I am leading a class currently at Wetcanvas! on “Color Explorations” based on the book “COLOR” by Betty Edwards, who as you all know also wrote the amazing book on drawing “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” (I am also working through that book on the side as well.)

I haven’t read the whole book but what I have read, was really good and I am in the process of going through the exercises in the book. At the end of the section, the exercises and the knowledge gained are put together and lead to a very interesting painting showing you how to have color harmony in a painting.

Now, in her book she uses acrylics, but of course, me being me, I am doing them in watercolor.

It starts simply with instructions to make a color wheel of hues but then has exercises to train the eye to recognize value and intensity. There’s a value wheel and intensity wheel too…

She only uses 7 pigments + black & white in her book.
Although I usually never use more than around 5 pigments in a painting, I really have no intentions of limiting my palette to 7 pigments I enjoy having all kinds of lovely delicious colors
But then maybe it will be good to learn and to know the few basic pigments and their characteristics, and that is in fact my main goal in trying this out.

The acrylic colors she uses are:
Titanium white
Ivory black
Cadmium Yellow Pale
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Med
Alizarin Crimson
Cobalt violet
Ultramarine blue
Permanent Green

I will be using these watercolor paints:

DS Hansa Yellow Med
W&N Winsor Orange
W&N Winsor Red
W&N Perm. Alizarin Crimson
W&N Winsor Violet
Schminke Ultamarine blue Finest
W&N Winsor Blue Yellow Shade

The reason she recommends 2 Reds is because a warm red does mix well with cool blues to make a good violet and vice versa.

She has a very nice template in her book to make color wheels:

To use it, you print this out on a paper and cut out the outside circular edge.
Now use a small craft knife to cut out the narrow spaces indicated on the template.
To use the template, simply place the template on watercolor paper and draw the outside circle and draw into the openings that you slit.

Here is a picture of my color wheel template:

Now paint your color wheel.
Yellow on top at 12 o’ clock,
Red at 4 o’ clock,
blue at 8 o’ clock.

Orange at 2 o’ clock,
violet at 6 o’ clock and
Green at 10 o’ clock.

Here we’ll mix the colors…
Yellow-orange at 1 o’ clock
Red-orange at 3 o’ clock
red-violet at 5 o’ clock (the red we mix for violets is alizarin Crimson or another cool red)
Blue-violet at 7 o’ clock
Blue-green at 9 o’ clock
Yellow-green at 11 o’ clock

This is my color wheel… with the colors mentioned above:

And here is a value wheel done with lamp black: