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Patrick1
06-14-2014, 02:54 AM
I sometimes want neutral or near-neutral greys, and currently my favorite & easiest mix is Ultramarine Blue + Burnt Umber, lightened as needed with white. I will use Raw Umber instead if I don't mind a slight greenish cast - which often is useful. Or Burnt Sienna or Indian Red if I want a grey that is very slightly purplish. I recently put to use an old recipe that I 'discovered' long ago: lemon yellow + Dioxazine Purple, which makes a grey-brown (taupe) color.

I'd like to hear what others regularly use as their go-to recipe to mix greys or near-greys.

0chre
06-14-2014, 05:55 AM
As a neutralizing glaze I often use phtalo green + transparant oxide red or ultramarine + transparant oxide red.

budigart
06-14-2014, 10:22 AM
I regularly use roughly half and half ivory black and raw umber. Ivory black tends to skew toward blue, and raw umber kills the blue and the mix gives neutral gray. Depending of the brands of paint you use, you may have to tweak a little (more of one, less of the other), but you can produce neutral gray. I generally mix values 3, 5, and 7. I can mix between these for the other two, and tweak both ends (lighter or darker) if necessary. I use my neutrals for everything, but especially for portraiture to attenuate flesh tones.

You can also achieve neutral gray with combinations of ivory black and burnt umber or yellow ocher. Again, the dull red or dull yellow kills the tendency of ivory black to shift toward blue.

WFMartin
06-14-2014, 04:21 PM
I sometimes use an interesting mix of colors for skies, that results in a near-neutral. I mix Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Orange. Mixed together, they create a nice gray, that can be biased toward either the Blue or the Orange.

I use lots of White, of course, as well.

For portaiture, I often mix Permanent Alizarin Crimson (PR177), and Transparent Sap Green. This is a nice neutral that can be skewed toward either the Green or the Crimson, and with lots of white, forms the beginning of a basic skin color.

~JMW~
06-14-2014, 04:30 PM
I believe most complimentary colors will make various grays when mixed- red/green, blue/orange, yellow/purple

cmorford
06-14-2014, 09:23 PM
I haven't done this, but I've read about some oil painters who scrape together the remainders in their palette after they've finished a piece and put the mixtures into empty tubes for use as neutral grays...

budigart
06-14-2014, 09:39 PM
cmorford . . . they may use it for grays, but I doubt that they are neutral. Lore from centuries gone by talk of old time painters doing this, but these days, there is a line of thought that believes paint residue like this, steeped in thinners, would be underbound and subject to lifting off the canvas.

Gigalot
06-15-2014, 02:15 AM
For neutral I use mostly self-made Vine Black and Shungite. But I found that mixture of Caput-Mortuum and Chromium oxide green can make interesting opaque gray color. These two paints are "must have" for me.

Patrick1
06-15-2014, 03:46 AM
For portaiture, I often mix Permanent Alizarin Crimson (PR177), and Transparent Sap Green. This is a nice neutral that can be skewed toward either the Green or the Crimson, and with lots of white, forms the beginning of a basic skin color.
Doh! I have both of these colors in oil and it never occurred for me to try this combo as a basic skin tone color. Will try. Aliz. Crimsom + Grumbacher's 'Thalo Yellow Green' is a somewhat popular combo, and I would think substituting Sap Green would give a similar, though perhaps slightly less chromatic, result.

bruin70
06-15-2014, 05:57 AM
ivory black + white + some raw umber

a pure grey of black and white looks like [email protected] on a painting, but say if you have an array of color on your palette, and you have progressed on your painting, you will find your various mixes have produced a version of neutral that settles nicely within the painting.

bruin70
06-15-2014, 05:59 AM
I believe most complimentary colors will make various grays when mixed- red/green, blue/orange, yellow/purple

compliments make some type of brown. they do not make grey

friesin
06-15-2014, 06:11 AM
compliments make some type of brown. they do not make grey
it depends on the pigments and on the amount of each colour used in the mix.

I either mix complementaries or, much more often:
vandyck brown with ultramaine or delftblue (Schmincke).

Patrick1
06-15-2014, 07:52 AM
The 'technically correct' definition of 'mixing complements' are two paints/pigments which mix to neutral grey or black. But some artists use color wheels where opposites often mix to some form of brown (or even dull green in the case of some orange + blue combos) ...which can be a useful thing.

It's a bit like the choice of primary triad: the 'technically correct' CMY or some form of RYB triad that a lot of artists prefer as their primaries for ease-of-use, opacity, and the different color gamut that it is better suited for.

JohnMorfis
06-16-2014, 09:17 AM
I haven't done this, but I've read about some oil painters who scrape together the remainders in their palette after they've finished a piece and put the mixtures into empty tubes for use as neutral grays...

Gamblin actually sells one of these each year, they take all their excess paint and mix it all together and package it up.

It's a bit like the choice of primary triad: the 'technically correct' CMY Yes you're onto it here. Most people have the wrong idea when mixing compliments. Red IS NOT the compliment of green...regardless of what all those flaky art teachers are preaching in their classrooms on a daily basis.

