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docweathers

How to develop a sense of color?

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I have a pretty good sense for shape and form but my sense for color is pitiful. I read all the stuff on color wheels complementary supplementary etc. etc., I get the logic in the diagrams but I don't really have any gut sense of what looks good and what doesn't. It's all just pure geometry to me Typically I conjure up a few ideas then ask my great photographer wife for an artistic consult, which she does very easily.

How do you develop a gut sense for color?

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35 minutes ago, docweathers said:

How do you develop a gut sense for color?

What helped a lot was taking white, black, red, yellow and blue, paint tubes and started making various colored marks on 8 x 10 sheets of drawing paper in abstract color 'doodles'.  

After a dozen or so doodle pages, I would take a break.  Before starting another batch, I critiqued the previous doodles into Likes and Not Likes.  I kept all the doodles until I knew why I liked and disliked each doodle.

 I as amazed how frequently some doodles changed form one pile to the other.  After about three months of doodling with color on lots of sheets of paper, I began to notice how unpainted areas begin to appear to have color and how a painted area appeared different when a differ hue was located nearby.  During the same period I looked at the layouts of ads and images in the 'slick' paged magazines that came to the house.  I was focused on how the color helped or hindered my evaluation of the images.  After a while, the exercises begin to coalesce into the colors combinations that I liked and those that I always avoided.

One important observation was that often color was used to create contrast in value of the image rather than its specific 'color' 

For a while, I had access to Adobe software, and I did the same exercise using images and changing the color patterns to see what improved or degraded the images.  The doodling with color helped to gain familiarity with color and value.  

N.B. Value in the sense of light to dark is a high to low value scale.

Right now in my ceramic work, I use limited color palette which is basically in the white-yellow-orange-red-black color scheme to create value differences rather than color per se.

LT
 

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Take note of color combinations in nature, once you begin actually being mindful about it, it comes naturally.  A mild example being a Japanese maple in my yard.  Even now in winter it has white lichen, green moss, the dark brown of the bark and the lighter brown of the underlying wood.  There are even some burgundy leaves still dangling.  These all go good together.  I usually let examples from nature inspire me.

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