Color Study #1(follow up)

Today began the first day of my six week expressions course with HMS. I have seven students and a wonderful studio I’m excited to teach my lessons in.


We began by going over the color wheel. I showed them student examples of the lesson and decided right away to have the students begin by drawing out the template for their color schemes. They each got 11×14 bristol board, a pallet knife, pallet paper, brushes and a jar of water.

We drew out the template by measuring 1 inch down from the top and drawing a line across. Then 3.5 inches down from that line, drew a line across the page, we repeated this step two more times, each time measuring 3.5 inches down from the top line leaving 2 inches left for their monochromatic scale.

They next drew 3 inch tall by 2.5 inch wide boxes on each line. They drew out 9 of these, and then the boxes had lines drew threw each at 1 inch measurements.

After this was complete our lesson could start. While the process of preparing the bristol for the painting took a while, I also explained to my students that painting is a process. It takes time, and you will spend more time on preparing your surface and mixing colors then you will on painting.

So once the paper was set up we started by talking about the primary colors. I only gave the students red, blue, yellow, and white to work with.  They were told to use only the pallet knife for mixing (instead of mixing with your paint brush). For most of the class, the pallet knife was a brand new tool that they had to figure out how to work. I showed them to hold the knife as though they were ‘buttering bread’ or ‘icing a cake’. This helped a bit, but I found that as the class wore on and they used the tool they began to understand the best way to make it work for them.


We started with the triadic colors. This was the colors that when a triangle is drawn on a traditional 12 sectioned color wheel you come up with red, blue & yellow, green, orange & violet, and three of the tertiary colors. They were to mix all of these colors only from the primary red, blue and yellow. (Additionally I only set out the three primary colors plus white so they had to think only in terms of the three primary’s)

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Once the three columns on top were painted we moved onto Analogous colors. These are the colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel. So if we choose orange and moved clock wise on the color wheel you would also paint yellow and yellow green. Or if you choose violet and moved clockwise on the color wheel you would also choose red violet and red.

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The last row of colors was for split complimentary. This is when you choose a primary or secondary color and then move across the color wheel and the two colors on the opposite side of the compliment color are what you would paint. For example, if I choose yellow, then my split compliment would be red violet and blue violet. Or orange would have blue violet and green blue.

The bottom 1x6in row is for the monochromatic color where the student can choose his or her favorite color and create a scale from white to pure color. Since we only have six squares to fill they can start by adding a small amount of color to white. They mix that as their lightest color. Then the will add more color to each step. Their last color being as dark as they can get.

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In the end I was super happy with all that the students got out of the experience of mixing only primary colors to make so many variations of color. The next lesson Color Study 2 I will give the students the full spectrum of colors. I have been using the student grade acrylic colors. I am also going use craft acrylic paints which give us even more fun colors to work with.


2 thoughts on “Color Study #1(follow up)

  1. Pingback: Color Study #1 | Art Lessons from Artrait, LLC

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