Despite the value of completing color charts, most of us don't make time to do these.
In our 30 minute exercise this week, we explored one series of colors that we each had. We chose two reds (as different from each other as possible: one that had more yellow or orange in it and one that appeared more purplish), two blues (one that was close to a turquoise (one student chose a greyed down ice blue instead) and one that was more purple) and two yellows (one that was more orange and one that was very lemony). We set up these primaries so that the red-orange was in line with the yellow-orange, the yellow-lemony was in line with the blue-turquoise, the blue-purple was in line with the red-purple.
We mixed each of the primaries first with themselves (eg. the two reds were mixed together) and placed the new color onto our practice piece. Then we mixed the “in order” (above) secondaries which would give the cleanest, most vibrant secondaries. We placed these on the outside of our color circle. Next, we mixed the alternative secondaries (eg. the red-purple was mixed with the yellow-lemony. This results in a greyed or neutralized orange.) (Why? Because we are adding a blue contained in the both the red primary and in the yellow primary to our new mixed orange (blue will grey down an orange).
In ” A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art” by Dan McCaw (link), Dan suggests that you let your colors modulate on your palette, just like this created color exercise to give all the “subtleties, varieties, intensities and grays. Then these colors are all ready to be added to your painting. Otherwise, you tend to change the color on the canvas and deaden your color”. Below is an image from his book illustrating this.