Do you struggle with muddy watercolors? Do you want to get brighter mixes? Understanding color bias was a major step towards solving these issues for me.
As a self taught watercolor artist, I spend a ton of time on blogs and YouTube. There is so! Much! Info! on any topic you can imagine on the internet. I spent a ton of time researching watercolor supplies after the free class I took at the library. I'm such a nerd--and I secretly hoped if I researched enough and bought the exactly right supplies I would have an edge over every other beginner. Silly right? But such is the naiveté and mind-screwing demands of the high achieving perfectionist brain.
Too much of a good thing becomes a problem when I use "research" as an excuse to not just do something. So we have to find the balance right? And at some point there's no substitute for just doing the thing.
One of the things I researched about a year into my watercolor journey was color bias, and it was incredibly eye opening.
To understand color bias we need a basic understanding of color theory. I don't want to reinvent the whole color wheel here, so just watch the video that opened my eyes:
So, color bias is the idea that all colors can actually be warm or cool, and that there's no such thing as a "pure" primary color. Once you realize this is even a thing, and start looking for it in your color selections, you can pick your colors accordingly and avoid dull mixes. I use this idea a ton when making my watercolor tie dye cards--I have different primary color palettes I use based on color bias.
Now go forth and paint with more knowledge! And if you want to jump right into painting and mixing with primary colors with me, you should check out my class Tie Dye Watercolor Cards--we use our fingers to mix a rainbow of colors on a set of four cards. It's tactile, quick, and (slightly) messy fun.