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The Magic of Watercolor

Lesson 4 of 24

Understanding Color

Molly Murrah

The Magic of Watercolor

Molly Murrah

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Lesson Info

4. Understanding Color


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Overview Duration:1:05:57
2 Q&A Duration:47:19
  Class Trailer
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1 Paint Properties Duration:25:46
2 Understanding Color Duration:11:06
3 The Color Wheel Duration:22:18
4 Other Color Terms Duration:21:35
5 Mixing Colors Duration:10:27
6 Light & Shadow Duration:13:11
7 Q&A Duration:21:36
  Class Trailer
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2 Papers & Manufacturers Duration:41:35
3 Watercolor Brushes Duration:45:21
4 Putting it All Together Duration:14:13
5 Q&A Duration:23:24
  Class Trailer
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2 Drawing for Painting Duration:50:40
3 Proportion and Perspective Duration:29:47
4 Supplies for Next Week Duration:48:09
  Class Trailer
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2 Creating Textures Duration:11:57
3 Reserving Whites & Lifting Duration:29:11
4 Wax Resist Duration:07:00
5 Other Techniques Duration:25:37
6 Things to Remember Duration:10:57

Lesson Info

Understanding Color

here is where we're going to talk about understanding color those were the properties of the paints now we're going to talk about color itself and understanding how to use it and the power of color and one of the things that I love about color is that you can do a painting that doesn't have a recognizable shape and it it all but you can still end up with a beautiful painting and this was just a little study this is not a very big painting it was just a little study I did on just using various pigments and trying to put them down in a way that would enhance each other and that would end up creating a something that it was lovely to look at and I think I succeeded I'm very happy with this little study it's actually the header I use on my website so it's like what hans hoffman said at the beginning when I showed his quote way see all of life through color and color arouses our emotions to and everybody basically knows that like yellow stands for friendship and attraction and confidence an...

