Sunday, May 13, 2012

more palette talk

I was asked about the arrangement of my palette. In particular, a reader wanted to know whether I had the warm colors across the top and the cools on the side. I don't.

Mt palette is arranged a little like a QWERTY keyboard. That is, I have the colors I use a lot arranged near the white at the upper left hand corner of the palette. I also have my blues spaced across the palette from one another because I tend to mix them up when I am working quickly. Colors that I use the least are on the ends. Ivory black is on one side and cobalt violet is on the left, the violet is expensive and this makes me husband it.

I have the ultramarine and the viridian together and the cadmiums are just across the palette. That way, I can bring them both out to meet in front of my white. An awful lot of the colors I need in a landscape come out of that pile.

Changing one pigment on your palette often means that other colors need to be adjusted. There are so  many palettes you might think it is arbitrary, but there are "types" of palettes as I mentioned the other night. If, for instance, you add a pthalo blue to your palette you are probably going to want to add lots of cadmiums to step on it, or tone it down. You will need them, pthalo is strong stuff,

A reader mentioned using transparent red oxide instead of the burnt sienna. Richard Schmid seems to be the top exponent of  transparent red oxide, which is more transparent than the sienna (and more expensive.) I am not sure why an iron oxide should be expensive but it is. I believe it has to be milled carefully to get the small particle size that makes it transparent. When I have transparent oxide instead of sienna, I find I still want the burnt sienna. The two are too much alike to stock both, so I added a redder yellow...Indian red in my case. It is still in the family but redder. I think Schmid probably chose to add terra rosa because of this. Like Indian red, it is in the earth red family but redder than burnt sienna.

I guess I have to have viridian. I am never quite happy mixing all my greens from my blues. I do that a lot, but I still like to have the viridian. It makes a lot of greens, but it also means I don't need a cerulean. I used to carry a cerulean blue. It was very expensive and I have found that I can fake it with the viridian.

I am sorry for the rushed quality of these posts, I am traveling and using the wireless in a MacDonalds. I will be posting from home next so soon they will stretch out a bit.

If you would like to know about the upcoming July workshop in New Hampshire please
click Here. I have included the cost of the workshop and information on the location in the White Mountains.


Anonymous said...

Stape, don't worry about being rushed. I for one appreciate the knowledge you do share.

Question: I have never used lead white. But titanium white to me is the color killer. I cannot get over how much it dulls and cools colors. Even the tinyest almonds sap the life from the color mixture you are working on.

Since we are talking about palettes, do you have any instruction on color lightening while avoiding the neutralizing power of tit. White?

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Just love the iPads helpful typing assist. Not almonds. AMOUNT.

Also, I'm having a bit of difficulties where trees meet skies. Any advice on how to diffuse those edges where the two meet?

barbara b. land of boz said...

Good post on color. You are on a roll for sure. Welcome home Stape.

Clem Robins said...

it sure is good to have you back.

jimserrettstudio said...

What a great run of posts, beautiful info.
That's it.

I've just got to get to one of your workshops.

Sonya Johnson said...

Another wealth of information - both practical and interesting - in this series of palette posts.

I especially appreciate your note about the viridian and cerulean blue; I currently use cerulean as my warm blue because I have it and because I love the skies I get with it. But, it is $$, and I can't bring myself to spend that much. I normally use sap green as my tube green (didn't realize it was a mix until I read that here) and while I like it, it sounds like I need to give the viridian languishing in my bin another whirl.

Thanks again for all this meaty info you share.

Mark Heng said...

Great practical tips- I've always struggled to control my palette!

I've just finished a painting using Pthalo green and after reading your post, I'm going to switch to viridian- My greens are way too cold for landscape stuff.

Marsha Hamby Savage said...

I enjoyed reading this post ... and funny on reading your viridian sentence. I have just added it back to my palette after probably 10 - 20 years of leaving it off. I did not enjoy using it. But, I have also added Pthalo blue back to my palette. I took the earth colors off... but I always loved burnt sienna. I decided to use a Chinese orange that was close to the sienna. I think I will add burnt sienna back and see what happens. I love reading all your info, and want to thank you for taking time to do so!