Color Rehearsal: Mixing and Matching

Matching the hue, chroma, and value of colors and examining how they react to light is a prime concern to most painters. Devoting entire painting sessions to color study exercises is a great way to develop color sensitivity. Spend some time on color rehearsal.

Color rehearsal has nothing to do with making a painting. The point isn't to produce a masterpiece, but to focus on training the eye to distinguish color values, to get familiar with where color occurs in the rainbow and distinquish levels of saturation. Trust the process. Your color sensitivity will become more heightened as a result.

Try this exercise.

We use technology in this color rehearsal. The exercise will result in a 7" x 5" oil sketch canvas of the Cone, Blocks and Reel still life.

It starts with a high resolution photograph of this blue cone placed in a white setting. The cone shares space with 3 white blocks and an empty tape dispensing reel. The composition is broken up into distinguishable areas in terms of hue, value, and intensity and then numbered.

Using simple photo editing software, a color chip sampler is created and printed. This is the key when mixing colors on the palette. After matching all the paint chips, as closely as possible, virtually all hues, values and intensities needed for painting this still life will be premixed and ready to use. Don't worry that colors change in the photograph, then change further when printed. This is an exercise in seeing and mixing a precise palette.

In this exercise, do not use black in your palette. Every color and value in this palette was created with 5 colors: titanium white, ultramarine blue deep, cadmium red deep, vermillion, and cadmium yellow light. Keep your 5 tube colors available for fine tuning the premixed pallette as you work on your sketch.

Almost finished, this is the palette of all the colors sampled from the high resolution photo.

The colors, again, won't be the same as those that are seen in reality, but for this color matching exercise the palette works. It can be used to make a 5" x 7" color oil sketch.

That was fun!

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