Thursday, August 11, 2011

A tool for smuggling red

One of the continual problems for the outdoor painter in the summertime is the color green. Green is everywhere. I do a lot to replace it or shade it towards red to tone it down. I often push my greens towards olive or ocher or heat them up or purple their shadows. I don't want to make paintings that are green all over, so I smuggle red. There are three colors, blue, red and yellow. Green contains blue and yellow so I want to use as much of a different color from those two as I can . That leaves red. So I smuggle reds. That is, I try to sneak it into my greens to "step" on them and get greater variety in my color rather than green, green, green.

I am particularly wary of a certain green that occurs everywhere in the lights during the summer. It is a high key chartreuse color most easily made from a combination of lots of white, plus viridian and some cadmium yellow light. Note I am not talking how to "hit" a given color outside. I am talking about modifying or even replacing the actual note of nature with something I think will make a more attractive painting. You have heard me speak of design a lot, here I am designing my color. Sometimes I want my paintings to be the color of 500 dollar suits. High key lemon greens are not something I would want in my suit.

I make up a custom color for myself that I think of as the anti-green. I call it Pornstar Pink. It is a hot pink with indelicate overtones of chewing gum and feather boa with a hot undertone that is nearly biological. This cheap lingerie color is the opposite of the green outside, and is the antidote. I can throw it into any of the mixtures I use to make greens and it will reduce or "step on" that green. I feed it into the painting here and there to "smuggle reds".

Painters I knew years ago sometimes carried tubes of "flesh color" into the field. They would never have used "flesh ( now I believe it is labeled "Caucasian flesh") in a portrait but it was really handy out doors. My homemade mixture, Pornstar Pink is a lot more vibrant than the old flesh color but the idea is the same, a red modifier pigment. In the winter this is a good color to have for painting snow, too

When I make this color I tube it not only for myself but for a friend or two who liked mine when they tried it. So I make about a quart at a time. I have experimented with it for a number of years and have arrived at a formula that works for me. But you probably don't want to tube paint, so there is this, Williamsburg Persian Rose

I started out using Persian Rose and then formulated my own version over the years from a mixture of precursor pigments I buy from RGH, my paint supplier. Their link is over in my sidebar.
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Snowcamp I my winter painting workshop in the White mountains is filled. I have a few a spaces left in Snowcamp II. If you want to come click here. If that fills, maybe I can do another session, I don't know.

41 comments:

Luanne Meader said...

I think that smuggling red must be something we are bred to do, like labs finding birds and terriers catching rats. Years ago I was paint decorating a cupboard for the bathroom with green paint on a cream ground..way to much green..so from nowhere in my conscious mind I chose red to drag through patches of green. Total success and when looking you did not even see the red! Funny how that happens.

MCGuilmet said...

It is in moments like these, where I can see this color and understand instantly how to mix it myself, that I realize just how much the years of related, selfless, tireless, focused, dedicated research, have paid off.

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

Great advice, Stape. It's easy to get overwhelmed with seeing greens outdoors. Always nice to have another tool to work with!

Schwenk Art said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mariandioguardi.com said...

I am slowly working on a painting from my yard. As you know, I don't shy away from lime green colors BUT there is a time and a place for everything and that time and place is for my other work

I have found that indeed, the greens that work are neutralized with reds, more red than you would think! Persian rose works..but many other reds work just fine depending on how you want to vary the greens. When all the greens are warmed, it really does give a sense of bouncing light.

Sorry to miss the wonderful and famous and always surprising snow camp this year! I recommend it to anyone for it's content and great fun.

Pam Holnback said...

Wonderful reminder about greens/reds. Especially as we've had lots of recent rain in Colorado and there seem to be greens out there that I've never seen before!

Antonin said...

Nice ! I am gonna try pornstar pink :)
Personally I do a mixture with naples yellow and cad red light. It makes a nice flesh color.

helenlear said...

This is a great idea, and your pink is pretty glorious by itself.

I see that Dick Blick's website shows Persian Pink as a rich but delicate light pink, made of PV19 (quinacridone violet) and PO73 (pyrrole orange) plus zinc white.

Is your beautifully named Pornstar Pink a similar mix of a magenta and orange? I would guess without much zinc white, if any?

Main Loop said...

Echoing helenlear's question... Also, is there a clear example in one of your paintings where you are using this technique?

David Teter said...

