A New Approach to Color  - Study with Jane Online.

One of my most popular classes is the Color Basics workshop. Color is thrilling but mastering it can also be confusing. Our goal is to be able to match any color, any time - with the paints we have on hand.

Because most of my students work on fabric, we use paints formulated specifically for cloth for the samples. This gives everyone a working knowledge of textile paints. The color mixing ability picked up along the way will transfer to any medium, which is a handy side benefit!

We begin by painting the simple twelve-color color wheel on white cotton. This includes the primary colors, the secondary colors and the tertiary colors. The wheel painted on white cotton is painted with translucent textile paints. These dry clear and bright, but are semi-transparent, so the effect is like a deep glaze of color.

Next we use opaque textile paints to paint the twelve-color color wheel on black cotton. Opaque paints dry matte and are also called “covering paints” sometimes. They effectively block the color of the cloth underneath the paint.

Once the color wheels are complete, we begin painting value studies. In this series, each of the color wheel colors is painted into varying amounts of white – gradually altering the color from a rich, pure version to a pale tint. We will also paint each color into black, gradually creating a range of deep shades.

This student has almost completed a wheel painting yellow into white.

There are an infinite number of colors. Each one is made up of varying amounts of pure color, white and black. Completing the exercises is the best way to practice analyzing the hidden colors in a single chip, in order to match it perfectly.

Few paints shipped directly from a manufacturer are pure matches to the basic color wheel colors. Green is particularly tricky. It helps to paint samples of the paints available from every manufacturer, so that the painted samples can be compared to the color wheel standard. Eventually everyone in the class will develop what I call an individual’s color constancy. This means the artist will develop a set of color mixing standards so that she is always able to mix the exact color wheel match for the twelve basic colors. Anyone who learns to do this will be able to achieve her color goals with any paint, under any circumstance.A later exercise is achieved by painting complements, or opposites on the color wheel, into each other. Painting yellow into purple produces a gorgeous range of brown colors.

This student is attempting to match the two color chips. Succeeding introduces her to versions of butterscotch and brown she might not have considered before, and also builds her confidence at being able to match color straight on.

One of the last exercises is taken directly from Nature. Each participant selects an object to study. The colors on this flower and stem were carefully analyzed. Mixing the paints came next. When the colors were exactly right, Jan finished the study by painting the flower itself.

Each of these exercises builds on the others. The end result is an ability to layer dyes and paints, in order to create a seamless whole - where the use of the colors supports the theme, or enhances the beauty of the fabric.