Monday, September 13, 2010

Tints, shades and tones.

One of the ways that colors are neutralized is through the use of tints, shades and tones. Above are examples of this. Everyone's monitor is a little different, so if you have a moment at the palette, you might mix these up yourself and see for yourself what they look like.

  • The top row are the hues. I used a permanent red, cadmium yellow and cobalt blue. These were applied directly from the tube. When you think of the word hue, you might say to yourself "the color, straight".
  • In the second row are the tints.

sometimes in the decorators trade these are called pastels. Painters use that term only to apply to the medium that is pigments compressed into sticks.
  • In the third row are the shades.

When you go to the paint store there are lots of shades in those color chips. The decorators call them neutrals sometimes.
  • In the fourth row are the tones.

Some artist and illustrators mix up tints, hues and tones before painting in order to build their paintings in an orderly and predetermined color system. There are extensive ways to use these to build paintings and illustrators are often fond of using premixed tints, tones and shades. I don't work that way, but I sometimes mix these up to do layins and studies. They can be used as a shorthand way of coloring a study for a painting.


There are still places left in the Old Lyme Artsociation workshop for this coming weekend. Old Lyme is one of those historic art places. We will be painting in the same area that Hassam, Metcalf and Ranger worked. The art asoociation is in a wonderful Charles Platt building set next to the Florence Griswold house where the American Impressionist painters came to paint their landscapes. Here is a link to their site that describes the workshop.

I am moving my blog to Wordpress. The new URL address where I soon will be posting new entries is: You can check it out right now but I am still in the process of moving. There will be a redirect of the URL that you are using now and all the links and feeds should still work without your changing anything. I also will leave this blog up just in case.

8 comments: said...

OK, I am going to try my color experiment more time, adding black. You were right, tones, that's the one I forgot. I was so frustrated. (I was mistaking intensities for tones and not adding black) So I'm give it the good old, one two, three try, again. I'll be back.

Sandra Galda said...

great organized info in this post, --well, in every post you write! I love the chart here!Thanks!

Lucy said...

I am assuming that if one doesn't keep black on the palette one could mix a chromatic black or gray made from Ultramarine and Burnt sienna or Umber?

I read about one system (from about 1920) where the shade and tone was achieved using color, not black. ie the darkest yellow tone would be cad yellow plus raw umber plus a little green mixed. The darkest red alizarin plus burnt umber, the darkest blue Prussian plus alizarin plus viridian.
But maybe then,it wouldn't be considered a tone.

It seems with mixing, there are several ways to get to the same place.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stape,
So glad to be back to the 'begin the day w/Stape crew'! A month fighting the rain clouds to paint in WA, makes me appreciate my desert.
I forget how much can be learned from playing with paint, I am mixing these all the time on the palette but not in an organized way, nothing like a change of landscape to realize I need to make some charts. My go to tints and tones did not work so well in the gloom, or the hi chroma sunny days of WA. Must take the color mixtures I discovered and do some mixing.
Any news about CA workshop dates, I am very excited!! Terry

Stapleton Kearns said...

Marion; Keep on pasting and get back to us.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hey, thanks!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am going to cover neutralizing with compliments soon.I have to think about your question for a bit.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Welcome back. I have not fixed a date for the California workshop, but I am still plotting to come out there. I will let you know. Hopefully soon. I have a number of people who have expressed interest.