Drawing With Color 1.8 (also called 1.6 in the 6 week course).

This is the last segment in an 8-week sequence of Drawing With Color lessons that I teach at The Drawing Studio in Tucson. In this post I will recap some of the basic concepts of working with color through the practice of drawing from observation.

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We work with the standard 12 color wheel that was developed by Sir Isaac Newton. The diagrams in the middle of the color wheel have corners that point to a number of possible color combinations or harmonies. Newton discovered that a spectrum was neurologically perceived as complete when certain color selections were made. This course has investigated those harmonies. This last selection is a variation of using a complementary and analogous palette: called a simple harmony, which is a pair of complements with two adjacent colors on either side of either of the complements. But, you must choose only two analogous colors on one side of a chosen complement, for a total of four colors.

The harmony being used for this assignment is yellow and violet, with the two analogous colors yellow-green and green.

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Above are some of my notes on the board showing four possibilities  using yellow as the dominant color. A dominant color helps determine what the rest of the palette, or harmony will be. Determining what harmony you choose depends on your subject matter.

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Above is an older drawing of mine using orange as a dominant color, using a simple harmony. Orange and blue are the complementary colors, and yellow-orange and yellow are the two analogous colors used.

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For the current assignment, I sliced up some yellow squash and placed them on a mirror, so that I could use their reflections as part of the composition. I placed a strong light source on the still life so that I could see a variety of values. Remember that like black and white drawing, drawing with color must show a variety of value in order to portray a convincing form in space.

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I’ve started my drawing, paying attention to using all of the colors in my harmony to make darker values, create interesting shadows, and develop a believable background space. I use colors with cooler temperature for the background spaces, and warmer for the foreground. (Cool colors recede, warm advance). I “sneak” all four colors a little bit everywhere, in order to unify the composition, so that areas will not look “flat” or like cut-out shapes.

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Here are some of my students working on their drawings.

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Nice work everyone! It has been a challenging opportunity to learn new ways to perceive combining and layering different color combinations and spacial configurations. The class this term really rose to the occasion. Thank you!

 


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