My Watercolor Wheel and Tools of the Trade

Color Theory Lori Craig

As we’ve been winding down the summer and getting both of my girls settled into high school for the year, I’ve been hitting the books myself! I’m currently watching a FABULOUS watercolor class being taught by my friend, Michelle Wooderson called Close to Home A Watercolor Landscape Journey.

kinsale watercolor

In anticipation of this class, I did take a little Winsor Newton travel palette on vacation earlier this month.  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the dock at my father-in-law’s home on the Chesapeake Bay and painting the day away… There is something so peaceful about being outside. I was happy with the trees… I’ve much to learn regarding water and sky…

Thus far, I feel like I am learning what I thought I wanted to know.  I highly recommend Michelle’s comfortable teaching style and the way she lays out her information.

cattle pen sketch lori craig

As I’m delving into the painting process, first, I wanted to show you the start of another painting…  On the left is a small sketch that I used to layout value on my final image and color selection before I start painting – I used an Aristo .5mm Mechanical Pencil and Aristo Click Eraser from Imagination International. Great tools for your desk or a small travel bag!

I’d love to get outside this weekend with my sketchbook, but I started this freehand from a photo that I took of the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills, not far from my home. Eventually I’ll paint the larger sketch above on the right.

value scale sketch lori craig

The mechanical pencil was great for adding value in my small sketch – light shading to heavy hatch marks allow me to color map.

You can see a quick Copic Warm Gray value scale on the left… And, it’s helpful in making a color map. This is something I often do with more detailed images when I am coloring with Copic. Once the map is created, you don’t have to think about the “where” and “why”  – if you are interrupted mid-project, you just check your map and go… like driving a car! The Copic class Vintage Value and Monotone workshop or the Intermediate Certification are other great resources to learn more specifically about shading and color value.

ROYGBIV swatches Lori Craig

One of my first colorful tasks was to finish swatching paint samples. I wanted to see if I had color gaps that I {ahem} should fill. It took a few minutes, but I’m thrilled to have swatches of true color that I can use when I’m working to color match … the actual pigment almost NEVER matches the packaging… We all know that!

I’ve started out with Winsor Newton watercolors… They were readily available to me, and a reasonable price point for a newbie. I had some that I purchased for the Watercolor for Card Makers class I took last winter… I did need to add a few tubes. I love the rich colors, and I won’t lie… the fancy silver tubes make me feel like a longtime artist! I’m a sucker for pretty packaging!

color wheel close up

 

After I selected a rounded color palette with my swatches, we really talked about the color wheel. I painted a large watercolor wheel that I can hang in my studio for reference while I work. This sheet is 10″ x 14″… I love seeing the colors run next to each other… I can’t wait to start painting!

 

So, what do you want to learn this fall? I’m so grateful that we can always keep learning, growing and stretching. Art is so good for the soul in that regard… Let’s hit the books!

More tomorrow… including a winner for my Concord & 9th giveaway!

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