Monday, June 22, 2015

Artist of the Month Week Four: Embracing Neutrals

Hey everyone! Melissa here again. Big thanks to Terri for coordinating all this. For those of you just tuning in, Terri organized an Artist of the Month for DLP and 52 Friends, a Facebook group of fabulous artsy lovers and mail swappers. I am June's teachers and this month we will be studying color.

In week's one, two, and three covered monochromatic colors, a basic, but bright, cyan-magenta-yellow triad color, and keeping a color journal. Now that we have practiced stretching a single color and achieving bright mixed colors, we are going to do the complete opposite and make mud, or neutral colors!

Neutrals can really ground a painting as they give your eye something to rest on. As mentioned in week two, by using CYM, you can retain a certain level of brightness, even in your neutrals.

Neutrals are achieved when all three primaries (cyan, yellow and magenta) are present and typically in equal amounts. However, by varying the proportion of each color, you can achieve some gorgeous, soft colors that still have a strong hue to them. The photo below was made with left over paint from cleaning off my palette. Grab a scrap piece of paper and use the let over paint off yours.

So lets start making a page of "mud" that we will use in a project later on. In the photo below, the watercolors were allowed to just bleed into one another, helped along with some gentle page tilting. 

Not so scary, huh? Continue covering the whole page with your paints, letting the mud emerge. We will add another layer, so if its too muddy or even too bright don't worry. 

Note: This is the page the color wheels from week two were demo'd on, so this is a great time to re-use some old practice sheets.

Next, lets cut up the sheet into either Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) or tag size pieces. ATCs are typically 2.5 in x 3.5 in and tags are usually 3 in x 6 in. 

Next grab some collage ephemera that will help some of the colors pop out. The pink from this ATC was begging to show off so I tried to pick pieces that would highlight it.  This would also be a great time to reference your color journal for some new color schemes to play with and you add layers.

All done! This is a great way to use up scraps and give them a new life that can be gifted or traded.

Another idea to get used to playing with neutrals is to start with a water soluble base, like watercolors or even water based markers, then paint over with some watered down acrylics. The watercolors will reactive, like in the painting below, and creating a much softer piece as they blend with the new paint. 

Earlier we made a page from cleaning off our palettes. You can then doodle over these scrap for more one of a kind tags or cards, or perhaps practice some lettering. I added another layer of single colors to the girl below to help differentiate the features. 

That's it for the Artist of the Month series from me. Thank you so much for hanging out with me while we play with color. I hope you had a great time and and would love to see your work. 

Update: here are the links to the previous weeks' lessons

I would love to hear your thoughts on this course. Feel free to hit me up on Instagram @mbochat, Facebook BochatArt Twitter @melissabochat

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