Starting in January the tutorials will use clay. I use Premo for color studies but you can use any of the clays. You will need 2 ounce blocks of six colors plus white. The six colors we will start with are: Magenta/Fuchsia, Red/Cadmium Red, Lemon/Zinc Yellow, Golden/Cadmium Yellow, Med.Blue/Cobalt, and Blue/Ultramarine.
Until you get your clay, we will be using crayons for the tutorials. Color is a very complex subject and I am starting with crayons? Well, yes. We have to start somewhere and I love crayons.
When I was little, we called them “colors” as in “Mom, where are the colors?” If I was really, really lucky, I would get a new box of 64 crayons and immediately dump them out and put all the colors back in the four little boxes the way I wanted them. I grew up sorting colors into Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet. And leftovers. Back then that was the right way.
When I started teaching color I still sorted colors into these six families – the colors of the rainbow. Then I learned the CMY (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) system and I had to adjust my sorting habits.
In the next few weeks I will talk about primaries, double primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries etc. but for now I just want you to practice sorting colors a new way.
- Treat yourself to a new box of 64 crayons. (We will be using them for the next few weeks.) Dump them out. Arrange them in a row from one color to the next starting with reds and ending with purples. You will need to scribble a little bit with each crayon to see the real color. Take out the browns and grays. We’ll talk about them later.
- Divide the crayons into six families – Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, and Purples. Where you make the breaks between the families is entirely up to you. Everyone sees color differently.
- Now subdivide the red pile into orange-reds and magenta (pink) reds, and subdivide the green pile into blue-greens and yellow-greens. You will now have eight families – Orange Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Yellow Greens, Blue Greens, Blues, Purples, and Magentas.
- From now on, everytime you see a red, try to decide if it is a magenta-red or an orange-red . Everytime you see a green, try to decide if it is a yellow-green or a blue-green.You can still think in terms of six families as long as you split the red and green families into two. Being able to see the differences between magenta and orange reds and between blue and yellow greens is the first step in understanding color.
Next week: Correcting the Color Wheel. Have fun with your new box of crayons!
Check out the most popular colors of crayons at http://www.crayola.com/colorcensus/americas_favorites/index.cfm