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GPP Crusade No. 53: Mad Scientist

"I'm interested in having fun with ideas,
throwing them up in the air like confetti
and then running under them."
~Ray Bradbury

Another super fun challenge from Michelle Ward, GPP Crusade No. 53: Mad Scientist. I didn't quite know where to start. So I thought about it for a few days, twirling ideas in my mind.

STEP #1: The first step, if you don't know what to do, is to play! I made color blocks on an index card (that stack comes in handy!), a pentel waterbrush and watercolor half pans, a little color mixing but a lot of pure color. This is a great way to practice brush accuracy. The waterbrush is a very pointed round, unsure what size.  {if reading in your feed reader, click here for the full post}

3x5" index card, watercolor

STEP #2: I mixed some colors in my little plastic palette boxes and invented a name for each set of colors. The naming part was fun! You might notice that these photographs play tricks on your eyes, and might remind you of something not typically associated with art journaling. But I digress.

"velvet cinema"

"hanukkah harmonica"

 "kitchy golf shirt"

STEP #3: I wanted to make a grid of colors, sort of like in color mixing guides, but didn't want to be too logical about it. I'm already too logical! So I picked blues, purples and reds to mix and match in all sorts of ways. Each block is a pure color or two colors mixed. No triples. I don't use many reds in my artwork, so I chose red on purpose. As I got to the end of the page, I picked a bunch of favorites and wrote the recipes. Then I named the colors {look below}.

5x8" moleskine, watercolor; grid made using a #5 round brush with blues, purples and reds

blues/purples: indigo, cerulean blue, winsor violet, purple lake, cobalt blue, cobalt turquoise, winsor blue, ultramarine
reds: alizarine crimson, permanent alizarine crimson, winsor red

Favorite mixes (noted in pen above) with invented names:

cobalt turquoise light + winsor blue = clear afternoon {my daughter named this}
indigo + ultramarine = levi's
winsor violet + ultramarine = french linen
cobalt blue + aliz crimson = cloudy maroon {my daughter named this}
purple lake + ultramarine =  phlox
winsor violet + indigo = snorkle

STEP #4: I was curious to paint with a limited palette. Limited for me is really just that, any limits. I'm not good with color limits! If there are no limits, everything looks super bright and colorful. I started with these watercolors: paynes gray, ultramarine, winsor violet, sepia, cobalt turq. But it was a color drought so I added two yellows and two greens for a little pop!

5x8" moleskine, watercolor, pitt pen, using a #5 round brush

All in all, this crusade was fun, fab, festive, flexible, fantastic, frivolous, fruitful + freeing. Watercolors were my first pick for this crusade, but acrylics would have been a blast too! I liked naming the colors - I would love to work for a paint company and name colors all day - and pushing myself to think differently by adding a constraint on color - either what I could use to mix, or what I could use to paint.

Color mixing is a lot of fun if you let it be fun and don't stress over the results. When I started to explore color mixing, reading the Color Mixing Bible made a lot of things "click" for me. You can see the color that will result from mixing two-color combinations in varying proportions in a bunch of different mediums: watercolor, acrylic, oil, gouache, soft pastel, ink and pencil! I find that learning about color mixing via watercolor is the easiest - the results of even subtle changes are easy to see on white paper. Adding water makes the color more transparent so you can play with colors and the amount of water. Thank you to I Am Rushmore for the comment that prompted this paragraph!

If you love creative prompts and challenges, do check out Michelle's amazing GPP Crusades. Hop around and see the refreshing variety of responses to the exact same prompt! I've discovered a bunch of new artsy bloggers through the GPP Crusades as well. Isn't creativity amazing?

You can find my response to GPP Crusade No. 39: Pulling Prints and GPP Crusade No. 48: Been There, Done That.

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Reader Comments (6)

Great post! I love your pallet names in particular. I'm just beginning to experiment with watercolors and find the mixing part very challenging because not only am I mixing 2 or more colors of paint, I'm mixing in water - remembering the mix and proportions in order to replicate the color seems impossible to me at this point. Fun to get a glimpse of your process.

07.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenteriamrushmore

very cool!

07.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterchel

Oh la-la-la, what a great post. Love your random colour grids a lot, well, love all grids and especially colourful ones. :-) It's great to decide on a prompt like this before starting, to know what you're experimenting with and see if you learn new things. :-)

08.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenteriHanna

Tammy - what a fabulous post! Love how you took us through your process in steps. But wait a sec, those grids are on files cards? That makes those colors TINY! Amazing brush control! LOVE seeing all the colors like this and how you named both the color collections and the individual mixes. I can appreciate it took alot of time to prepare this post with all the supportive graphics, thank you. Your enthusiam for this challenge is infectious. Love seeing you put the colors to work too. My fave: levi's and snorkle. Super clever. Thanks so much for sharing with the team. (I'm running late on the next one but I think you'll enjoy it as it spins off this one.)

08.3.2011 | Unregistered Commentermichelle ward

Those index cards are just beautiful - what a fabulous resource to look back on. As for multi- colored eggs; too cool for words!

08.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCath

All that on a tiny card, but I like doing the same thing but with much larger squares of colour. Lovely to see.

08.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary Griffin

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