Make a [Water]Color Wheel

Learn how to capture the beauty and radiance of watercolor—even if you’ve never painted before! Professional watercolorist Annie Strack will take you through the essential techniques and concepts of watercolor painting. You’ll learn how to use your watercolor materials to create washes, work wet-into-wet, suggest value changes, establish color and light, execute stunning compositions and much more. Sign up for this course at Artist’s Network University.
Course includes downloads of course textbook and video. Follow the quick and easy lesson below using watercolors to create your own color wheel, taken directly from Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner, by Mark and Mary Willenbrink.

Understanding Color Temperature
Warm colors are the reds, oranges and yellows and are also referred to as aggressive colors because they give the impression of coming forward. Cool colors, greens, blues and violets, are referred to as recessive colors because they give the impression of dropping back.


Assigning Temperature on the Color Wheel
Yellow-green and red-violet fall between warm and cool and can be used as warm or cool. You can use color temperature along with linear and atmospheric perspectives to emphasize depth.







Assigning Temperature to a Scene
When I’m working on a painting, I often think of the areas bathed in sunlight as predominantly warm colors and the areas in shadow as predominately cool colors.

Making a Color Wheel

You’ll need one sheet of 140-lb. (300gsm) cold-press paper; tracing paper; a 2B tracing pencil; alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow and Prussian blue paints; a no. 10 round brush and water.
1. Draw or trace this wheel onto 140-lb. (300gsm) cold-press paper. Your color wheel doesn’t have to be this neat; you may prefer just to lay down swatches of color in a circular arrangement. Paint the primary colors in every fourth block.

2. Then, mix each primary color with each of the other primary color to make the secondary colors. Paint these halfway between the primary colors so every other block has color. Make sure you leave enough of each secondary color on your palette to mix the tertiary colors.

3. Mix each of the primary colors with the adjacent secondary color to create the six tertiary colors: yellow and orange for yellow-orange, yellow and green for yellow-green and so on. Paint the tertiary colors in the remaining blocks.

Finished Color Wheel
Your color wheel should look something like this.





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