This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
A limited palette of standard red, yellow, blue, Chinese white and lamp-black will answer most purposes, because blue and yellow mixed make green, red and yellow make yellow-red or orange, red and blue make purple. But when it is possible to have a larger range of colors, the work in color will be greatly facilitated. Good pigments are rose madder, vermilion, Venetian red, burnt sienna and cadmium orange, pale cadmium, aureoline, gamboge, viridian (green), and cobalt blue, new blue and ultramarine blue. Muffin tins of six or eight divisions are very convenient for holding water and mixing color.
The secret of a good wash is the thorough mixing of the pigments with the water and getting the mixture to the right consistency - a matter of experiment. With a good mixture of color fill the brush well and put the color on paper from left to right, drawing a puddle of color down with the stroke. The paper should be held slightly tipped, the puddle at the end may be picked up with a sponge or a brush. The wash must not be worked over. Tempera or opaque colors are used in a thicker consistency than clear colors. Color Chart. Make flat washes of pigments in the spectral colors, green G, blue-green BG, blue B, purple-blue PB, purple P, red-purple RP, red R, yellow-red YR, yellow Y, and yellow-green YG, using water color or tempera of standard colors in red, blue, yellow, green, or better, the various pigments as suggested above.
Test the washes by a good prismatic chart. Cut them into oblongs or squares and mount them around a circle in prismatic sequence of hues. Draw diameters to connect the opposite complementary hues. See diagram (Fig. 29). This gives a hue sequence.
In order to have freedom in the use of the medium it is necessary to play with the color, making all sorts of combinations. For example, mix red with all the other colors in turn. Do the same with blue, etc., then mix three colors with varying quantities of each. Make washes of all these experiments and name according to ingredients used. There are no rules for mixing colors, so, facility comes through practice. The results may be useful for future exercises in notation. Match hues of objects.
Arrange a neutral scale of water-color washes, using Chinese white and lamp-black. Cut in oblongs and number from ten
(white) to zero (black). Five is the middle value. There are an infinite number of gradations between white and black, but nine are enough for practical use.
Next, take any color, say R, from the chart of standard hues and by decreasing and increasing its value make a color value scale. Water or Chinese white may be added for high values and black may be used in the low values of the color. There will be nine steps cut in oblongs and mount to the right of the neutral scale (see diagram, Fig. 30). By comparing the neutral value scale with the chart of standard colors, we find that hues reach their maximum at different values.