Wet on to Dry Color Wheels
Updated: Mar 9
When painting wet on to dry you are charging your brush with paint mixed with water, and take it to dry paper. About 3/4ths of my paintings are wet on to dry techniques. I use most of my wet on to wet techniques in the first part of my painting to set the atmosphere.
Make 3 small circles. I used a metal lid I found close to me and I’m placing these circles in my watercolor sketchbook. I recommend putting these exercises into a watercolor sketchbook or folder so that you have them readily available. Just in case you want to look back and refer to them.
Divide the circles into 6 pie pieces. Simply divide the circle in half vertically, and then make a squished “X” in the middle.
Label your six colors. Remember that your secondaries (violet, orange, green) are in between the primaries. I usually just abbreviate my colors to a letter until I know exactly which paint colors I'm going use. Which will be shared below.
Hues, Tints, & Shades in Watercolor
Hues are the pure color. In watercolor this means the "milk" blend (50% paint, 50% water). Tints are when white paint is added to make the color lighter. In watercolor this would be the "tea" blend (20% paint, 80% water), since we don't need to add white to our paint.
Shades are when black is added to a color to make it darker. In watercolor we use complementary colors to make our shades.
Color Wheel Set #1
Hues are first and an exercise in building our "milk" blend to get the purest color. In the first wheel set I am using the primaries Quinacridone Gold, Phthalo Blue, and Permanent Rose. I start with these by filling them in the triangles "Y, B, and R".
Next, make your secondaries. Pull one primary color out onto the palette, rinse your brush, and then pull a second primary out onto the palette. Mix the two together to create your secondary. Below I have blended in my palette Rose and Phthalo Blue to make a violet. Do this for all three secondaries. Yellow+Red=Orange Red+Blue=Violet Blue+Yellow=Green
Tints are created using extra water. Our next wheel will be our tints, and an exercise in creating "tea".
After creating all six tints, clean out your palette to have a fresh start for the shades.
To create your shades, use the colors across from each other and blend them. This takes a bit more effort in this excerise. You need to premix your secondaries to blend with your primaries. Sounds like a lot, but think of it as just more practice. ;)
• Shades are when black is added to a color to make it darker. In watercolor we use complementary colors to make our shades. s added to make the color lighter. In watercolor this would be the "tea" blend (20% paint, 80% water), since we don't need to add white to our paint.nt.t..in the palette. Blue+Orange• • • Red+Green Yellow+Violet
Don't rush this step, take your time and just admire the fun earthy colors! Take one pie slice at a time. If it helps, make notes next to your pie of what colors it takes to actually make it a reality.
Color Wheel Set #2
Do the same thing again with three new wheels. This time I use different primaries. Hansa Yellow, Cadmium Scarlet, and French Ultramarine.
Cools Color Chart
Making a color chart is another way of discovering color. I made a cool color one and a warm color one. This knowledge will come in handy when mixing colors and creating your future paintings.
Warms Color Chart
Try different blog formats each time. One month, post a day in the life, then try a How-To or a Q&A. There are many templates to help you get started.
Color Chart Playing
Mix it up, find colors you wouldn't normally use and play. This will help you make color palettes for future paintings.
The world of color theory is a very large one! There are MANY books that talk about it. Keep in mind that when researching color theory be sure to add 'watercolor' in your search. Our color wheel is different than acrylics, pastels, or oils.