Pornstar pink! indelicate overtones chewing gum and feather boa... your'e killing me! LOL.
Haven't heard anyone say chartreuse since at least the 70's.
People look at me funny if I call a green that.

Great info. I once did a green painting (two actually), took me awhile to figure out where I went wrong.
It will probably never sell.

I Should offer it to Kermit the Frog, Shrek or The Hulk.

Philip Koch said...

All good advise.

Mixing complements into puddles of green to break up monotonous intensity simply works.

In addition, when one's troubled by color choices it can be really helpful to turn one's focus back to re-establishing sharp, expressive shapes or a vigorous pattern of darks and lights. If the composition is right, almost any darned color choice can be made to work.

willek said...

The test of a terrific blogger is the quality of the enusing comments. Always very high here.

lisa willits said...

Thanks for the timely advice on greens. I've been working on a summer marsh scene from here in the Lowcountry of SC where the green is fairly neon this time of year. I've underpainted using purple/magenta to peek through it in spots but will try adding pink to my greens. I've used an Old Holland Brilliant Pink mixed with cad green light in the past with some success. Thanks again for another great post!

Richard said...

Tom Thomson, the great Canadian "tree" painter, most of the time worked on a red under color. His trees always seemed to have little bits of red coming through, particularly at the edges of his trunks. I've also seen pink used that way.

So what the recipe for Pornstar Pink?

By the way, always check e-bay for out of print books. Amazon immediately raises the prices while the folks at e-bay seem to think "old" books should have lower prices.

Richard

Brady said...

Transparent Oxide Red seems to work well as an underpainting to help keep some of the greens down.

Carol McIntyre said...

I have used several different reds to tone down greens, but never bubble gum pink! I will give it a try.

Lundquist studios said...

Aloha, Camille Przwodek taught me how to use alizirin crimson as a under painting of green When ever i do that, it rocks. really makes the green sing and not overwhelm. We have a lot of green in Kauai. We also have a lot of that lime day glow green. It's hard to pull it off but I like to tone it down ( for distance) with violet. I think I'll try pornstar pink and see what happens.

Richard said...

I think I came pretty close to Pornstar Pink with Quinacridone Red and Pyrrole Orange and Titanium White. Quinacrodone Violet in place of red made a dark red that really didn't get pink for me. Cad Red, of course, grays down with any white.

Richard

adebanji said...

Never heard of this one, thanks for the post!

Antonin said...

Man I miss your posts every morning with my cofee. :(

Stapleton Kearns said...

Luanne Meader;
There must be something to that. We seem to crave a complement to a color we see.It is natural to be pleased by balanced chords of color.
....Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

MCGuilmet ;
Another 450 years and I am going to be really good at this.
.........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist;
Green is the enemy!
...........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

mariandioguardi.com;
I will miss you at Snowcamp, maybe you can come over for dinner?
................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Pam Holnback;
Say howdy to John Denver for me!
..............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Antonin ;
I should do a post on Naples Yellow. I'll bet you are using a hue, is the tube really heavy? Naples is made from lead.
..............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

helenlear;
I posted the formula tonight, but you will have to fool around until you get the proportions. It is easier to buy the Williamsburg Persian Red.
................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Main Loop ;
I don't know that I could easily show that.Let me think about that.
........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

David Teter;
I have made hundreds of paintings that were too green. I will make more, count on it.
........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Philip Koch;
Design trumps color.
...............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

willek ;
I am very high here too.
.................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

lisa willits;
I love the low country. It must be very green down there now.I might respond by painting in earth colors if I were down there right now.
............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Richard;
I give the recipe in tonight's post.
......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Brady;
I like that color too, but how can an iron oxide cost 11 dollars for a little tube?
........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Carol McIntyre ;
I like a strong pink to counter a strong green.
,,,,,,,Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Lundquist studios;
Cobalt violet is also useful for that. Camille is a great colorist!
.........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Richard;
Yeah you got it.
.........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

adebanji;
Hey check this guy out! He can draw.
.......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Antonin;
If you drank coffee less often we could work this out.I am getting out from underneath the crazy workload and will post more in the near future. I promise.
..........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Antonin;
If you drank coffee less often we could work this out.I am getting out from underneath the crazy workload and will post more in the near future. I promise.
..........Stape

helenlear said...

Thanks Stape for posting the formula, it's a nice chromatic pink. Appreciate it.