And if you're looking to try something right out of the tube, old holland makes a graphite gray, although I haven't used it in a while and I remember it's consistency being "different" it might be worth a try.

Patrick1
06-16-2014, 01:47 PM
...if you have an array of color on your palette, and you have progressed on your painting, you will find your various mixes have produced a version of neutral that settles nicely within the painting.
Yup - this is a nice advantage available when using oils. When using acrylics (other than Golden Open or Atelier Interactive), most of those leftover greys and near greys have long dried and are no longer available for re-use :o .

robert.s
06-16-2014, 02:07 PM
Sorry if this is a dumb question, but is burnt umber good for obtaining somewhat neutral tones?

airplanz
06-16-2014, 03:11 PM
When using acrylics (other than Golden Open or Atelier Interactive), most of those leftover greys and near greys have long dried and are no longer available for re-use :o .

...A great reason to use a sealable "wet" palette for acrylics ;) .

Speaking of acrylics, neutral greys for me begin with artist grade Titanium White and a student grade PBk 11 (Mars Black). Artist grade MB tends to have overpowering tinting strength so I find the student grade easier to handle in mixtures. These two colors are used on a five-level grey scale.

I use a three-primary palette...cool, warm, and muted. The black mix always leans toward blue and is used as the muted blue. Burnt Sienna and Yellow Oxide are the muted red and yellow, respectively, and are combined with the black mix in varying proportions to suit.

The lion's share of the painting is done with the above mixes to establish value contrast early on, then later mixed with the cool and warm colors as the painting progresses. The Faber Birren color triangle is the general color guide used throughout the work.


airplanz

Patrick1
06-16-2014, 04:59 PM
Sorry if this is a dumb question, but is burnt umber good for obtaining somewhat neutral tones?
Indeed yes! Burnt Umber + almost any blue (and lightened as needed) should get you decently close to neutral grey. With some blues, you might even hit true neutral. IMO, this perhaps the easiest recipe for neutral or near-neutral grey.

Speaking of acrylics, neutral greys for me begin with artist grade Titanium White and a student grade PBk 11 (Mars Black). Artist grade MB tends to have overpowering tinting strength so I find the student grade easier to handle in mixtures.
That's something I've been doing recently; using student grade for blacks, and sometimes browns and phthalos...less over-powering and easier to use in student grade form.

bruin70
06-16-2014, 06:08 PM
it depends on the pigments and on the amount of each colour used in the mix.

I either mix complementaries or, much more often:
vandyck brown with ultramaine or delftblue (Schmincke).

then we are at odds as to what grey looks like, so the discussion is moot. your choice of brown and blue is not my idea of what a grey is,,,,but it is to you.

a lot of "colorists" avoid black like the plague and thus settle upon some version of grey, as you do, because that mix fits better into their palette. nonetheless the ultimate aim for you is to neutralize the colors you use is your grey mix(a relatively warm brown added to a cool blue) thus giving an IMPRESSION of grey/black. you are creating a "color version" of black/grey.

tonal painters and traditional portraitists USE BLACK as their mother color, therefore the use of black is liberal and uninhibited.

Patrick1
06-17-2014, 05:51 AM
then we are at odds as to what grey looks like, so the discussion is moot. your choice of brown and blue is not my idea of what a grey is,,,,but it is to you.
I haven't used any Van Dyke Brown yet, only seen samples of it - and it looks somewhat similar to Raw or Burnt Umber - so it's hard to imagine it wouldn't be good for mixing black and relatively neutral greys with Ultramarine or Delft (Indanthrone) Blue. Some mixed blacks can look and mix much like tube black.

Milt, may I ask what is your idea of grey? Maybe you mean various colored greys rather than stark, near neutral greys or a black + white mix.

bruin70
06-17-2014, 07:50 PM
I haven't used any Van Dyke Brown yet, only seen samples of it - and it looks somewhat similar to Raw or Burnt Umber - so it's hard to imagine it wouldn't be good for mixing black and relatively neutral greys with Ultramarine or Delft (Indanthrone) Blue. Some mixed blacks can look and mix much like tube black.

Milt, may I ask what is your idea of grey? Maybe you mean various colored greys rather than stark, near neutral greys or a black + white mix.

grey as in black + white. black as in black. that is the "basic' equation. do i modify my blacks and greys?,,,,yes. but because the starter color is black, so black it is. if you want to get straight to the point, there is no quicker way to do it. the thing you have to worry about "mixing" your blacks(and consequently the greys) is that every manufacturer has their own recipe - no two colors are ever the same...everyone has a different van dyck brown.

as i said, since black is my mother color, the color black itself integrates into my paintings easily. the mapping is simply...if i have a simple grey of black and white, i can deviate from it easily with other tints because the grey itself is an absolute neutral. if you have to go through the process of mixing your black(dk brown + blue) and then get grey from it, you mix is not an absolute neutral. your "neutral" black is not neutral, it is a compromise between a warm and a cool. some people even create their "black" by adding alizirin to the dk brown/blue...but you see what they're doing? they're mixing all kinds of dark to get a more neutral dark that they could have gotten with just black.

