Friday, July 4, 2014

Those Other Pigments

Burnt Umber
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna
Yellow Ochre
Cadmium Yellow Lemon (or Permanent Yellow Light)
Cadmium Yellow Medium (or Permanent Yellow)
Cadmium Red Light 
Alizarin Crimson
Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean Blue
Sap Green
Titanium White (large tube)
Ivory Black (for black and white exercises only)

This is the basic palette that I start students on. But, as you have seen, we have used other colors. They are not necessary, but they are occasionally useful.  We've mentioned so many in the past few weeks, here's a list. 

Additional Hues:
  • Cobalt Blue - a true blue, cooler than cerulean and warmer than ultramarine. I put in on my palette for landscapes, especially overcast days. It is a very weak color and grays quickly when mixed with white.
  • Napthol Red (Winsor Red, Grumbacher Red) - a true red, cooler than cadmium red and warmer than alizarin. I don't usually put it on my palette unless I am painting red things.

The dye colors (high chroma, high tinting strength - meaning they hold up to white): These colors do NOT add to the number of hues in the basic palette, only to the chroma strength.
  • Permanent Rose - Useful for florals, portraits and when you need a strong pink.
  • Permanent Magenta - Useful in florals, portraits and plein air shadows.
  • Dioxazine Purple - Not useful as often as Perm Rose and Perm Magenta. A mix of Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson will usually get you there.
  • Phthalo Blue - Same hue as Cerulean, useful for creating darks, turquoises, purples and painting the deep blue sea.
  • Phthalo Green - Same hue as Viridian, useful for the same things as Phthalo Blue (well, deep green sea).
  • Transparent Red Oxide - Useful for warming darks without lightening them. I have replaced Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna with TRO. Harder to handle but gives me the option of transparent earth tones.
  • Indian Yellow - Useful for warming darks without lightening them. (The cadmiums, ochres and siennas are opaque and lighten while they warm.)

Convenience Color:
  • Phthalo Yellow Green - the only color on my palette that is not single pigment. It is a mixture of  viridian or phthalo green and cadmium yellow. I use it so often, it's nice to have at hand, for when I need something cooler than yellow. It's great in shadows.

I am in no way saying you need to go out and buy these colors. They increase the range of what is possible to mix, mostly in the area of chroma. But what you are learning to do is to relate, and you can always relate color spots within the palette you are using. Sometimes, more colors make it more confusing. 

Remember, my limited palette for beginners is simply a double primary palette of a warm and cool of each primary: cadmium yellow lemon and medium, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue and titanium white. Kevin MacPherson's palette is cadmium yellow light, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, phthalo green and titanium white. Whatever you have on your palette, you still look for the relationships between the color spots in your painting. More colors of paint do not change that basic task.