Trihue Watercolor, Week 1

The first session of the Trihue watercolor class was held on Wednesday, January 17 and Sunday, February 4. The group started their painting homework in class, creating a 5×5 matrix of colors built up by glazing different saturations of the three primaries. A color pretest was also assigned as homework. This post contains handouts, photos, and videos from the first week.


Download (PDF)

Download (PDF)

Download (PDF)

Download (PDF)

Download (PDF)

Download (PDF)

If your printer can handle the weight of watercolor paper, you can print the template above right onto an 8.5″x11″ sheet to guide your painting. If not, use the lower tech method below.

Download (PDF)

If your printer can’t handle watercolor paper, cut out the template above in cardboard or heavy paper and trace inside the squares onto your paper. Offset for each color. A harder pencil will make lighter lines.

Painting template

Painting template

Download (PDF)

Download (PDF)

Videos – class demos

Demo – wetting the paper (3:49)

Dick talks about the purpose of sizing in watercolor paper, shows its effects, demonstrates how he wets the paper prior to painting on it, and explains why.

Demo – CMY transparencies and primary colors (2:40)

Dick tells how he first became aware of the true primary colors, and shows how cyan, magenta, and yellow transparencies in different saturations combine to produce various colors.

Demo – palette and workspace setup (0:30)

Be consistent in how you set up your paints and materials, so you can quickly and automatically reach to the right place.

Demo – starting the matrix with different concentrations of yellow (7:09)

Dick demonstrates mixing different saturations of yellow to start the matrix, and provides some tips and advice.

Videos – Excerpts from Dimensions of Color DVD

These videos address fundamental color concepts and vocabulary in an entertaining way.

Mix Any Color from Richard (Dick) Nelson on Vimeo.

Mix any color in pigment or light by first recognizing that all colors originate from three primaries plus black or white. The true primaries, understood and used in the printing industry for decades, were unknown to most artists and art schools. This brief video hopes to dispel the misconceptions of mixing color in both pigments and light. Additional proof can be found by examining the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks of every computer printer. These are pigment primaries. Light primaries, Red, Green and Blue-Violet are the secondary colors of pigments. Every TV or computer monitor depends on RGB color to generate an entire spectrum.

3D Colorwheel from Richard (Dick) Nelson on Vimeo.

An animated building of a 3D color wheel with identifying text. The full dimension of color relationships can be viewed in this animated movie. This is part of Dick Nelson’s DVD “Dimensions of Color”, used as his teaching device for the serious student of color. Having studied with the 20th Century master of color Josef Albers at Yale, Dick has incorporated many lessons from his mentor and added some of his own color revelations.

Class photos – Wednesday group

Class photos – Sunday group

External resources – on watercolor paper

Dick talked about some of the qualities of watercolor paper. Here are a couple of videos with more detail. They talk about how it is made, internal and external sizing, the surfaces and weights available, and include some demos. (They also use the French pronunciation – arsh – which I’m sure is correct, but I’m not sure how many of us will adopt.)

On the Arches website:

From the Dick Blick website:

Dick also suggested a page from the Handprint site for more information on sizing. This site is extensive, a rich resource with detailed information and observations, some of it very technical, on watercolor painting.