Thursday 10 August 2023

2023 Topic 8 : Master Wheel - Tetradic {by Victoria Wilding} with Tracy Scott stamps

Hi everyone

Victoria back with you today and I'm so excited to get all colourful with you as we revisit tetradic colour schemes as part of the 'Master Wheel' topic. I'll be creating an art journal spread using a skinny rectangle tetradic colour palette, but before we start I must confess that I'm not the most disciplined colour mixer, so prepare yourself for my rather slap dash approach!

Whilst I'm on a roll with the confession thing, I also thought I'd share that I'm a bonafide art journal junkie! I have dozens of different art journals and sketchbooks that I create in simultaneously and keep the journal I'm working in today, just for colour swatching and mixing. Here's a couple of reasons why I enjoy creating in art journals:
1. Art journals provide a safe space to play and experiment. They are relatively inexpensive and there's really only ever you going to be flipping through the pages.
2. They're a great reference tool for techniques, colours and compositions. Each page holds a lesson for next time and looking back on past pages is both inspiring and rewarding. It's a great way to see your progress and will teach you more about the things you love and the things you don't like so much.

I'm also going to share how the use of negative space in my pages, fits with this quarter's transparent theme, since you can see through to the white of the paper. Negative space is an important consideration in the composition of a piece and it consistently features in many of my creations. I'll show you how to use it to your advantage when creating loose florals and collaging geometric shapes like those in Tracy Scott's Minis.

The pastel colours I mix turn out really pretty and I really enjoyed all the playful elements of putting these pages together. I hope it inspires you to have a play in your art journal too!

These art journal pages use a minimal number of PaperArtsy supplies and a handful of other creative essentials. To mix my tetrad colours I use PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Acrylic colours; Butter (FF129), Candy Floss (FF70) and Aqua Duck Egg(FF199). I then use two mini stamp sets TSM10 and TSM12 to create some collage shapes for the main focal point.

Before we get into the detail of the page creation, let's spend a couple of minutes revisiting the colour wheel and tetradic schemes.

In segments 1, 5 and 9 of the wheel below you can see our three primary colours; Butter, Candy Floss and Aqua Duck Egg. Secondary and tertiary colours are created by mixing different combinations of these three colours. To mix a secondary colour (segments 3, 7 and 11) combine an equal amount of two of the primary colours. To mix a tertiary colour (segments 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12) mix a bit more of the primary colour into the secondary colour.

Tetrads are four colours which are distributed evenly around the colour wheel, which means there is no clear dominance of a single colour.

They can either be found in the formation of a square (see image below).

Or in the formation of a rectangle (see image below for a skinny rectangle).

I decided to use a skinny rectangle tetrad scheme for my journal pages, selecting the colours in the top middle. This tetradic scheme is organised into two complementary colour pairs making it a rich and vibrant colour choice.

I started off by mixing my colours and testing these out in swatches on the lefthand page and had a couple of attempts at creating the secondary and tertiary colours from the tetradic scheme.

Once I was happy with my colour mixes I created some background papers, applying a single colour at a time to the paper, with a sponge.

I then added patches of one of the other colours on top, using a mix of complimentary (colours opposite each other) and analogous (colours next to each other) colour pairings from my colour mixes.

Finally I created some single coloured sheets and set them all aside to dry.


Hand-lettering and loose florals are some of my go to options for mark making on my art journal pages. I adore the pretty effect they create and they pair so nicely with a really wide range of other images. Whilst I was waiting to move onto the main focal point, I lightly sketched out some cheats handlettering in pencil (this is basically a swirly capital letter combined with cursive script).

Sketching in pencil first takes a bit of the pressure off as you can rub out any errors and once you're happy you just go over the lettering in ink. I chose a dark grey ink to tie into the ink I will use for stamping in a few more steps.

Next I used up the leftover paint by painting a smattering of loose florals. At this point I had the thought that I should have painted the swatches in clusters to mix in amongst the floral clusters and create a more harmonious composition, but hey ho, something to remember for next time.

The loose florals I use here have become part of my signature style and I find myself coming back to them time and time again. They are so easy to put together and the trick is in laying gaps between the shapes you put down on the page. That transparent (or negative!) space, provides closure and helps the eye decode the assortment of shapes and recognise them as flowers and leaves.

Paint four uneven circles in a cluster to form the flower petals. A sport of stickles glitter in the centre of each cluster represents the pistil and pulls the flower together. Use different colours to provide contrast and help the eye see individual flowers. Paint in wonky oval/teardrop shapes for the leaves, again in a different colour.

Next I moved on to creating the main focal point for the page to the right. I stamped out a selection of the circles and squares from 
TSM10 and TSM12.

 I then cut out all of the shapes and organised into piles.

I'd decided that I wanted to create a college flower from the geometric shapes to compliment the loose florals I'd already painted on the lefthand page. So I cut the centre petal shape from each of the squares and set to one side.

I then decided to use a circle punch to create some tiny circles from the offcuts. I thought these could be used to create some smaller flowers on the outer edges of the page.

The next step was to assemble the collage flower. I stuck the petal shapes to the back of a circle with masking tape, spacing them as evenly as possible around the edge.

Here are the flowers ready to be used.

At this point I was ready to pull the pages together with all the final elements and finishing touches. The collage flowers were a bit bigger than I initially anticipated, so I only needed one of them. I glued it to the righthand page and painted some larger loose flowers in the same style as before to create repetition across both pages and bring unity to the piece as a whole.

I then used the small circles I created from the off cuts as the centres for the loose flowers, gluing them in place. This provides further continuity from the large centre flower.

To create balance on the page of a tetradic colour scheme, you should let one colour slightly dominate in the composition. You can see here how I used colour segments 8 and 9 of my selected scheme, more often on the page.

Finally, it was time to add the finishing touches. I added some watercolour pencil in Payne's Grey to outline the edges of the petals and leaves.

And drew in some leaf vines in fountain pen ink to give a final element of visual contrast to the overall piece.

Working in the rule of threes for an even composition, I added three small squares to each outside page edge. This mirrors the three clusters of painted flowers and helps create layers within the composition. The eye naturally moves from the centre of the page and the large collage flower, to the painted flowers and finally to the three small squares at the edges of the page.

I hope you feel inspired to get out your paints and create your own colour wheels and triadic colour palettes. Working with colour in this way is a great way to explore new colour schemes and discover different colour palettes from just a small selection of initial colours. I'll definitely be playing some more with this same scheme, but using a different skinny rectangle or square for other triadic combinations.

Wishing you a creative, happy week