Skip to main content

Watercolor 101

Lesson 8 of 28

Other Color Terms

Molly Murrah

Watercolor 101

Molly Murrah

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

8. Other Color Terms


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Duration:1:11:27
2 Q&A Duration:35:31
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Basic Introduction Duration:04:30
2 Paint and Paint Properties Duration:35:33
3 Understanding Color Duration:08:06
4 Hue: The Color Wheel Duration:14:16
5 Mixing Colors Duration:15:56
6 Other Color Terms Duration:17:07
7 Light and Shadows Duration:03:14
8 Layering and Glazing Duration:06:19
9 Homework Duration:07:47
10 Q&A Duration:08:15
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Watercolor Papers Duration:23:36
2 Paper Characteristics Duration:34:12
3 Watercolor Brushes Duration:19:15
4 Basic Brush Techniques Duration:32:32
5 Putting It All Together Duration:09:28
6 Q&A Duration:07:08
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Drawing for Painting Duration:1:03:45
2 Proportion and Perspective Duration:06:41
3 Good Composition Duration:29:16
4 Last Class Preparation Duration:05:40
5 Q&A Duration:09:10
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction Duration:06:29
2 Creating Textures Duration:19:45
3 Other Fun Techniques Duration:33:13
4 Reserving Whites and Lifting Duration:53:13
5 Things to Remember Duration:21:54

Lesson Info

Other Color Terms

Now we're going to go on to other color terms that you will absolutely run into as a watercolor artist and as an artist in general actually probably so intensity and saturation of the terms you're going to run into a lot um the painting on the left is by that painter uh share ted not all that you like so much there he is with this sloppy dots and and all of that he is what he ted describes himself as a high key painter now I mentioned this last week and I don't know what happens to me in this webinar sometimes I say exactly the opposite of what I really want to say and what I said last week was that ted never has anything in his painting you know ahh lower than a seventy percent tent and what I meant to say was seventy percent tent is about the highest percentage of intensity and his paintings he's a what they call a low key painter so his colors are always in the sort of five ten twenty, fifty sixty percent range very rarely will he get above seventy percent in his intensity um but lo...

