Our meeting for this month brought members Ben & Lee Nurry in to present and demonstrate several experiments in color theory using specific colors (Yellow, Blue, & Magenta) to achieve some dramatic effects such as Mixing colors on the color wheel and mixing colors for shading (using compliments). Lee & Ben came prepared with some great handouts for everyone to experiment with. The extra hour really helped out too - plenty of time to play and talk!
First we started to create our own color wheels, using the blue, magenta and yellow to mix secondary colors (and tertiary, if we had time!). I highly recommend this for everyone that loves working in colored pencils, as it gives you a real understanding of how to layer and mix your colors while working on your paintings. It can be a tedious exercise, but as you work through it, you develop a method that works for you and your individual style and will quickly become second nature in your creative process.
We also worked at creating new colors using only the three primaries with a simple punched paper technique to help us really focus in on the target color (Brown in the example).
Finally, discussed the best ways to achieve shading without using blacks or grays - which is to say, using complimentary colors. As an example, Ben provided us with a still life reference of oranges and encouraged us to recreate one of the oranges using just an orange pencil, and it's compliment, blue. I confess, I used the orange pencil and all three primaries - Magenta, Yellow & Blue - along with a little white to complete my experiment (pictured).
On a side note, back in college, I took a color theory class and my instructor, Edie Fisner, went on to publish a book on her course. Thanks to her I got some great 'basic training' when I was first starting to use colored pencil to complete my various works - it gave me a great foundation for future projects, and I realize now, just how much I've taken it for granted. Edie used student work to illustrate many concepts in her book - and two pieces from my class work were included, which were executed in colored pencil.