Select a set of primary colors, one each of red, yellow and blue. These will comprise your entire palette for this exercise.
Paint an array of shapes on a 1/4 sheet of paper using the three colors in their pure forms and in a variety of combinations. You can let the shapes overlap, or keep them separate. There are no rules or guidelines, other than that you should leave at least 1/4 of the paper white.
Now, mix a big puddle of a neutral color in which none of the three components is dominant. Use this to surround the shapes, eventually covering all of the white. If you apply this neutral wash wet enough, you may be able to make the whole background without overlap marks, but it is not necessary to do so.
However it turns out, let it be. There is no right way to do this, so there is also no wrong way. In other words, there is no need to correct anything. If you are dissatisfied with your results, make another one.
Finally, make the darkest color you can using your three components. It should have just enough water to flow on evenly. Too much water will thin the paint, and make it lighter. Too little will leave the paint thick and textured on the paper. You can use a scrap of practice paper to try it out. If it is still shiny even after it's dry, it needs more water. Use this color to embellish your design further. The darks are powerful, so be deliberate in using them.
|It could look something like this Hans Hofmann|
|Then, again, it could look like this Vermeer|