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BeckerArt Float-Your-Pigment Blog Newsletter, Choosing Color #214

Welcome to the FLOAT-YOUR-PIGMENT Newsletter #214 Choosing Color

Last week I took a visit with my classes up to the Kenosha Public Museum to check out the Transparent Watercolor Societies exhibit. Like always the class and I go through the show painting by painting and talk about the works we enjoy the best and marvel over others that we wish we knew how the artists painted them. The show is open until August 4, 2019. My next couple of workshops start the last week of July and go into August. The first one starts in Morris Illinois where we will be painting plein-air together in Morris IL. from 10am to 3pm Info is HERE Then I head to Vermont to Holbein for the Vermont Art Event... check out all my new classes HERE August 10th I head to Wallacks in Ottawa Canada for 2 different classes one in the morning and one in the afternoon All supplies are provided to the students in this workshop. The workshop in Baldwinsville, NY is for the Art and Soul watercolor group email me for information HERE September 9th to the 13th... I will be back at Cheap-Joes and I would love for you to join me there for a rare week-long workshop. This workshop will include so many new things I can now only do in a 5-day class. If you want to try the new Stonehenge Aqua Black watercolor paper along with many new techniques I've learned since the last time I was at Cheap-Joes, please sign-up today. See you all soon. David

NO CLASS THIS WEEK at the Civic Center in Libertyville, Thursday, July 4th  Yes To Class at the BeckerArt Gallery in McHenry, Saturday, July 6th 9:00 am to 11:30 am


Colors and How I Choose Them

When I teach a workshop and I am asked to give a supply list I always say it is best to get Holbein paints because you can squeeze the entire tube into your palette and the paints don't dry to a hard clump and they become instantly rejuvenated with a little bit of water. Then for the colors, I don't give an exact color I let the students pick their very own favorite colors. I tell them as long as they have the basic primaries, your reds, blues and yellows along with your secondaries, greens, oranges, and violets. I don't give exact colors because there are so many different version of the primaries and secondaries that I let the student bring their favorite.

Now the question is how do I decide which colors to use for each individual painting. The answer to that question is I start each painting first looking at the large light and dark value pattern then I choose a color scheme that I think will fit the look of that individual painting. I usually choose a complementary color scheme. If I feel there will be a lot of reds in the work I will pick a green to compliment that red. Sometimes it is more of a tri-color scheme where let's say I use mostly a red/violet I would use colors across the color wheel from red violet like a yellow and green to compliment the red-violet. SEE Color wheel below 

When I say complimentary colors I don't mean an exact color either.. when I say red it could be an orange-red or violet-red and the green could be a yellow-green or a blue-green. All artist have their favorites so I say use the colors that you like best and whatever your favorite is use its complement or a tri-colored compliment scheme and don't forget to follow your value pattern because, in the end, the value pattern is the most important part of your design. The color scheme doesn't need to be as strongly followed as the large value pattern in your work.

Limiting your colors in a piece is also a good idea at times. It makes it very simple to paint a scene because you may only have 2 or 3 choices to reach for when painting and it makes you think more about your value pattern and you know for sure your color scheme will work because those 2 or 3 colors are all you get to use.

Of course, the easiest is to just use one color because all you have to think about is the values but that doesn't make for a very colorful painting.

I usually tell my students to not worry so much about the color scheme because it will look great no matter what colors you use as long as you have a good value pattern that you follow when you are painting your scene.



Morris Watercolor Guild CLASS, Liberty ARTS Festival, Morris, IL. July 20th

For information Click Here

Vermont Art Event WORKSHOP Classes, VT, July 29th - August 2nd,  For Information Click Here

Wallacks Art Supply store CLASSES Ottawa, Ontario August 10th

Art and Soul Watercolor Group WORKSHOP, Baldwinsville, NY, August 12th - 14th, Information to come

Cheap Joes WORKSHOP, Boone NC, Sept. 9th - 13th   For Information Click Here

Dillman's Watercolor WORKSHOP, Lac du Flambeau, WI, Sept. 23d - 26th  For Information Click Here


Product of the Week

The product I am posting this week is a simple but very well designed color wheel.

This color wheel can help you choose those complimentary and Tri color combinations. Buy it HERE


Question of the Week

Questioned Asked:

What's your favorite color combination?

Questioned Answered: If you have ever taken any classes from me you already know that Purple is my favorite color. So I guess my favorite color combination has to include a purple and since my second favorite color is orange I would use a orange-yellow combination for the secondary color. So the answer is a purple and orange and a yellow combination. Kind of like in the painting below.

If you have a question that you want answered, write me at


Artist of the Week

He is one of those artists that shaped me into the artist I am today. I remember seeing  many of his works on the cover of a magazine when I was a kid. When I saw those magazine images as a kid it totally got me hooked into painting.


BeckerArt Brushes


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