ok at the effect he gets I mean that's a very particular style of painting and he does it masterfully also take a look at his cropping he's a master of cropping in nontraditional ways and I love this about him and I just love this about him and and you know, I think I mentioned this last time I can't remember whether I mentioned it last week or whether I mentioned it in the first class, but he has a painting that he won a major award with that shows the guy is his head is like right here on the painting and he's looking off in that direction which you know, michelle, you know, we would never put a photograph in a graphic design piece looking out of the frame and he put that there and then to balance the fact that his subject was looking that way he put a square of color in the painting appear keep your eye on it brilliant absolute I would never think to do it in a million years it was absolutely brilliant he won a major major award with that painting, so we're talking about brightness or dullness here and we're talking about the chroma or house saturated color is that's what we mean when we talk intensity and saturation and this is a painting I did about I don't know about four or five months ago and it is just that background is saturated with color now this painting I'm actually quite proud of because it's a cat and I had to make a obviously I had to maintain the fur along the cat's legs and along the you know, his rump and all of that so I put the background down and I thought, okay, I got it this time it dried and it was so light you wouldn't believe it and so I had to go in and paint that again and I had already achieved my little fuzzy harry for effect and I didn't know how I was going to go in and achieve that effect a second time, but I wet the background completely and then I painted another layer of paint on it and I went ok, I got it this time and then it dried and it still wasn't right and I had to go in and paint it a third time you're talking about just the background, just the background I have I don't know how I maintained that harry that well, I'll tell you what I did, what I did was I wet again. I went in and completely saturated the background again with just with my very, very fine soft brush because I didn't want to disturb any of the paint underneath and it was streaky that that's why I had to paint it again because there were some streaks in it that you could see because I didn't put the collar on dark enough, so what I did was I put the water and I let it overlap the for with clear water, I let it overlapped the for about a quarter of an inch and then when I put the paint on I put the paint on up to a quarter of an inch of the edge of the fur really thick and then the paint capital ari lead in and that's how I maintain the soft engine went back out now that mottled effect on the top you know that salt oh honey yeah I mean it worked great looks like bird feathers from here you're right it does you did that's exactly it that's a good that's a good call it does look like that but I mean you wouldn't see really see modeled for like that on a cat but you know the salt created the texture I was looking for and I didn't wanna have to go in and paint every hair you know you did you know I'm a realistic painter but that even that's a little too much for me okay so now then now we're going into temperature er cool's push back if you want something to move back in the frame you paint it or a glaze it with a cool color if you wanted to jump forward you glaze it with a warm color now if you look at those two side by side the image on the left jumps back the image on the right jumps forward it's the same bowl all I did was do a little photo shop magic on it and you can clearly see the difference so to glaze things and push him back you usually glaze them with something that's a cool and to bring them forward you glaze them with something that's warm uh and actually in the painting itself the right side is little is, uh a little cooler than the left side but just glazing it made it made it really jump forward, so if you want to glaze something back and make it on this sort of gloomy side, you might use a blue glaze. If you want the light colors to be more on a sunny happy disposition, you might glaze with a like an oriole in or something oriel it's a great place in color. Then we have analogous and complimentary all of these colors in here or analogous that means they're close together on they start down here these are all close together then but we go back up to the purple in the purple feeds into the red. Those are analogous on the on the color wheel and these air complimentary the reds and the greens that red is sort of an orange red so it's complementary to the to the purple blue and the green is complimentary to the red the orange in these grapes here complementary to the to the blue next to them so this is when you want things to pop off the page you put compliments next to each other when he won thanks to sort of blend in together and flow around you usually put analogous next to each other. This is an example of what I said last week was a flat painting remember where I said it was like our third version of the four paintings that we used to do with d n lemley where you didn't pay attention to shadows or anything you just put colors next to each other and you your hole goal was to work with analogous and complementary colors. Now here we go into values now I basically use a five value scale and I bring a photograph into photo shop and I turned it into a gray scale and I pump up the lights and the darks and that's what I do to create my my value of drawing it's not really a drawing but that's how I get my values uh five value scale to me is just absolutely adequate if you have a lightest light and a darkest dark and you covered the values in between those three the twenty five fifty and seventy five percent you've got a pretty dramatic painting and so but some people use a ten value scale and actually the value scale that we got in our kit was a ten value scale and so I encourage you to take your colors and try to match that value scale and this matter fact that's one of the exercises that I've put in the in the class this week so I find that I'm a more of a contrast e person so I like short I like dark darks and light lights and whenever I just photographs that I'm going to use in a brochure is something I always go for more contrast so this is painting the values now this is a portrait that I did of myself I don't know a year or so ago it was taken from a little polaroid that I took up myself sitting at a table thirty years ago so that was a long time ago and if you look at this I did a little photo shop magic here too if you look at this I mean it's an okay painting you go okay that's cool I like it but this is what it looks like when it has the values darkest darks lightest lights and everything in between is just an infinitely more interesting painting toe look at has more drama okay let's do an exercise here so this is our exercise with our value scale if I can find that here's the one I painted before here here we go so let's use our fellow blue when I would use your square brush because we were sort of kali we haven't even got the q and a yet and we're not through this I'm sorry we're just taking time I apologize, adam. I don't want to leave anyway. Couldn't be asked questions. Yes, people can ask questions now. They absolutely can. And I would you I would suggest using one of your, um, sample papers to test your your colors first. What did I do with mine? Just use another one. Because this one's not easy, especially with a low blue. So I'm going to try this. This first box here is a twenty five percent tent and we're going to start with the lighter and then start adding a little bit of color until we get all the way to the darkest. So I'm going to go and this is the pig with no, this is that this is that they low bloo it's the warm blue, more yeah, you can. You can do your altar marine if you want to share. Okay, you conduce either one of your blues. My fellow obviously has some yellow or something in it because it's not really a pure thay low, but it doesn't really matter. We're just working with the blue, having enough room to mix all these colors. Yeah. There's a really, you know, it's taught me just this much has taught me I need a big yeah, well, I think, you know, thanks on well, that was a question that I had because if you look at my palate it's like oh my goodness so when you're taking a little bit of color out of one pallets to mix with another, how are you doing that without mixing if you're going back and forth to retrieve colors, how do you do that without mixing the color that you're mixing it with into your into your wealth? Well, you often do that you often makes your colors together in your wealth and that's not the end of the world you can actually when you're done painting you can go back in and um just run your palate under under faucet or use a soft brush to clean off the top and then run that under dodger under a faucet really really quick and you'll get your colors right back but that's one of the reasons why it's important to um painter get your paint out so that they're pretty dry yeah and you know you did that everybody else is struggling with brand new paints here and so they're not as dry as it would be if they would get have a little more control if they're dry I always always over over saturate color when I use it straight out of the tube and yet there's some painters they only paint with color straight out of the two they don't even keep a pallet they just they pulled the paint out on a piece of glass or they use separate trays like I you know and you know again it's all about discovering what your style is so that may be a little darker I don't know if I'm doing this right this time it'll look darker when it's wet paper towel paper towels are wonderful I mean in terms of texture yeah so you're basically just playing around with I'm just trying to get that rush you get for where it's going to be and if you start with your lightest color and then you just keep adding the color that you think you need to add to make it darker then you don't end up with a huge amount of er paint on your palate and nothing's over diluted do you do that a lot when you're painting you have a scrap of paper next yes that you yes almost all the time I almost always have one although this this paper's not the best to do it on I'm doing it on the smooth side and it's not even soaking up the painted also it's not giving you a good representation it's one of the reasons I say you know don't screw up on your paper I heard somebody in a demo say she was quoting think frank webb but takes acres acres of our paper to make that watercolor artist acres and acres and but you know what college is still this is another of our other meeting other menial paint and acrylic spend you go through a lot of a lot of pain so you go through me and watercolor you don't go through paint very much you go through a lot of paper but you don't go through a lot of pain that's true very, very true so I probably didn't even get these dark enough I'm sure I'm not even really out of at a hundred percent let me and a little more pigment here if you want it to be darker do you use less water? Yes, that makes sense yes that's water will dilute the paint that seem like a simple question well, you know europe there are there are there are no dumb questions that's right? I believe that and repetition is I can't tell you how many times I've heard sir in things and all of a sudden the sixth time I hear it it sinks in and I have this lightbulb moment and then from that point on it's ingrained and what I do I don't even have to think about it anymore so I don't know if I did a really good job here but it looks pretty good for the one on the top is the first one I did that's the one that's in the presentation and er the one on the bottom is the one I just did today and it's pretty good e I would say it's pretty close yeah and the one on the top isn't really perfect I think my first three colors are too close together and the one on the top actually maybe this one's a little bitter but every time you do it it'll be different really having a control over your values is what makes the difference from the flat painting and, uh exciting looking yeah, and and one of my issues is that in order to get all the values I'm looking for, I have to paint certain areas like three and four times in order to get the dark color that I'm looking for and if you want to be a painter who put your paint down once you got to stop doing that now there's no right or wrong to this I think I mentioned last week I've just decided I'm a I'm a layer painter, you know, I paint in layers and it's and I get very nice paintings I mean it's not like I paint anything that anybody goes oh, yuck, you know? But but it takes extra time and um and if you're not a precision painter like I am and you're trying to stay within the lines, you might have a bit of trouble with it I don't have that much trouble with it that's part of the challenge for me

