Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Colour and value, Part 2

I've now completed the first of six lessons for Jane Davies' advanced colour class. For the fourth and final project in Lesson 1, our assignment was to make a colour wheel using primaries of equal value.

Because yellow is almost invariably lighter than either blue or red, the first job was to find my darkest yellow, which was in my set of gouache paint. Flame Red and Sky Blue came from the same set, but had to be lightened with white to match the yellow in value. Using the scanner and photo software helped me to mix the values of the red and blue to match the value of the yellow.

From that point, the task was to create secondary colours (green, orange and violet) that were at the mid-point between their components. The orange was to be midway between the red and the yellow, for example. Then, the same objective with the tertiary colours, so yellow-orange was to be midway between the yellow and the orange, and so on.

What you'll see here are some insipid violets. There are two reasons for this. The red and blue used to mix the violet were both "diluted" with white paint so there was less pigment than needed to make a vibrant violet. Also, the red I used is on the orange side of red. Orange and blue, being complementaries, make a neutral, hence the neutral chroma of those "violets".

No matter. The assignment was to have smooth transitions between the colours, and to use and create colours of the same value. You can see from the black-and-white version of the colour wheel, shown below, that the colours are relatively close in value. If I had used primaries of equal value straight out of the tube, I would bet that there would be more consistency in the values of the resulting colours. No doubt there were some little variations created when I had to re-mix the red and blue as I used up the paint. The theory is that if you start with primaries of equal value, you will get mixes of equal value.

Notice how dark the original red and blue are by comparison. A new way to look at colour.


mona said...

I have run into that muddy violet problem too. A solution would be to mix a more neutral red, neither warm nor cold, from two reds such as Alazarin and Cadmium. Very interesting exercise! Thanks for sharing it.

Heather Dubreuil said...

You're right, Mona. I guess I could have tried that but it would have meant mixing acrylic and gouache. Do you know if that's advisable? I am curious to see what exercises will be assigned next week. Will post something soon.

Maggi said...

You did a great job here. When I saw the first photo I immediately noticed that the was little or no change in value and then read that it was the your intention. Interesting observations on what might have happened had you used primaries of equal value.

Heather Dubreuil said...

Thanks, Maggi. It was a great exercise to sharpen the eye, tuning into value rather than just hue. Colour can be so deceptive!