Welcome to Polly's Blog

Welcome to Polly's Blog
Watercolour, humour, this and that

Sunday, 24 March 2013

WARM & COOL COLOURS

For those of you who struggle understanding warm and cool colours, and which ones to use, here is my method.  It is based on a palette by Colin Radcliffe, who used to be a tutor at Higham Hall in the Lake District (uk).  He separated his colours into warm and cool. So, if you didn't want really bright greens you did not mix two cools together but a warm and a cool. e.g.Two warm colours or two cool colours make a bright mix, if you mix one of each you will get a more muted colour. Colin would call these bright colours deck chair colours.   Or if you want to place a warm colour in a painting next to a cool one, if you look at your palette you just pick one of each. Easy peasy, set out for me so I don't have to think about it!

If you want to know which of your colours are warm or cool then the company that makes the paint you use probably will list them on it's site.  Winsor and Newton have oodles of information about their paints,  Go to  their Resource Centre. Artists Watercolour Spectrum Lists.  It shows warm,cool,transparent,opaque and granulating colours. There is also one headed Composition and Permanance, which is far more technical, but if you are interested in pigments you may like to read this list too.

I have really simplified this as I put it on my facebook page and I really think I went on too much. So I will show you Colin's palette followed by my version. And before anyone points out that Light Red is warm, I have followed Colin's method here and I am not going to change it now. But I have slightly as I use an equivalent transparent red brown by Daler Rowney (which is most like Light Red). Oh dear, the pics downloaded in the opposite order, so mine is first, followed by Colin's.

Polly's Colours
I have omitted the Sepia as I am fed up with it breaking up and dirtying other colours , so at the moment I have  an empty space. I do have other colours but they are either in another random palette or in tubes, but these are by far the colours I use most and if I paint en plein air this is the only palette I need. 


Colin Radcliffe's Palette (Liz Deakin Palette)

This is only the method I use, but it may help people new to colour mixing who struggle with warm and cool colours, which I did until I went on Colin's course. Ofcourse, I am always fascinated how other people set out their palettes too.

Now everyone, cross your fingers that this awful winter is going to end soon!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS Just noticed I've had 5000 people looking at my blog!  Oh thank you so much all of you for taking the time to see what I am up to. I am so very thrilled.

11 comments:

  1. Well done Polly.... looks like a good system and always interesting to see someone else's range of colours... this is similar to my basic palette until of course I started trying all these new colours and now two other colours I couldn't do without are purple and turquoise.

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    1. I now have to new colours and one is transparent orange, which will go in my misc box (along with winsor violet). Just expermenting with them, so thanks for that and thank you for your comments.

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    2. Oops forgot about the translucent orange... have just ordered two more tubes of that!!!

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  2. Looks like you have a good system that works. Thanks for the info.

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    1. Yes it works fine for me. Thanks for your visit.

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  3. Hi Polly. I've split the warms and cools now and it is making life so much easier. Thanks for the useful advice.

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    1. Oh Laura, I am very honoured you have found this useful and are having a go at Colin's system. You can always change it if it doesn't work. It's so lovely to be able to help someone.

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  4. Hi Polly. I was looking for information on warm and cool watercolours and my google search brought me here! So neat that it was you! Thanks for sharing. This is most valuable. Happy painting! Hope all is well in your world.

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  5. thanks for sharing this - really clear and will try this out

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