Sunday, August 15, 2010

The earth reds

I think this makes the blog look more scientific, don't you? In academia they have a phrase "physics envy". That afflicts the social sciences who are often trying to appear more like the "hard" sciences that get respect for their all their precision and measurable results. I may have a little physics envy here too.

My earth red is usually just burnt sienna, but there is a whole family of them and I will discuss a few. Earth reds are iron oxides, like the ochers we discussed last night, really they are just a red version of the same earths. There are also iron oxide colors made in the lab. My burnt sienna is made from synthetic iron oxides, many of the commercially available paints are. I am perfectly happy with that. Incidentally Winsor and Newton makes a particularly nice burnt sienna

I use Burnt sienna because it has a nice warm glowing red that leans towards golden and is moderately transparent. It is permanent, dries rather quickly and handles well. I often lay in whole paintings in Burnt sienna because it is a good color to have underneath a painting. When I draw or mass a painting onto the canvas, what I am indicating is mostly the darks. I want to use a color that I wouldn't mind percolating up into my darks occasionally. Burnt Sienna is as basic a color as is possible and has been a standard on artists palettes for centuries. There are a lot of allied colors, here are a few.

Transparent oxide red; this color seems to have become very popular lately because of Richard Schmidts book. I believe he recommends and uses the Rembrandt version. Every companies version is different, wildly different, in this color. It is a little redder than burnt sienna, but quite close to it, and is of course very transparent. That's a nice quality and I have experimented with a few tubes of it. However it only comes in small tubes and at ten bucks a tube (high for an earth color) I am happy enough with my big tubes of sienna. I only use the big tubes. I go through a lot of paint.

Mars red; a deeply colored red, like the old oxblood color that penny loafers come in. I pull this out on occasion but I can mix it myself and would have to add it while retaining the sienna.This is a synthetic iron oxide.

Indian red; is another iron oxide red it is a deep brick red with a slightly bluish tone. It is very opaque and covers extremely well.It is permanent and handles well, but I find it heavy. I have to be careful when I use it because it is surprisingly strong for an earth color. I have worked with it a bit when studying Edward Seago as it was a constant on his palette. Again, when I use it, I add it to the "visitors' section of my palette as it is too different from burnt sienna to be its replacement.

Venetian red is transparent and has a pinky tone it is also rather powerful for an earth color. This is sometimes called light red.

Terra Rosa; is like its name implies somewhat rose colored, it has a warm yellowy undertone. Very similar to venetian red.

These similar colors range from warm and yellowy, to deep and cool. They range from transparent to opaque. You might want two on your palette, at either ends of their range. They are dependable and relatively inexpensive, versatile pigments.

I am beginning to work out the arrangements for a California workshop. I am thinking the Napa valley in mid-October. But the details are not yet finalized, I will let you know more soon.If that works for you let me know, if it doesn't, let me know what does and I will see what I can do.I am also planning to be in Southern California too.


Sergio Lopez said...

I like the idea of a Napa Valley workshop. That way I am only 45 minutes away.

ddd said...

I just wanted to thank you for posting such informative material. I have been learning from your blog in a big way!


Gregory Becker said...

I tried the transparent oxide red and didn't like it. It seems like a great color for cherry wood tables for a still life or something similar. I'm sticking to burnt sienna. It mixes so well with viridian to make the richest dark for landscape I have ever seen.
When that mixture is used as transparent, semi-transparent or opaque it is truely lovely. Especially when you use it to lean to warmer tones with the sienna and cooler tones with the viridian.
You can do an underpainting that pushes real close to a finished painting. said...

I've been away for a week and it looks like I missed some juicy posts and discussions. And I think I recognize the schematic you used here...hmm.

Anyway, I love this color talk and I have a week of your posts to catch up on. Be back soon.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Main Loop;
I hear its pretty there. I have never been.,

Stapleton Kearns said...

Dalibor Dejanovic;
Thank you.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Good, now I feel less conflicted with my inexpensive sienna.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The schematic is for a circuit in an old Japanese television set. Welcome back.

Sergio Lopez said...

Very much so... Rolling hills, old oaks, eucalyptus trees, green mountains, and mustard plants..

Nancy Goldman said...

I would be very interested if you have a workshop in So Cal.

Woodward Simons said...

Richard uses Transparent oxide red - or transparent oxide brown to make his darkest darks - richer. He says that these accent darks are warm, even hot, so he mixes TOR with his blues and greens to warm them up in the darks.

As a Putney Painter, I have to have it on my palette, but I prefer the price of Burnt Sienna. "When in Rome"