Love Me Some Color Charts

The Learning Continues...Color Charts

(first published April 15, 2008, edited 9/20/2017)

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Being one of those 'fortunate' people who is equally at home working out of each side of my brain, this exercise was right up my alley! Left Brain: analytical, math, computer. Right Brain: creative, dreamer, ARTIST. Sometimes it takes time to shut off my left brain so my right brain can enjoy the creative process. One trick I use is to have my iPod earphones IN MY EARS. For some strange reason my left brain (control freak/little bossy voice) listens to the music instead of barking orders or cautions to me while painting. Music playing through speakers is too easily tuned out. Listening to audio books or podcasts helps too.

SO, as I investigated the much recommended modern master painter, Richard Schmid and his fabulous book 'Alla Prima' I decided to follow his suggestion and painted the color charts using his choice of pigments...11 of them. On 12 pieces of canvas, you end up with 660 different tints of color...over a 5 step value plan.

Both brains had a ball...the left keeping me organized so i would mix the right pigments in the right order...the right having as much fun as a kid in a candy store marveling over all the 'preddy kolors'. Finished all 13 in 3 days...now that is an example of left brain obsession!

BUT, let's TAKE IT UP A NOTCH...BAM! I (or probably my left brain) didn't want the fun to stop, so I started over with Ann Templeton's 16 pigments...17 sheets, 1360 color tints.

The absolute beauty of these colors is that they are all mixed with pure pigment...only 2 pigments (different colors) and white. Clean, Fresh, Exciting! 

Worked on these one day in an art group I go to, and was told by a couple artists that I was wasting my time. Of course, Richard Schmid's paintings are in major museums and collections, and he does these periodically himself. 

Ultimately you will learn how to mix these without your cheat sheets, but in the meantime they are a wonderful tool.

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