Class Description

Learn about color, papers, brushes, drawing and composition in this complete guide to watercolor. Molly Murrah teaches painting techniques that will help you create your own special works of art.



I would also recommend this class with some hesitation. This course is a broad and sweeping overview of watercolor painting. It is a good reference course and I will probably be treated like a reference book for watercolors. The skills we covered were valuable. It was beneficial to hear about the watercolor artists that Molly enjoyed and to have a list. The exercises were appropriate. I would recommend this course to someone who likes to know all the details of things before getting started. If you are someone that wants to jump right in this may be frustrating. Obviously, I am the latter. A few suggestions from my perspective....limit the product pushing. The references to Daniel Smith were off putting. I will try to avoid purchasing their products at all costs even if they are the best. It was very difficult to get access to the paint colors that she wanted us to have as some of the names are slightly different than what is available to me locally. I have already taken a beginner color watercolor course which I loved!! If I had not taken that course I probably would have been lost here. In that course(also online) we finished a project for every 10 minute lesson. I learned the basic technique's and it was FUN! I wish this class had more projects to practice that can be completed by a beginner and intermediate. Portraits seem like a large undertaking and it would be helpful to build confidence with smaller and simpler projects. I just felt a little discouraged. Molly is very talented and the work she shared was very thoughtful and showed incredible skill! I am very thankful that she took the time to teach the class and share her knowledge.

a Creativelive Student

This course was fabulous. Molly is a great artist/teacher. Her instruction has really unleashed my creativity and given me confidence to create.


Looks like a really fun class! I'll take it soon!