Review of Project 3: Stages 1 – 6

As a general overview of Project 3 I have thoroughly enjoyed it and feel I have learnt a lot.  I have had a long term interest in colour work and am continuing to read and research further on the subject as I am fascinated by the subject.

To review Project 3 I am following the questions posed in the course work to enable me to word my review coherently.


I  feel my colour mixing has been reasonably accurate although Exercise 2 in Stage 3 was much more successful than Exercise 4 – somehow I found matching the fabric colours much easier than from a source image.  However when moving on to Exercise 4 I realised the early exercises had encouraged me to try the different paints and that watercolour was definitely my favoured medium as opposed to gouache or acrylic and I was able to achieve a much better match in terms of colour through mixing or layering of washes.

Mixing colours I have really enjoyed and I spent some time just doing graph-style charts in a separate sketchbook for future reference and which I can add too as well as my confidence or range of colours in acrylic, watercolour or gouache increases.

I did find that when it came to Exercise 4 I found mixing purples the most difficult and could not achieve the colour match of the fushia that I wanted using the gouache paints and the same applied to using the acrylic paints too.  I am realising that my success with colour mixing is depending on the media I am using and am definitely starting to find my favourites emerging.

I have since doing these exercises invested in a set of Inktense pencils and also sticks along with watercolour pencils and am now starting to experiment with colour mixing with these too – the former I am able to mix the colours successfully and will be making  notes in my colour sketchbook.


Using colour expressively however was a totally different ball game – not my forte!  I have found it difficult to expression emotions in marks previously and although I feel I can use colour for emotions trying to express them in terms of marks too has been difficult.  I am very very interested in how colour can effect emotions and how it can express them but trying to come up with specific ideas has been much more difficult – the ‘happy’ or ‘bright’ words were easier for me but found that calm or dull infuriating!  ‘Calm’ for me is blues and restful style greens but how to use the colours to express the emotion is not as easy in practice as it is in theory but as I am writing this I am thinking of my Art History work and thinking of green fields or a calm blue sea. Using the colours in the context of specific art work I think will make much more sense and will enable me to convey the emotions I wish to much easier.

Thinking about using colour expressively it is interesting to realise that during the course of this first part of work on colour that my fiancé and I are looking at colours to redecorate our house – I have had a very neutral and calm biscuit colour for a few years and will keep than in conjunction with the calm, peaceful slate blue in one bedroom.  However I am paying close attention to the colour green we pick for another room or the purple under consideration too as I want to consider whether the room is one to relax in or whether the purple is welcoming and bright enough for an entrance hall.  After a long period of colour neutrality it is interesting to see how I am seeking colour to be used around me now.


Thinking about how I see colour now – this is definitely something I am doing much more and looking more closely at too.  In Exercise 4 of Stage 3  I first tried using a leaf and two flowers which was interesting to try but I do not feel as happy about as the paintings I did of the pomegranate, lemon and tomatoes.

The first painting I loved looking really closely at the leaf and was surprised at how many colours I actually saw – when you look at an autumn leaf you just see a mix of colours but when you look closely you see many more tones and shades than you expect.  The fushia was by far the least successful and I found I just could not get the colour match I wanted to and likewise with the nasturtium too.  This painting I did using gouache paints and these had been my favourite previously but now find them too opaque for me as I did not feel I could layer them or mix them in the way I find I can with watercolours.

The second painting I did of the lemon, pomegranate, and tomatoes I tried using acrylic paints first and struggled with my colour mixing – perhaps this was because my set is quite cheap as I wanted to try the medium before purchasing a better set.  I was very much aware of looking very closely at the colours on both the fruit and also the shadows – with the latter it is fascinating how many tones or shades there actually are with something I don’t feel I pay enough attention to. I am mixed feelings about acrylic paints at the moment but do like the texture and the slight translucency they create and certainly wish to work with them further and in particular with the correct paper.

I am aware that paper plays a huge part in how the paints work or the effects that can be produced and am enjoying trying different media on different surfaces and also seeing how the colours change too as a consequence.

The third painting I also used used the same fruits as before but tried using watercolour and both in terms of colour mixing and matching I found it much easier and consequently this is the most accurate for me.  I had taken some notes of the work of other OCA students on the painting courses and listened to advice on colour mixing using layering of colours and consequently used a combination of mixing on the palette and on the paper. Prior to starting with OCA watercolour painting had been my least favourite of the artist media along with pastels but both have become favourites.  I find watercolour paints in either tube or pan form easy to mix and to use as I love the transparency and lightness of them.

I am noticing now too when I look at the environment around me I am noticing the intricacies of colour and seeing much more variation than I have previously and I have no doubt this will change the way I draw or photograph subjects for source referencing or with specific ideas in mind.


The colour exercises in Stage 5 were fascinating to try – it was really interesting to use just two colours and combine them in the various stitches to produce the illusion of the third colour.  I found that using the different stitches as marks was much easier in many ways than using drawing marks and combined with the different yarns in the two colours produced some wonderful effects – some were more successful than others and this sample will no doubt become a reference point for future use.

The exercises using French knots were my favourite of all – I love the pointillism technique used my Georges Seurat and his contemporaries and using the knots was particularly useful as I have an idea for a development of an image in my theme.  I love the way that the pastel colours were able to merge in the samples and to be able to translate it into the pictorial piece was just wonderful – using the different threads added to the colour effects and movement across the piece as well as producing very different textures with just one single simple stitch.


I think I would change my choice of 3 dimensional objects with which to try to colour match – I found the leaf both infuriating and fascinating.  I am also very much aware that I need to try and concentrate less on the object and more about getting a colour reference down without being bothered about the accuracy of the actual drawing – this is something I find difficult to do so need to work on this aspect.

The other thing I would change is to perhaps try much more work with acrylic or perhaps to combine the different types of paint – it will be interesting to look at developing ideas using a combination of media to achieve the mixing and matching I require and I hope this will develop my  mark making too.  I am really interested in combining media in order to express emotions as I am struggling somewhat to do so – I am very much aware of my need to work on expressing through colour and marks but this is a learning curve for me.

I found with combining the different yarns in Stage 6 produced a wonderful combination of colour effects and textures and this is something I am very much interested in developing further – I can see myself using French knots considerably and in combination with other stitches.  The textures produced in the samples in Stage 5 along with the effects is also something I wish to look at further and have no doubt that as my confidence and knowledge increases I will develop this area.

To sum up Stage 3 I would probably go back and change everything but with the knowledge of what I have learnt doing it all the first time – the only section I wouldn’t change is Stage 6 which I am happy with and I also want to develop everything further too!


Hornung, David., 2005. Colour A Workshop for artists and designers. 2nd ed. London. Laurence King Publishing.


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