Free Art For All - Watercolor Basics - The Color Wheel

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We have discovered the wonders of primary colors that make secondary colors.  Now we will arrange them on a circular layout called the color wheel.  A lot of people associate the color wheel with the stress of getting the right colors in the right spots.  It is important to note that your color wheel may look differently if you choose different colors as your primary colors. These instructions apply to the specific Daniel Smith shades listed in the supplies list. We will be addressing using different colors than these in making a color wheel in an upcoming video. 


  1. Canson 140#  watercolor paper
  2. Water
  3. * Daniel Smith Ultra French Marine Blue
  4. * Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow Medium
  5. * Daniel Smith Perylene Red
  6. Daniel Smith Quinacridone Burnt Orange
  7. Daniel Smith Undersea Green 
  8. Daniel Smith Carbazole Purple
  9. Size 10 watercolor brush
  10. Watercolor tray
  11. 7” dinner plate to trace a circle

You can follow the instructions from  Basics of Watercolor - Primary Colors and pre-mix your secondary colors with enough volume to allow you to paint this color wheel.


  1. Trace around the plate on your watercolor paper
  2. Mark the hours of a clock around the edge
  3. Paint the primary colors in at 12, 4, 8 on the clock
  4. Paint the secondary colors in at 2, 6, 10 on the clock
  5. We are letting the next colors mix on the paper.  In between the primary and secondary color (12 and 2) you will make 2 mixes of color.  One using a yellow base and drop green into it and the other using a green base and drop yellow into it.  Follow this example around the circle creating the other colors.  At this point it may be helpful to you to premix the colors on your pallet and paint it next to the colors you have let mix on the paper.  

You have made YOUR color wheel.  Daniel Smith helped us along by manufacturing the secondary colors, naming them, and marketing them together for the beginner.  Note that we can use any 3 primary colors to create a wheel.  The shades of the colors may differ but if you use your color wheel colors in your painting they will “harmonize” together.  

I will end these instruction by saying that art and numbers (sometimes even talking) access different areas in the brain.  There are a number of spots in this video where my art side and my instructional side collided  and nonsense is what happened.