January's Challenge: Colour!

Updated: Mar 28

Use any colour medium (water colour, acrylic, pastel, oil, etc) but only use the three primary pigments of your medium. Your choice of primaries can be a pure hue (something like cadmium red, cadmium yellow and winsor blue) or a less saturated hue (like burnt sienna, raw sienna and paynes grey). To familiarize yourself with the colours you have chosen, start by making a colour wheel with your three colours, Play around with mixing the complimentary colours to create tertiary colours. When you are familiar with your colours, create a painting using only these three colours. If you are using oils or acrylics you should use white as well, but try not to use any black. Your painting can be any composition or style. Your subject can be a painting you have already finished, a photograph, or the abstract painting from the November challenge, or something completely fresh. Please bring in your source, your colour wheel and your painting for our discussion on January 22nd.

Here is some information on colour theory:


Colour theory is a huge topic! Because it is used in so many mediums it is easy to get lost on the internet with a lot of language and theory. Colour theory pertaining to printing ink, photography, or digital images all use slightly different languages. You will find the most useful information if you use your medium in your word search i.e. colour theory for watercolours. Try not to get too hung up on the language. What’s important is to understanding what happens when you mix two primary colours together to create secondary colours, and what happens when you mix three primary colours to create tertiary colours. From there it’s just a matter of proportions to play with and explore!

Here are a few videos I found that keep it simple:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8xryaE0-jE - basic colour theory


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNwigHHjTEQ - colour mixing for water colours


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BHHf1-dmco - colour mixing with acrylics


Here is an example of a colour wheel using Permanent Magenta, Cadmium Yellow and Payne’s Grey. The colour wheel mixes secondary colours. The swatches on the side are exploring tertiary colours mixing primaries with secondaries.


Here is an example of the painting I did using this colour wheel.






Remember, the purpose of the challenge is to explore and stretch your creativity, and most importantly…. to have some fun!!!

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