Monday, June 8, 2015

Artist of the Month Week Two: CMY vs BRY

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

Picking colors can be very overwhelming, and picking colors that, well, just don't work  can turn a really great page in to a dull, muddy mess. I tend to try and work in triads, to not only lessen the stress of picking colors, but to keep my page brighter and more cohesive. 

Everyone knows the primary colors are Blue, Red, and Yellow. And with them you can make any color. So in theory you should only need three colors... right? We artsy folks know its almost never that simple when picking paint, as there may be 10 or more versions of blue alone! Typically, the BRY scheme is referring to Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow. Its pretty easy to get some shade of green and orange when mixing colors but purple..... Without getting too technical (like that Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red and Yellow are all warm colors), if you have ever tried to mix these colors, its pretty tricky to get a purple, let alone all the other vibrant colors we know exist. 

Ironically it was an IT friend of mine who, after I swore all colors can be made with BRY, asked me the question of whether or not I ever noticed that printers use CYAN, MAGENTA, and YELLOW, not Blue, Red and Yellow. Hmmmm. Good point. My printer can certainly make purple, every time.

For a quick reference, the top purple below is cyan and magenta, the bottom is ultramarine blue and perylene scarlett (which I often use in place of cadmium red).


So again without getting too technical (like that Cyan, Magenta and lemon Yellow are all cool colors), CYM can create much more vibrant colors, which out as much chance of making "mud". For example, in the page below my son, two at the time, made the base with CMY, and I added a few doodles over the top. See how rich the colors remained? Even the muds are pretty.

 So this week, spend some time making triads with some of your favorite paints. Start by picking a blue, a yellow and red and see what works but more importantly what doesn't. Substitute in a pink for red and see the changes. Then a cyan, etc. 

 All this said, there is a time an place for BRY. Most landscape scenes are a bit muted and not a vibrant, so a more muted palette might really work better. Now if I was painting a tropic beach scene, CMY might be the way to go. Look at the two images below. Where can you envision seeing these color schemes? The beach? The mountains? 

So think about what you are trying to achieve with your painting. I lean a bit more towards the whimsical, so CMY is my go to palette. When I am working on nature sketches or more classical pieces, I incorporate the traditional BRY a bit more.

Tip: you probably hear a lot about warm and cool colors. If you are looking for a more "neutral" color, mix a warm and cool together. 

Continue to experiment with flooding colors into one another (if you are using acrylic, just keep adding touches of each other, or you can water things down so they act a bit more like a watercolor). I lean towards watercolors because I just adore the granulation and interactions that occur, but just keep playing there is no rule you can't use a pink Dylusions spray with a cyan acrylic with a yellow watercolor. There is also no rule you can't use an ultramarine blue with magenta and lemon yellow. My personal most favorite purple comes from ultramarine blue mixed with magenta. 

Below are a few pages I made while experimenting. Hold on to you sheets for down the road. The make wonderful collage fodder and you never know where you might be able to use them!

After you have mastered the CMY triad, see what else you can come up with, as well as secondary triads. The one below was done with a Pthalo turquoise (Daniel Smith), a helios purple (Sennelier) and sunshine orange (Holbian).

I hope you will share your work with usl Please feel free to post links to your work (be it blog, flickr, etc) in the comments below.

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

Thanks again for joining us this week. Hope you have fun. See you next week, for keeping a color journal!

Here are the other weeks' lessons

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