Color Wheel Project – Part 1

The Color Wheel Company asked me to use one of my mandalas to demonstrate the difference between coloring with red, yellow, blue vs. magenta, cyan, yellow. I opted to do 2 versions: watercolors and acrylics, using the “Yellow Jacket” mandala. I painted 1/2 of each mandala with red/yellow/blue and the other half with magenta/yellow/cyan.

Over 3 days, I completed both of these paintings. In the process I learned the following things:

  • I need to improve the lighting for painting
  • I need to improve my photography skills to better line up the images I take
  • I prefer using magenta, cyan and yellow…the colors are much brighter and seem more true (IMHO)
  • It seems that when I use the RBY combo, the colors come out warmer and the CMY combo creates cooler colors. I could see the value in using either combo depending on the desired outcome of the painting
  • Until this project, I rarely used black…mostly just to outline designs. Adding varying degrees of black to the colors gave me a deeper range of colors.
  • I found a big difference between using a slightly translucent acrylic black (bone black) vs opaque acrylic carbon black
  • It’s okay to change my mind as I go through the project (you’ll see what I mean when you see the acrylic slideshows)
  • Listen to the voice in my head that said I needed another photo of the completed acrylics version…I talked myself out of it thinking I had already done it.  If I had just taken a moment to view the images on my camera I would have noticed that I needed to take one more photo. The painting is now on its way to Orlando. When it returns at the end of the month, I’ll add it to the slideshow.

Watercolor “Yellow Jacket” – Graham W/C Paints

Color Wheel Colors
Cobalt Blue (PB 28)
Cadmium Red (PR 108)
Cadmium Yellow (PY 35)
Ivory Black (PBk 9)
CMY Colors
Phthalo Blue (PB 15:3)
Quindacridone Rose (PV 19)
Cadmium Yellow Light (PY 3)
Ivory  Black (PBk 9)
Marker: Black Micron .03 mm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read “Color Wheel Project – Part 2” to see the Acrylics version of this mandala. (I made this into 2 posts so that I could have 2 separate slideshows)

I highly recommend doing a color wheel…you’ll get a better understanding of colors and how you only need a few colors to make all the colors you’ll ever need.

Happy Coloring!


Maureen, The Mandala Lady



  1. I enjoyed your slide show! I’ve been trying w/o success to find a digital color wheel app that I could drop a photo of one of my painting in and then watch the colors wash over it. I’ve been doing color op-art and abstracts for years that are meant to change with the light and I used the old c-w from my mom’s aluminum xmas tree and lately a RGB strip o[ LED lights but am not satisfied because of the missing yellow light sequence. Anyway thanks for the info on CMY vs. RYB.

    1. Hi Corky…I remember those wheels for xmas trees…we had one as well. Your app idea is an interesting one. Search for graphics apps developers to propose your idea to them…someone is bound to take you up on it. I plan on doing some more cmy/ryb projects in the future. – M

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