Watercolor Primaries

I was absolutely shocked.

It was a complete accident.

Sitting in my folding chair sometime around or before 2011, I made an enormous discovery.

I thought, “You mean I don’t HAVE to mix my colors on my palette!” I decided from that point on that I could use this principle to my advantage.

You can paint with primaries, too.


My limited palette is about as limited as it can get when I instruct. Why complicate things?

We paint with Reeves watercolor sets utilizing only Crimson (red), Lemon Yellow, Ultramarine (blue), and Burnt Umber (brown).

Blue is a great starter color. It is easily used to define shapes and is a good color that mixes well when when painted over. It is a shorthand way to get to green and purple.

Paint yellow, next. Think about your spots where you see pure yellows, then green, then orange.

Follow up with red. Red will complete your shadows and in most places can be seen in the dirt or mud.

After that use brown. Use it sparingly. Dark shadows, tree trunks, in some rocks, and the ground are effective uses for brown.

Mix your colors from these four to add depth and clarity.

Vote For Your Favorite Design

Below are three design options for the patriotic painting class on July 4th. Vote for your favorite and sign up for the class. We will paint the design with the most votes on July 4th at Pickerington Ponds using these four colors.


The OWLE 7-4-14 designs 1-3_72


Google Docs Voting Form


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