Thursday, July 22, 2010

Color Cards: Dealing Myself a Whole New Hand

Watercolor Cards
When Vicky Williamson showed us her deck of  watercolor cards  in her blog I knew I needed to make a set for myself. I felt sure that they would be a wonderful way to keep track of my favorite paint colors. They would also be a great way to visualize painting palettes.

Each of my color cards has a bunch of written information on it (written very small as they’re ½ the size of conventional playing cards.) The information includes: name of color, color mixture, lightfastness, transparency, tube or stick, and classification for placement on the color wheel. (For example Y (Yellow), or YO (Yellow-Orange.))

I created the card set focusing on my Daniel Smith tube and watercolor stick colors. As I made up the cards I realized that the sticks not only travel well, but create very smooth washes, very easily. I filed that information away for later. I also learned that at least in one case I’d mis-categorized two similar colors.

Will the real Magenta please stand up?

Next I laid out the cards as closely as I could according to Bruce MacEvoy’s Artist’s Color Wheel. This wheel is organized by both color and chroma. Here I realized that I seem to like Red-Orange colors. Perhaps that’s a throwback to my years of painting bay horses and other russet-colored animals. *lol*  I don’t know, but either way, it showed me something I had not realized before.

Watercolor cards arranged into The Artist's Color Wheel.

The next step was to start playing with the cards to experiment with palette colors. Here is an example of using the cards to create three analogous color palettes with possible additional harmonious colors. I have used this method of color selection for the watercolor study I am currently painting and I am quite pleased with the result. When it’s finished, I’ll post it here and share. :-)

Analogous Color Palettes

I believe that this is just the beginning of the usefulness of these cards. Thanks to Vicky Williamson for the great idea. The cards are already helping me visualize my colors in a new and exciting ways. They’re leading me to fresh, expansive ideas in my painting. Isn't that just what creativity in art is all about?


  1. Krista I lost your comment! I'm so sorry. I'm not sure how that happened. :-O But thanks for it anyway and the your nice welcome to the EDM :-)

    I'm also glad to find a fellow Jan Hart fan.:-)

  2. Here is Krista Meister's lost comment:

    "I am belatedly emerging from a self-imposed cocoon in between summertime vacations and spotted your post on the EDM Yahoo Group. Welcome to the group!

    I have Jan Hart's book too, and I find even
    after the fifth time reading it, I STILL find more tidbits! It's definitely a great color bible to have.

    Love your blog and your color theory studies!"