Painting Color Wheels is a lot of fun. It highlights the mixing options and short comings of a chosen group of pigments. I am always amazed at the range of colors available from a reasonably compressed set of pigments.

To see just how a small range of colors will cause your brain to start filling in missing hues, try making a color wheel from stones, leaves, sticks or any small objects with a varied range of colors.

It’s a great way to train yourself to see subtle differences in hue and builds up an understanding of the color wheel – vital knowledge for successful color mixing.

They are also nice things to leave behind on out of the way riverbanks.

Colored stones Burdekin River, Queensland, Australia

Tonal gradation, Burdekin River.

Color Wheel Windjana Gorge, Western Australia

Colored leaves, Katherine River, Northern Territory, Australia.

12 thoughts on “COLOR WHEELS

  1. This is absolutely amazing, John. I’ve never seen such variety in color in stones… or in gum leaves, for that matter. The only place that comes close to your stones, that I know of in the US, is Glacier National Park where I remember seeing red and green but not blue and purple. Thanks for sharing these.
    And a happy new year to you and your family.

  2. Wow, amazing colours in those pebbles. I probably couldn´t find all those colours in rocks here in Sweden, but a greyscale should be doable. Really cool idea, and I can just imagine being the finder of one of your circles – must be fantastic!

    • Hi Nina,
      Some places have fantastic colored stones and it makes the job easy. Other places there will be everything but one or two colors so grey has to fill the gap. Amazingly, it is hard to notice the missing color – great fun to do (maybe a little difficult in Sweden at the moment – I see on your blog it is all covered in snow!)

  3. Hello!!! I am a WA artist and am trying to find examples of blue ochre or pigments used in rock art. I came across your lovely colour wheel and wondered if you might know any thing about what info I am seeking. I believe there was some blue used in the halos of the Wingjana but I cant find a thing on it! Can you help??!!!?

    • Hi Roz,
      30 years ago I visited a rock art site in Kakadu National Park called the Blue Paintings. The site has been closed to the public for many years. I have looked but have not yet found the photos I took back then. The paintings included blue lines made with Rickets Blue – a whitener used for washing clothes many years ago. The Aboriginal artists must have acquired the Rickets Blue from one of the surrounding cattle stations.
      Hope this helps

      • Thanks so much! I’m still searching the tale of the true blue ochre rather than the washing blue! I love your pics! Ain’t nature grand!!! Cheers Roz

  4. I saw this at the top of the post and opened it. What a terrific idea! So different to the same old, same old color wheels of art college. This, I believe would hold the interest of especially children, by hands on doing.

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