Betty Edwards “Color”: Chapter 1


My sister and I have been doing a little bartering.  She comes over and speaks Latin to my children and then during their nap time I give her art lessons.  We’ve been working through Betty Edwards book “Color.”  This book is extremely helpful but for classroom use could stand to have more suggestions of projects to go along with each chapter.

In chapter one Edwards discusses “seeing colors as values.”  She explains how at one time artists painted a grey toned under painting called a “grisaille” before they applied color in order to ensure proper value (p.5).  I thought it would be helpful to do a project which picked up on this idea of an underpainting but used less expensive and time consuming materials.

After discussing the chapter I set up a still life of a tomato, mint and a small dish on top of a picnic blanket.  We then drew the scene using powdered graphite and tortillons.  After we determined that we had captured the correct values we each chose two contrasting water color pigments and poured the colors onto our pictures.  This took us less than an hour to complete although some drawing skill is a prerequisite for such a project.

Graphite and Tortillons

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