Freedom From Fear - Of Color Mixing That It Is! A Class With Gail Harker

Gail Harker
The San Juan County Textile Guild offers a wide range of workshops that reflect the varied interests of the members. I'm always grateful that although we live in a county composed of many islands the Guild manages to offer high quality workshops and classes from very well know artists. One of the recent offerings was a color studies class. I had wanted to take a course from Gail for quite a few years but traveling to her studios plus the cost of the courses was prohibitive for me. I was thrilled to know that she would be here to teach.  Financially it was stretch for me to go to this class but thanks to my friend, Janet's, urging I applied for a scholarship from the Textile Guild and was able to attend! 

Gail Harker is very well know to some people and not too well know to many. She is a graduate of the London Cities and Guilds and her mission is to encourage her students to be the best that they can be. Her list of course offerings are varied - there really is something for everyone in the list of classes and she has recently offered her first on line class (in color) since she is aware that many people cannot afford to attend classes at her studios.
Adding color swabs of primary colors to our pages. We worked with Golden fluid acrylics.
The first exercise of the two day  workshop was to place swabs of color (primaries of varying hues) on three pages; one for blues, one for reds and one for yellows.
Two students to a table. This was ours when we were mixing primary yellow with cyan.

Here I worked with Pyrrole red and Cereulan Blue. Rather than waste the paint that that remained on our palettes, we made mono prints from the 'left-overs'

Some of the work from the first day of class. Two different color wheels and mixing from primaries.
I have taken some excellent color study classes and I have learned a lot from them all. This class though really was an eye-opener and manged to erase one thing I had struggled with - the fear of color mixing. Thanks to this class I no longer have an hesitation to mix color and play. Janet suggested that it would be so easy to create a scale or two in the evenings after work. A sort of no brainer that will still allow you to connect to some art - adding to your color scale pages.
A mono print from some palette 'waste'
I was so fortunate to have been able to take this workshop! I learned a lot. Connected with some very creative, friendly artists and had a very good time. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend taking any of Gail Harker's workshops. She is an excellent teacher. Although we filled many pages and learned a lot the class never felt frantic or hurried. Gail knows her stuff and is a very encouraging teacher. I had a very memorable time!
Working with complementary colors

One of my favorite exercises was creating neutrals from three primaries.

Another favorite exercise was neutralizing a complementary. Here you can the neutrals that develop between Diarylide Yellow and Permanent Violet Dark. Yum!

This exercise really amazed me. Creating neutral colors from complementary colors. I used Sap Green and Napthol Red and the range of gray and neutral browns that I managed to achieve was really an eye opener!

This was from working with 6 color primaries. The column on the left : Pyrrole Red & Diaylide      Yellow; middle column: Quinacrodone Magenta & Cobalt Blue; right:                                       Cobalt Turquoise and Hansa Light Yellow

6 color primary wheel


  1. Isn't Gail wonderful? I've taken two classes from her and have signed up for Level II hand and machine stitch in Dec. I would love to take the color class too. Actually, I would love to take all her classes :)

  2. You can color me Sap Green with envy! I love Gail's book, but to be able to study with her would be outstanding! Your monoprints from your color exercises are beautiful and I love the neutral exercise as well. I am so happy that you were able to take Gail's class. Wishing you sunny and joy filled days.


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