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Online | Colour and Design with Rachel Fairfax


Expand your art practice by understanding colour theory and design principles with award-winning artist, Rachel Fairfax.

Rachel will guide you through decoding the colour wheel, the greyscale and understanding tone within colour to broaden your art practice, be it painting, drawing sculpture, ceramics or photography.

With careful tuition and structured projects, Rachel will guide you from the basics to more advanced levels of understanding colour and design, to build your confidence in your art practice. Through collaged grids, and drawing and painting exercises, you will learn to mix colour in paint, establish your understanding of colour with collage, and form a strong understanding of design elements and principles

Course Outcome

Students will understand the colour wheel, and colour theories, additionally students will learn the Elements and Principles of design, which can be applied to their discipline of choice.

What To Expect

Week 1: Colour

  • Start to de-code the Colour Wheel and Grey Scale
  • Learn about which primary colours to mix to make optimal and non-optimal secondary colours
  • Learn about Tertiary colour mixing
  • View application of Tertiary colour mixing in chosen artworks

Week 2: Continue with colour understanding

  • Learn about Complementary Opposite colour from the Colour Wheel, and how to mix Intermixed Complementary Colour
  • Learn about Monochromatic colour and the importance of Tonal understanding for Colour Understanding
  • Start collage work: make collages based on Intermixed complementary colours, Tertiary colours

Week 3: Tone

  • Tonal Understanding
  • Learn about Greyed Colour (Reduced Chroma)
  • Learn about Colour Inversion; reversing the tonal range for colour effects.
  • View application of Colour Inversion in selected artworks
  • Apply Colour Inversion and Greyed Colour to collage techniques.
  • View examples of Colour Inversion applied to paintings, graphic design, fashion.

Week 4: Elements and Principles of Design

  • A guided exercise for students to make a Grid, out of collaged imagery, to understand the intricate intersection of the Elements and Principles of Design

Week 5: Discussion of the use of Line in Drawing

  • Make a Line Drawing from the Grid made in the Elements and Principles lesson, pulling out Essential Line to step from representation towards abstraction.
  • Apply with paint, monochromatic colour and tonal value to the above Line drawing from the Elements and Principles Grid.

Week 6: Observational Drawing techniques

  • Draw an everyday object, using simple Observational Drawing techniques including measuring, proportion and tonal rendering in pencil.
  • Explore composition, cropping, and arrangement of the object/s in space.

Week 7: Design Techniques, to Abstraction

  • Learn to transform a simple Representational Drawing, into a Semi-Abstract Design, then an Abstract Design using structured Design Techniques exercises.

Week 8: Applying Colour to Abstract Design

  • Apply Intermixed Complementary colour theories (learnt in Week 2) to the Semi-Abstract and/or Abstract Design of choice (from week7).

Is this course right for me?

This course is suitable for beginners or intermediate artists. Exercises will be tailored to your skill level.

What students will achieve

Students will:

  • Understand how warm and cool colours are mixed to form optimal and non-optimal secondary colours. From secondaries, learn to understand the richness and depth of tertiary colours, in art and design.
  • Learn how the opposite colours on the colour wheel complement each other, how to mix them to make intermixed greys, and how tonal understanding of the grey scale, impacts the application of colour in your work.
  • Learn about the Elements and Principles of Design, and how to apply these to the composition, scale and structure in your artwork.
  • Learn how to extend your drawings from representational, to semi-abstract and beyond into abstraction, with simple design techniques exercises.

Material List

We will work with what you have but below are recommended materials:

  • Paint: Gouache, Acrylic or Oil

Recommended Colours:

  • Warm red (Cadmium or Spectrum Red)
  • Cool red (Alizarin Crimson or Magenta)
  • Warm blue (Ultramarine)
  • Cool blue (Cyan or Pthalo Blue)
  • Warm yellow (Cadmium or Arylamide Yellow)
  • Cool yellow (Lemon Yellow)
  • Black
  • White
  • Brushes (flats or rounds or filberts)
  • Water/solvent jars
  • Paper towel or rag
  • Drawing pencils graphite – 2B, 4B, 6B
  • Ruler
  • Cartridge paper (for acrylics or gouache) preferably A3 or larger
  • Oil paper or canvas (for oil paint)
  • Scissors or Stanley knife
  • Glue
  • Collage materials: magazines, journals, catalogues, brochures
  • Tracing paper
  • Black artline pen (fine)

This class will run online

Due to Sydney’s COVID-19 restrictions, our classes have been designed to run online. Click here to see our detailed guide to setting up, and having a smooth online class.

Fees for adult classes exclude art materials. Click here to see a list of local art supply retailers.

Read FAQs Terms + Conditions

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.