This guide to painting watercolors with the four basic colors is published here with the kind permission of Ernst Grillhiesl. These and other tips for painting with watercolors can be found on the website of Ernst Grillhiesl: Ernst Grillhiesl watercolor painting
A very interesting, but at the same time sensitive topic in watercolor painting is painting with the four basic colors. This is cyan, magenta, yellow and black, also called CMYK for short.
Mind you, this is about painting with the real primary colors and not with arbitrarily put together three shades. These shades are very good in almost every program on the computer to create, especially in drawing, writing and image editing programs. Since it belongs to the standard.
Many watercolor paints manufacturers can not deliver these original shades, ergo one must be satisfied with spare colors, which are close to the original tone. Only, so I know, the company “LUKAS” leads these basic colors in the program.
A master of this style of painting is without a doubt Lambert van Bommel (website Lambert van Bommel), who has been painting for years. He says that the printer also only has to make do with four colors. So he sees himself in the Pflich to come to terms with it. His masterful outdoor pictures are the clear proof of that. Take a look at the pictures on his homepage or in his new book.
Watercolor painting with the four basic colors in perfection
Mind you, the great art here is painting in the open air, not in the studio or any other cozy interior, where for mixing the colors every time of the world is available. It is a great pleasure to see the master mixing on his fingers, with which accuracy he touches his shades in the bowl.
As you know from four-color printing, nuances of one of the four colors are crucial for a “right” color. Since we haggled even for low single digit percentages to get the most out of color fidelity. You have to have a very good eye to make that clear. For many clients, it is a popular sport to bring the printer to incandescence.
Of course, other color combinations are possible when painting with watercolors, especially in the yellow red-blue series, but then has nothing to do with the original basic colors for me. It is then only a representation with three or four colors that just fit the painting object.
James Fletcher-Watson also used this heavily reduced palette, but with the tones from his palette, creating beautiful, soft landscapes.
Warm colors with the basic color technique
A big problem is that the colors yellow, magenta and cyan actually belong to the cold color series and corresponding shades, such. B. a brilliant orange, so can not create. It looks a bit “dirty”. The solution to this shortcoming in the printing industry is the use of a fifth, ie additional color, which increases the pressure accordingly.
In the watercolor you would choose an appropriate color in addition. Here we are already on the subject of equipping a useful range. There are different opinions and opinions. What confuses beginners accordingly. My opinion is to add to the frustration of mixing, which can be particularly annoying outside, because everything has to happen relatively quickly, to get a warm and cold color series, plus some spot colors.
48 shades or even more in a palette are the bare nonsense that no one in the world needs, except people who want to save the blending of all shades. According to the screaming results. In my opinion, 24 watercolor paints are way too much. Everyone has likes and dislikes for certain shades or it does not matter if he uses glazing or opaque colors, the main thing is his color is on board.
So it is recommended that you get as basic equipment, the three basic tones of the rather cold color series and to the respective Pondon from the warm. As already noted it is a culinary thing what you choose to. Earth tones are also miscible from the primary colors, but I would like to miss an original Sienna nature in any case in my palette. It is one of the most widely used colors besides sap green and ultramarine.