with a really small amount of mid yellow mixed. This in my opinion was the closest prime.

The Blue that I chose was ultramarine. I originally mixed cerulean with it, however, ultramarine was the hue that I favoured and was in my opinion the closest prime.

The Red that I felt was the closest prime was a mixture of scarlet and crimson. The colours seemed to bring out the richness in each other.

Arranging the yellows in different positions definitely altered their intensity and hue.

I then went on to create scales between yellow and red, yellow and blue and red and blue. Experimenting with their tonal values was educational. The mid tone between red and blue created a greyish brown, not as successful as I would of liked though.

Exercise 3. Broken or tertiary colours

I spent some time creating a scale between an orange red and green blue (crimson red and orange through to cerulean and viridian). I added a little white to try and maintain consistent tonal values. At the mid point I added a little more white, resulting in grey (known as broken or tertiary colour. This type of colour makes up the appearance of much of our world).

I then went on to make a carefully graded scale between orange to violet adding a little white again. Again the middle mixes lose chroma thus becoming broken or tertiary colours.

year 1 part 2 e2 001 (lower right two scales are exercise 3)

Working through these pieces of coursework has really helped me experience the possibilities available to me through my paints and the possibilities of doing justice to what I am seeing and the ways that I am seeing to.

Exercise 1: Mixing greys – anachromatic scale

During this entire project, I will be looking at, experimenting with and examining the Hue (the way that one colour is distinguished from another), chroma (the intensity of colour) and tone (how light or dark it is).

Personal note: According to “The acrylic paint colour wheel book” (John Barber, search press), the ‘Hue indicates the strength of colour from full saturation down to white.’ For man of my experiments, I have mixed white in with the examples.

Exercise 1:

Mixing black pigment in to white to create a tonal scale.

I began by preparing the ground that I worked on first, so that I was able to work on a smooth surface.

I am really beginning to understand the process of tonal scale slowly but surely. This is a really useful and important skill. Its really interested to see the many hue’s that can be created from two simple colours.

It was also really interesting to see the differences that placing the neutral grey next to both extremes of colour. Both the black and white seemingly appear to be richer in colour and intensity. This is fascinating that by placing grey next to them, shifts how I perceive them. The black in fact appears lighter and brighter, compared to the white that becomes a darker.

year 1 part 2 e1 001