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Author Topic: color mixing question  (Read 3298 times)

lynn p.

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on: August 14, 2013, 10:33:42 PM
Nolan and all oil painting buddies, I have a question.  I have noticed that in many landscape paintings, muted, grayed down colors seem to predominate.  I have wondered whether one way to attack color mixing would be to create a lively black, say from aliziron, ultramarine and cad yellow and then create values, say 5 or more.  Then, mix colors by choosing the right monochromatic value and add more color, like green, blue etc.  This would seem to be a way to gain harmony and a short cut to mixing every single color separately.  Maybe it is a bad idea though.  Just not sure.  Seemed like in some ways, this is what I was doing when I laid in a grisaille and then glazed color over it.  Any idea?


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Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 09:13:20 PM
Lynn I know there are artists that paint like that, but I am not a big fan of doing that because I feel you lose a lot of luminosity and vibrancy in the painting. Let me explain.

The colour mixing rules tell you that to mix a highlight colour you add the next colour up first and then only add white if required. If you have say 5 piles of grey, no matter what you do you will end up with not only white in the mix, but also some of the opposite colour. Let's apply that to something as simple as a sky:

Normally you would use say Cerulean blue and then add white to lighten towards the horizon and French Ultramarine to darken towards the top.

Using the grey method you use the same colours (Cerulean and Ultramarine), but instead of white you are now adding your grey mixes, which include Orange (the opposite colour).

Which sky is going to be more vibrant? Maybe take a small off cut canvas and try it and you will see the difference.

As far as the grisaille and glazing method is concerned - that is completely different because you are not mixing the grisaille into the colours themselves. You are essentially laying down tonal values on the canvas, which then dry. You then glaze over pure, luminous colours which ensures you end up with a vibrant painting.

lynn p.

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Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 10:41:31 PM
Yes Nolan, thanks for the very clear example.  This does make a lot of sense to me.


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Reply #3 on: October 19, 2016, 11:47:57 AM
Hy lLynn I have seen your Question on obtaining a natural black blending to all landscape  paintings or whatever subject
 you wish to paint I am using ultramarine and burnt umber  either you obtain a brownish black or a blueish black but is the most natural  look at a black cat  or any other black animal in the sunlight it has the same  colour  But it is my opinion and who  am i To suggest ?

try!! if you don't succeed try again until you do.accepting  failure,  is the beginning of progress.


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