ASSIGNMENT/WEEK I: Color Chart with Three Columns in Watercolor

Color Mixing Chart by Zoe Grosshandler, Fall 2010

To see and observe where color comes from by mixing it at the end of a paintbrush.

Watercolor paper and watercolor in tubes.

12” x 18”

See examples in 401. This is WEEK I.

The success of this assignment relies on your self-directed research and, where color mixing is concerned, trial and error. Mixing and testing the colors on scrap watercolor paper is critical. From previous experience, I know there is a big margin of error for this assignment, meaning you won’t get it right the first time. This is a project wherein several iterations (versions) will evolve until you get the final painting.

To help you narrow the margin of error and well-position you to produce a successful painting beyond the SPECIFICS and HELPFUL HINTS on the other side, we (1) strongly suggest you attend one of the workshops below and (2) there are two choices as to how you engage this assignment:

BASIC PAINTING (worth 50 points):
Color Chart with Three Columns in Watercolor with Stencil
Orientation: Vertical
Columns centered on the page, even borders left, right; top bottom.

ADVANCED PAINTING (worth 50 base points + 50 points of extra credit)
Color Chart with Three Columns in Watercolor by your own design
Orientation: Depends on your design
Design centered on the page, even borders left, right; top bottom.

See examples in 401

All Section Pin-Up in the most beautiful grid you ever saw in the 4th Floor Hallway. Each painting pinned in all four corners by 3p.

For download on are two readings about the general use of watercolors and color mixing.

  • Selections from Color Mixing Recipes for Watercolor by William F. Powell
  • Selections from Water Colour: A Visual Reference to Mixing Water Colours by John Barber
    More readings will be added as needed.

Selection from “Water Colour: A Visual Reference to Mixing Water Colours”

Paul Klee
Josef Albers

Fire in the Evening, 1929 – by Paul Klee


TA Emma Jasinksi will conduct FOUR Watercolor Workshops limited to 15 each. Sign-up sheets are in 401.
Wednesday Nov. 7th 5-7p, 405
Saturday Nov. 10th 10-11a, 405
Sunday Nov. 11th 1-3p, 405
Tuesday Nov. 13th 5-7p, 404


This is meant as a place to begin your color mixing; it should be combined with other research and tests.

1: Color A – 100% pigment (Yellow in the example on front)

2: 4 parts A / 1 dash  B

3: 3 parts A/ 2 parts B

4: 3 parts B/ 2 parts A

5: 4 parts B/ 1 dash A

6: Color B – 100% pigment (Violet in the example on front)

The example on the assignment sheet is done in 7 steps. The middle step is equal parts A and B.


  • 12” x 18” watercolor paper.
  • Layout of your design must include a minimum of 3 mixing columns in 6 steps of colors.
  • There should be a noticeable shift in color between steps.
  • Clean craftsmanship and presentation are in play here.
    Erase all pencil marks in the borders. Cut paper evenly. No spills.
  • Even, paint-free borders top and bottom.
  • Even, paint-free borders left and right.
  • Title block. Justified left. One single line. This is WEEK I.
  • Lettering is no larger than 1/4”.


  • It’s called watercolor for a reason; use enough water to create a transparent wash.
  • Paint may bleed under tape, so test your process on scrap watercolor paper.
  • Paint beyond the line? Dab it up with a damp Q-Tip to lift the color. Do not paint over it with white.
  • Tape/cover the borders to protect from spills and smudges. Let the paint dry before removing tape.
  • Use a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive before removing tape from watercolor paper.
  • If the color is still not right on the painting, as a last resort paint a wash over it to bring it closer to the color you want only after the first layer has dried.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s