Thursday, June 3, 2010

pigments and color temperature

Here is my palette. I am going to talk about what pigments I might use to get various hot or cool notes in a landscape. These are only general statements because which notes are hot or cool is always in comparison to the other notes in the painting. This is actually a little subjective, because of that.

Progressing to the right from the white in the upper left hand corner, is first the cadmium yellow. Cadmium yellows range from cool to warm, cadmium pale, light, and lemon are cool cadmium yellow is about neutral cadmium yellow medium and deep tend to be warm. Cadmium orange is warmer still.That varies from maker to maker. So which you choose for a mixture may determine whether you are making a warm note or a cool one.

Cadmium red light is warm, cad. red medium and cad. red deep grow increasingly cool. Cadmium red deep is a cherry color and cad red light is a fire color.

Burnt sienna trends towards warm. To the left of that on my palette is cobalt violet which is warm and then Prussian which runs to the cool side. I often have cobalt blue here too, that is cool in comparison to ultramarine in mixtures.

Below my white on the left is yellow ochre which is moderately warm but not like a cadmium deep. Below that is ultramarine, it also is slightly warm. Remember this is comparatively speaking, it may sound odd that I classify a blue as warm because people generally think of blue as a cool color.

Below the ultramarine is viridian which is cool and bluish. Below that I have quinacridone red, you might have alizarin or better, synthetic alizirin permanent, which is quinacridone too. That is a cool red. That is the same deal as blue. Joe Bagadonuts thinks all reds are hot, but there are of course cool reds and this is one.
Lastly, I have ivory black. I would say it is neutral but often in mixtures it works as a cool color, again comparatively speaking. That's because if I neutralize a warm note, part of what I am doing is taking away some of its chroma and thus it's heat.

Tomorrow I will write about some mixtures hot and cool and how I might use them in relationship to the light and shadow in a landscape.


Sharon Weaver said...

I have never used cobalt violet. It looks like a rich color that would work well in shadows. Haven't used black either but am thinking it can give weight to a color which is sometimes difficult to achieve when adding other colors. How do you use black to neutralize colors? For added depth?

Anonymous said...

Hi Stape,
I am so excited to see how you use these colors, they are all my favorites in a full palette (this palette is the one I learned to use in the "60's" in the old fashioned university art school!)
People don't seem to like Prussian Blue or black any more, we were taught to rough in w/prussian and burnt sienna, and mix our greens w/black and our yellows or orange.
I'm on my third listening of Lead the Field, as Earl says each time you hear new things. He sure has a way of cutting to the core of how life works. I want it so clear in my life that when my grandchildren need wisdom I can really have some to give. Thanks for another great suggestion, Terry

Gregory Becker said...

Cant wait to see your next post. I have been really experimenting with temperatures lately.
Here is how I have been laying out my palette recently,
White White White White

Cad YL
Y ochre
Aliz c
cad red

ult bl ult bl ult bl ult bl
black black black black

This creates 4 vertical value lines, on a ten value scale of 1 being darkest, then 4 being the red mix, then 7 being the yellow mix, then 10 being the white. I mix the dark to white mix on both sides, then a touch of yellow into white and then into black respecting the value line the mix is in, then the same with red creating 16 colors then I mix the 3 spaces between those colors vertically creating 28 colors in total. Looking at the relative values colors and temperatures is helpful and I can easily get any value I want between 1 and 10 by a one step shift from any pile of paint which now gives me access to seventy colors. A 1 can be shifted to a 2. A 4 can be shifted to a 3 or 5. A 7 can be shifted to a 6 or 8 and a !0 can be sifted to a 9.
Having access to that in front of me from 28 colors eventually will shift back to 16 then afte some time I'll only need 4. Then I'll be able to do it on the fly, hopefully. Doing the mixes like this allows me to nuetralize the out of the tube color temps and if I need to shift a temp I can pull some from untouched out of the tube piles.
Sounds a little like work but it is getting easier to mix color value and temperature.
Yes I know I have a hard head.

Gregory Becker said...

Rats it reorganized my word illustration.
The white and the black mixes look right but the yellow mix should be under the second white and the red mix should be above the third black, making diagonal from upper left to lower right.

Robert J. Simone said...

Cad Orange is only warmer if you view orange as the warmest color, as Carlson says in his book. I think a reasonable argument can be made that yellow is the warmest color. Yellow is the first to drop out of the spectrum and therefore is more evident near us than in the distance. It tends to come forward on the canvas, too. For this reason I regard yellow as warmest. So, for me, cad orange is cooler than cad yellow. That also means a blue, like Prussian, is warmer because it is on the yellow side.

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

Thanks for sharing your palette and I look forward to seeing your mixes. Perfect timing for me to learn about color temperatures to paint summer landscapes. Love your seascape posts, but I am in "greeeen" country.

Lucy said...

i am interested in your comments

Stapleton Kearns said...

Cobalt Violet is a lovely color but it is very expensive. Gamblin makes a moderately priced one that is OK.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I usually have cobalt blue out, not Prussian. But I do use it sometimes.
Glad you like Earl.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have usually found that premixed palettes install a "look" into paintings. I question if that's a good thing,but, lots a luck with that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have heard that before. It doesn't look that way to me. Still for the purpose of painting warm or cool, it is all relative to the rest of the colors around it, no matter what their names.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I did a series of posts some time ago on painting greens. Search the blog and you will find them. That's the box up on the left at the top of the page.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Here they are.

JT Harding said...

I'm glad you mentioned the word "relative." I use the phrase "color relationships" to describe how the light key of a painting is achieved.
Gamblin has a good resource at their site to describe each color's properties.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

I notice on your palette that you use mostly modern, high-chroma colors but include two earth pigments that are less intense and more muted. Could you perhaps discuss how you might use these in relationship to the high-chroma colors? Thanks!