I’m an FAA member and was quite inspired by Nita Leland’s presentation at our February meeting.
A little background: I’m a relatively new watercolorist (5-ish years), and my color palette has been mostly driven by the most recent workshop, or another artist whose work I admire. As a result, I have a substantial box of watercolor tubes, most of which languish in the box. I was “other driven” and found myself stuck in a rut using the same colors, and not being totally happy with that.
Last summer, I took my way-too-many watercolor tubes and made color charts – a page for each primary, one for greens, another for earth tones (color, brand, pigment, transparent/opaque, staining, lifting, etc). What surprised me most was that different brands with same name and/or pigment can appear differently on paper. OK, that was enlightening. Now what?
Nita’s approach to playing and experimenting inspired me to sort through my primaries and work through her handout (the Compatible Harmony Triads) (Attachment 1), make color charts with different triads (Attachment 2), and use those to paint a scene using each. I’m embarrassed to say I had most of the primaries for her eight studies!
I picked a simple scene, one that wouldn’t bore me. After #5, I was re-e-e-e-ally tired of the scene, but, the colors kept me inspired. The one painting that surprised me the most was the bold palette. I “washed them out” to depict bright noon sun on my birdhouse; colors were totally different from the full strength (yogurt!) application on my color wheel.
I am taking Yuki Hall’s workshop, and played with “her” colors to become more familiar with them; I plan to do that before any future workshops. Knowing how the colors play together ahead of time will, I hope allow me to focus on learning new techniques.
Now, I’m reading Nita’s latest book, Exploring Color Workshop (30th Anniversary Edition) and preparing to do the exercises. Just reading the book has connected so many dots, and clarified terms and concepts that other instructors merely glaze over (no pun intended!).
I have great incentive to learn to make colors express what I want. My husband and I travel often. I want the sketches in my travel journals to reflect the differences between blinding Grand Canyon light and colors and the fog-draped silence of Alaska’s Inside Passage. That’s my goal!
So, I am thankful to Nita Leland for sharing her gift and passion with us, for jump-starting my adventure into playing with color, and for laying out a clear learning path for this journey. Many thanks to the FAA folks who invited Nita to speak to us, and to whoever drew my name for the door prize – the Arches watercolor paper tablet will be the perfect color study journal. …..Submitted by Peggy Bowman
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