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Watercolor 101

Lesson 5 of 28

Understanding Color

Molly Murrah

Watercolor 101

Molly Murrah

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Lesson Info

5. Understanding Color


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Duration:1:11:27
2 Q&A Duration:35:31
  Class Trailer
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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
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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
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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
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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

Understanding Color

Understanding color so I call this like my power of color slide and I put this in because this is a painting I did. This was just a little study I did a couple of years ago and I just wanted to I mean, I love this painting, I think it's beautiful. I actually use it on my website is the header on my website? Uh, but even without any kind of recognizable shape, if you put colors that work well together compliments analogous colors and alex colors of colors that are next to each other on the color wheel compliments or colors that air opposite each other on the color wheel, you will end up with a very beautiful painting. And in this particular painting what I loved so much was just the way the colors all mixed together over here you can see I mean, look at this little corner of purple and there's a it's, a granulated pigment so there's some granules of the pigment that you can see and then it bled out and it mixed with the green and that bled out and mixed with the read all of this was pai...

nted. It was painted on dry paper, which is how I got these these sort of intense, crisp edges but this met this when it was still wet and it bled together so the thing about color is that you could get a beautiful painting without drawing anything without having a discernable shape or a recognizable form of any kind and you can still end up with just a lovely painting so like what hans hoffman said at the beginning we see all of life through color and think about the color symbolism that's out there you know colors arouse emotions yellow stands for friendship and attraction and it's a confidence you know think of the sun big son you know confidence intellect red is passion love danger anger those kinds of sort of scorpion qualities dark blue is impulsive uh it also represents depression you know, you say I'm in a blue mood today uh it represents psychic things things that are changeable in nature the sky changes you know every ten minutes so colors arouse emotions and you can create emotions in your painting by understanding what colors do and how they arouse emotions. So if you understand your color fundamentals you khun do a painting that if you take this painting apart it's crazy I mean, you know, look up here in this area look at the bright pink on the side of that of that building and over in that one over there the bright pink I mean if you understand colors really, really well then you can understand it frees you to be creative and where you put them how many people would think of making a shadow pink on one side and green on the other, but take a look at this painting? Now? This was done by frank webb he's probably one of the top five most famous watercolor artists in the world, and I I hesitate to even guess what he would get for this painting, but I love his paintings, he has a sort of an abstract style, and his use of color is just magnificent, so understanding color from fundamentals will help you be very creative. You can't think outside the box to a little bit with this kind of situation. Absolutely, absolutely, uh, now this is color strategy now you really can't do anything without strategy. Now, if you take a look at this shot, this was when I went to italy a few years ago with my instructor, dan lemley, this was a photograph that I took of the scene that she painted look at her painting now I would never think to paint that like that, but look what she did, orange windows and aqua shadows and and, you know, a rainbow of colors in the stairs is, and she put different colors in her sky, then we're really there because the colors that she put in the sky with colors that she needed to offset colors in the painting, so understanding your fundamentals and being able to plan your strategy lets you create very exciting subjects out of very exciting paintings out of boring subjects and that's that's a skill that you know I think is amazing just amazing so you use complementary colors to highlight other colors if you put two compliments next to each other both of them will jump off the page they will they will bounce they will bounce forward to the I uh so think about putting colors where the painting needs them not necessarily where you see them okay get creative and where you put it now this is a difficult challenge for me is a za realistic painter I go oh, I see that I'll paint that you know you don't want to do that you want to try to be bold in your statements and put colors where you don't see them now this is a painting by one of my favorite painters ted nuttall I hadn't mentioned him last week uh he takes risks with color like nobody I've ever seen look at that boys chin I know I know isn't he just is dreaming look at that boys chin now in this section there's hardly any skin tone in there whatsoever it's blew his chin is blue but then the other side of his chan has skin tone in it but that it's so exciting to me I mean, he just enlivens the painting by doing that. One of these boys eyes is blue and the other one is green put two different color eyes in there. Take a look at he's, famous for his sloppy dot technique. I think I talked about last week. He put a sloppy dot here that overlapped the forehead and then over leapt on top. Bram now, if you think in terms of planes and three dimensions and all of that, you wouldn't think to do that, but it just ties it all together. Then he brings that color in down there brings it in down here, there's a sloppy dot right here because he thought that that curve in the shoulder was important. He's amazing there's a magazine the summer issue of american artist watercolor has an entire, I think six or eight page article on two of my favorite painters. One of them is ted, not all, and the other one is stan miller, and a little bit later on we're going, I'm going to show you some pictures of that stand. Miller paints he's an amazing artist, and they're both in that are in that magazine. I was so thrilled to get it, and he has the paint dripping down. He's, the one who has during drips and literally every painting. Now, this is just the boy's face because I wanted to zero in on his face that you could see this chin and see the different colors in the eyes and everything. But this painting actually goes down, you know, sort of below the boy's waste he's wearing some overalls is one of my favorite paintings that I've ever seen. Do you know, it's? Sloppy technique is what really kind of pulls your eye through the painting that's where your I want to now, a lot of people look at this and think, uh, charles read charles rate is one of the artists that I that I put, uh, on last week's slide, where I put all the links of various artists. Charles reed is does contour paintings, and he is very, very loosey goosey, but he manages to create an alive nous in this loosey goosey representational technique that very few artists they're able to do ted can do it. And a lot of people see ted's work and think that he studied with charles reed for years. I mean, I think he took one workshop with him, and then he went out and developed his own style and, you know, but they both do somewhat the same kind of thing

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!