d intellect red is passion love danger and anger I thought that was very interesting that passion love danger and anger represented by the same color and then dark blue eyes impulsive it represents depression it's the color you know oh I feel blue today it's the color for you psychic abilities and it represents the concept of being very changeable is well and all of the all of the colors have a symbolism attached to them and we pretty much I have become aware of that you see it in advertising you see it in headlines you see it you see colors support concept everywhere you go and that's because colors have a symbolism to them but like I say colors can make a painting beautiful even when there is no distinguishable form in the painting okay our color fundamentals if you understand how colors work if you understand how complementary colors work together how analogous colors work together it frees you to be creative and wherever you want to put them and I showed this painting before last time I mean I don't know any structures out there that actually look like this but this painting it is so exciting to me I mean I just love all the colors everywhere I you know peak right sort of coral colored pink and blues and awkward and it just makes for a really incredibly exciting painting and it's not really I mean you don't see this in reality at all okay color strategy now here is a photograph that was taken and toti italy when I went there with my teacher dan lemley look what she was able to do with that picture she turned that dull boring picture into a beautiful exciting painting and I just you know that's a strategy that's making a boring subject exciting it's using complementary colors to highlight each other and make them pop off the paper it's putting colors where you don't see them his kind you really have to think outside the box color wise I mean come on that would never would have thought make a light purple sky when it's obviously so clear completely completely and and as a realistic painter that's kind of difficult for me but that that's another thing that I have to train myself out of I would go in and paint a monotone green tree and would you let cars in well probably not probably would have taken the cars out but you know it's it's a literal painter and this has been something that's been very very difficult for me to deal with this is because I love to paint detailed but you you have to pull your head out of the detailed realistic aspect of it in order to do a realistic painting that really works and she pays no attention to any of that she puts I mean look at the colors in the stairs I mean she just puts colors wherever she wants him and wherever she thinks sustaining needs them but that's the beauty of art everybody every artist personality comes out in there that's exactly right and the more you know them the more that you see the personality that's exactly right and it is the beauty of art and and the viewers personality comes out as well I mean you can't divorce art from personality either from the painting side or the viewing side because I mean I their paintings that win first place and some of the juried shows I've seen around here that I think are the ugliest things I've ever seen in my life I mean and everybody I talked to thought it was the ugliest thing they are selling their life but the juror loved it so you know there's no rhyme or reason really to any of this and this is that painter ted not all that I told you used to stick his brushes sit this mouth you reminded me of a lot of golf players you see who clean off their golf ball look after the you know by putting it in their mouth if so taking risks with color is another thing that it's really important to learn how to do and have the nerve to do unexpected colors in life and a painting and I just want you to look carefully at this painting here see this green dot up here this is ted not all who does this technique of sloppy dots look at the red in the corners of the eyes this is a blue eye and that's a green I look at the colors down here look at the chin there's hardly even any flesh color in this area of the chin that's painted all blue and he loves tio have the drips and runs on his paintings so he always his paintings almost always have some kind of drip or run on it but look at this painting I mean it is just exquisite it's one of my favorites of hiss and and he has captured the essence of this little boy in a way that you know not many painters khun do we're still sort of in the intro of things here and it's part of what we're doing but you know if anybody has any any questions about taking risks with color and understanding how strategy is so important to a painting there were a couple there was one person that I saw I promised I would ask later on the last now that want to know of the nine colors that you've outlined are all those necessary for someone are are are some more important another if you're pointing other really simple pal you know you're old you'll develop your favorites I mean they're painters out there that have a tendency to paint and very bright garish colors there are other painters who paint very subdued so once you experiment with these colors I just wanted you to know I would a number one wanted you to understand that there were two sides to every color there's sort of a warm and cool side to it and and understanding that is really important but know if you start painting with these colors I mean their colors on my palate that I go to all the time and others I just ignore and yet they're on my palette and but every once in a while I'll have an object and I'll go oh boy I need paranoia orange they're paranoid orange is a very intense color and and it's not it's not really close to being a natural color but there are times when it's just perfect and a painting so it's on my palate but I don't use it a lot yes you so for the beginners in the audience are these nine colors that you would recommend everyone start out with why did you pick these nine are there not thousands of other color there are about yeah there are and just from a beginner standpoint where should they start with color and and are these the colors that you recommend well these are the colors that are recommend starting with because you're pretty much be able to mix just about anything wanted that and when we get to the color wheel I'll explain a little bit about that but one of the things that that that you want to do to maintain clean vibrant colors is that if you're looking for an orange you'll most of the time try to mix your orange either from your yellow cool you're cool yellow and cool red you don't try to cross over because as soon as you mix a warm color with a cool color you're bringing a little bit of the third primary into the mix and so to keep your color's kind of vibrant you'll mix your cools together and you'll make sure warms together now I'm makes him cross all the time because sometimes I just you know uh I need a yellow and I just go in it's it's it's that part of the strategy is takes a lot of time to develop the other thing I wanted to do was to put the opaque colors in there and at least one good stainer in there so that everybody would see what a stain ercan do and everybody would see what an opaque could do if you start mixing like I encourage people to go home and mix too opaque colors together and see what happens I actually have a slide of that here to show you what that looks like these air just characteristics that you have to play around with your pains but I wanted to get trance parents semi transparent opaque ce stayner's and granulated pigments and all of those five areas are covered in the nine paints yes I have a question I have ah a different set of colors are so is there a way for me to take the name of the color and look up online to see which categories it falls and absolutely absolutely if I mean I can send you right to the daniel smith site they have and now this is for their paints I mean they're talking about their paints but like the they list the light fastness they list capacity they list you know the obviously the price and stuff like that and that I mean I've I've learned a huge amount for this presentation just studying the daniel smith catalog and and most catalogs will do that for you they'll give you a lot of information and you can figure that out ok going there depending on who manufactured your pain we also have comment online people who want to get further information on exploring color and more knowledge just about color and somebody said on your website you had mentioned needed leland's exploring colored workbook as being good yeah I need a leland and she you can find out a lot of information about her she's very good at exploring color and you can find a lot of information from her website she puts a lot of it up there's a huge amount of information out there online and and I gathered a lot of it and called it down for this presentation but you can go out and find pretty much a lot of the things that I found myself and just delve into this in many different layers its people posted you know it's the internet it's out there you can find it

Class Description

Join Molly Murrah for a fun, 5-week watercolor class for beginners. Learn about color, papers, brushes, drawing and composition, as well as many great painting techniques that will get you working and playing with watercolors!


Susan Mueller

Absolutely loved this class! I've been fiddling with watercolor for the last year, but have never really taken any art classes. This was the perfect intro level class in so many ways, covering basic principles of color, composition, etc. - and always in a warm, encouraging atmosphere. I learned so much about watercolor as a medium, and I would recommend this to anyone interested in getting involved with it. Would love to take a class with Molly again!

a Creativelive Student

I absolutely love this medium and have owned the material for about 5 or so years now, afraid to waste them. I've bought books but realizing I am both a visual and audio learner, this is the format for me. It is so important for me to be able to replay and review the information that taking a local course is just not as convenient as this has been for me. Molly is a delight to watch and listen to, she is such a wealth of knowledge. Thank you Molly and thank you CreativeLive!!! I am in love with this site.

Linda Berg

Molly is captivating! Her soothing voice exudes her love of watercolour painting! She is very organized and knows how to paint with watercolours and how to teach it as well. Not all painters can teach... I was drawn into her 'teachings', loved listening to her wealth of knowledge, and signed up for her course. Oh, I recommend it totally!