Serious Colour Swatches for Reference

Reference Colour Swatches (Watercolour)

Reference Colour Swatches (Watercolour)

I decided to get down to some serious reference preparation work today – paints, pigments, colours and how they behave in different situations. It’s the sort of thing that I generally try to avoid as I hope to have the knowledge stick in my mind purely by repetition and practise, but I’m beginning to realise that I just don’t use some of these colours often enough to remember their characteristics, and some I just plain don’t remember no matter how often they hit the paper!

I’ve been following an example that I picked up from a tutorial on Artists Network TV whereby each colour has several boxes and in each one you do something different – drop a spot of paint into a wet square, have neat pigment on the left and clear water to the right with a gradient between (my gradients aren’t very good, I’m afraid).

The first box, which is empty at the moment, will be to test the opacity of each pigment – first I need to find a permanent black marker to draw a line, then I’ll paint each colour across it. If I can see the paint on top of the black line then it has some level of opacity, transparent colours will show the black straight through.

Once the paint is dry enough the third box of each colour will have a strip across it’s length that has had paint ‘lifted’ by adding water then dabbing with a tissue. This will indicate how well the pigment lifts and whether it’s a staining colour or not.

So, these are all my yellows and browns, I still have blues, reds and greens to go. The set up of all the masking tape was a bit time consuming but I think it’ll be worth it when I take it all off again and it looks neat… plus there’ll be room then to write the names of each colour in. I hadn’t realised how many tubes I had, especially as I don’t use them all, but I thought it would be worth making charts of the whole lot as you never know when something a bit off my radar will have the perfect properties for a particular spot.