Written by: Joshua Melendez, @chino.stilo
For the most part when we think of watercolors, we tend to associate it with an elementary school memory; dipping a paint brush in water, mix it with paint and make a masterpiece you would call your own. However, watercolors and watercolor painting is more than just a childhood memory. In fact, watercolors were used as far back as Ancient Egyptian times. This comes to no surprise why notable artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Georgie O’ Keefe and Edward Hopper produced amazing works of art using watercolors.
The purpose of this blog is to inspire you with some brief notes on color theory and watercolor. Our hope is that you will apply the quick notes you gain hear and apply them to your own work.
Watercolor is can also be viewed as color/paint (literally) on top of water--thus becoming a water-based solution. When the water is mixed with any type of color, one would get a translucent effect; where, light penetrates the water-bases solution giving off a type of texture and or pigment. Adding more water to the paint will create a more transparent color. On the other hand, adding more paint onto the water will create a less transparent color. The finish from this mixture is the exact reason why we have such a prodigious selection of colors.
As mentioned, because there is an enormous array of colors it is essential to know about color theory and the psychology behind it. The color wheel is a helpful guide towards categorizing colors and how they associate with one another. The primary colors of any wheel is red, blue and yellow.Secondary colors which derive from the mixture of primary colors. For example, red and blue mix make purple making it a secondary color.Finally, we have tertiary colors where it is a mixture of a primary color with secondary like blue-green, red-orange and so forth.
In the color wheel, there’s also complimentary colors and analogous colors to consider. Complimentary colors are any colors on the opposite side of a color wheel like blue and orange or yellow and purple. Analogous colors are any colors on the same side of the color wheel or any color with different shades. Blue, green and purple are analogous colors. For example, sky blue, light blue and dark blue, are all under the same umbrella of the color blue so therefore are identified as analogous colors.
Moreover, colors have an effect to the psychology of any individual whether consciously or subconsciously. In a previous blog post, “Feeling Red” we can see how the color red associates with certain emotions like love, lust, anger and so forth. Contrastingly, the color blue can associate with sadness, tranquility, serenity, authoritarian, and even a sense of security.
Other colors like orange denote creativity, polarizing, stimulating, yellow with high energy, vibrancy, happiness and joy. Meanwhile, green shows harmony, healing and envy.
Watercolors and colors in general are more than just a mere pigment that we see or a medium we used back in our earliest childhood memories. There’s history behind it, a science behind it that can alter the way our brain works and can even explain why certain colors go with each other. So the next time you see a painting, (hopefully a watercolor painting) notice everything about it and not just what eye meets. And consider how those emotions make you feel individually and as a whole.
The value in considering how a painting makes you feel is so that you can apply those emotions to your next painting. Because, you never know how your art can impact someone or how the colors you use can evoke emotion in them.
Striking the viewer's emotion is at the core of every artists goal and being mindful of the emotions you convey and connect to with your crowd plays an important role in that.