Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Above is a chart showing the gradual neutralization of the the three principal hues. I have added a, increasing amount of gray to each. They drop in both value and chroma. Notice how they become very different from the original hue. I did this with titanium white and ivory black. I mixed five piles on my palette ranging from a pale gray to a deep grey and then added this to the cadmium yellow, permanent red and cobalt blue.
The cadmium yellow drops through a warm yellow green to an olive color.
The permanent red drops through a brick red to a russet color.
The cobalt blue drops through a slate gray to a midnight blue.
Dropping the value and neutralizing the color effects the appearance of the color. The colors don't just drop in value, they become different colors. This is important to understand when you are mixing paint on your palette, as you neutralize your colors they are effected in ways that you might not expect.
You might try to remember these colors so you can recognize them. It is useful to know what the colors on your palette look like when they are neutralized. I am routinely "stepping" on colors to make them take their proper place in a painting.
ALL COLOR IS NO COLOR!
I went through a period when I was young, trying to get as much color as I could into paintings. I thought that would make me a colorist ( I did every dumb think you can think of when I was young). What I later decided was that "good" color was an arrangement of both saturated and neutralized colors. The neutralized or grayed colors activated my saturated colors and made them more brilliant. I heard about a jeweler in New York who filled a display case with dirt and then placed the diamonds he had for sale on that. The diamonds glittered and looked particularly brilliant against that backdrop. Just as you need some deep darks to make a painting light up, you need some grayed notes to make your color sing.