My query is to hear your thoughts on tips for learning color for beginners.... Ive have taken the daunting step of wanting to learn all about color but don't know what should be the first thing I should start with?
I predominantly have been working in graphite and charcoal and with so much information available and so many varied opinions on color, where should I begin to ensure I learn the principles of color in the right way and not become overwhelmed in the process.
Artists work to improve their color all of their lives, but I suppose their are a number of good ways to begin . I guess I would recommend, (bullets please)
- Start out simply, use a three color palette to begin with red, yellow, blue, (plus white) rather than trying to learn your way around a wide palette.
- Learn to mix the colors that you you see in a still life. Set up simple arrangements and try to match the colors as exactly as you can. Learning to accurately mix the color notes you see in front of you is a basic color skill, and you need to have it mastered.
- Do some small (8 by 10) color copies of paintings from books that have color that you like. Again be careful to match the colors as closely as you can.
- When you have learned to work from a three color palette enlarge your selection so it contains a warm and a cool version of each color I suggest Cad. red light, Ultramarine, and Cadmium yellow medium and Permanent Alizarin , Cobalt blue, Cadmium lemon . This is not the normal palette I recommend, but one chosen to give you a warm and cool of each hue for study purposes.
- I have written a little on color on this blog, if you search my archives under the tag "color" you will get to most of those.
- Here are some books on color to study;
"Keys to Successful color" in Landscape painting by Foster Caddell. A simple primer on impressionist color for the landscape painter. An easy read and contains excellent illustrations explaining the artists decision making.
"Principles of Color" by Faber Birren. A standard art school text, relatively easy to read and not too technical . Some texts are scientific beyond the needs of one learning color as a beginner.
James Gurney has a new book coming out very soon, called "Color and Light" I expect it will be excellent, I have seen some of the material on his blog.
- Robert Gamblin has an excellent explanation of color and the Munsell system for charting it, here on his companies web site. It is a very high production video and exciting visually. You should learn a little about the system and its terminology.
- Sling paint, lots of it. In the long run, that's what it takes, after gaining an understanding of how color works you can work towards a personal way of handling color.