ultimately this is all about comfort, and i am comfortable with black. so i don't understand why people do through the tedious process of mixing a version of black when they can buy black. your high school teacher, who probably painted cheezy flower still lifes, probably told you never use black. :) every high school teacher says that.

but if i want a black black, black + ultramarine gives me what i consider a very black black,,,and black/ultramarine is very different from ultramarine/dk brown. if i want a luscious black i mix blk + blockx mars violet, but try getting that with the mars violet + vd brown + ultramarine. i can guarantee it won't be the same.

what i see with the unititiated trying out blk for the first time, is they don't understand it, add too much of it, and end up the mud

DMSS
06-17-2014, 08:23 PM
Milt:
This is very interesting. Can you elaborate more on what you mean about black being your mother color.

bruin70
06-17-2014, 08:35 PM
Milt:
This is very interesting. Can you elaborate more on what you mean about black being your mother color.

a mother color is a color that acts as a "tinting agent" for your whole palette. for traditional portrait arts, going back to velasquez, van dyck, rembrandt, goya, (actually all the dutch and all the spaniards) through to manet, degas, sargent chase, duveneck, fechin,,,and yes even sorolla, IT IS BLACK.

the mother color thus UNIFIES the palette. you can take a wildly divergent, cacophony of rainbow colors, add black as a mother color, and they will all work together. in my younger days i used both black and w/n raw sienna. it's like "veiling" your painting with a unifying tone. glazing does the same in a cheezy way.

black (ivory and mars) is for ME an absolute neutral. the reason i am at odds with people who "mix" their blacks is probably because i DO use it's neutrality as my mother color, while a black MIX simply does not work as a mother color. people who mix their blacks don't use a black mother color...they probably use the mix locally.

DMSS
06-17-2014, 08:46 PM
Thank you, Milt. Do you know of any books or videos on this?

budigart
06-17-2014, 09:25 PM
Haven't heard the term "mother color" for a long time. I used to work with a woman who would make a small pile of a mix using all the colors she planned on using in her painting. She called this her mother color, and would mix dibs and dabs of it into every stroke in her painting. The reason she gave was the same as yours . . . for it's unifying effect. As a portrait painter, I use a lot of neutral grays. They find their way into almost everything I mix on my palette. My grays are mostly a mix of ivory black as my base, with either yellow ocher, raw sienna or raw umber to stifle the shift toward blue. I guess this is also my mother color, according to your definition.

bruin70
06-17-2014, 09:37 PM
Thank you, Milt. Do you know of any books or videos on this?


black as a mother color is not easy if you're not used to black on your palette. therefore try davy's grey. it's relatively neutral and absolutely transparent. it virtually disappears when you mix it in so it's very very hard to use too much LOL. actually you might hardly notice it's effect unless you add it to like,,,,white or something, so it is a safe starter mother color.

any type of color that doesn't lean warm or cool AND IS TRANSPARENT is a good way to start for someone new to mother color.

no, i don't know vids or books. mother color is something you grow into

bruin70
06-17-2014, 09:42 PM
Haven't heard the term "mother color" for a long time. I used to work with a woman who would make a small pile of a mix using all the colors she planned on using in her painting. She called this her mother color, and would mix dibs and dabs of it into every stroke in her painting. The reason she gave was the same as yours . . . for it's unifying effect. As a portrait painter, I use a lot of neutral grays. They find their way into almost everything I mix on my palette. My grays are mostly a mix of ivory black as my base, with either yellow ocher, raw sienna or raw umber to stifle the shift toward blue. I guess this is also my mother color, according to your definition.

a good "neutral" mix can be attained when, after you're partially into your painting, you will find that all the colors you have used end up creating a neutral mix of their own. this particular neutral is a very practical one because it is a neutral of all the colors on your current painting.

Gigalot
06-18-2014, 11:05 AM
If so, my "mother colour" is aluminium flake powder.

JohnMorfis
06-18-2014, 11:30 AM
I've always thought of a perfect neutral as more of a concept and not a 100% achievable entity. All pigments favor a certain part of the the visible spectrum this includes any black or white you purchase. It's like trying to balance on a razor that is infinitely sharp; things are going to fall to one side or the other (think warm / cool). And then there is that whole interaction idea that colors respond to what's around them (thank you Josef Albers) ... and then there is the light source thing (look up color metamerism). Chasing the perfect neutral is indeed like chasing owns own painterly tail.

bruin70
06-18-2014, 07:53 PM
raw umber is a good dead neutral, grumbacher that is. whistler used it. the grumbacher version is very neutral very grey neither warm nor cool very non-brown.

hmmmmm, i should go back to it. haven't used it in decades

briantmeyer
06-18-2014, 09:29 PM
I'm doing watercolors so what I say is probably should be taken with a grain of salt. But the pigments are similar as what you have in other mediums, I imagine they work in a similar manner. ( I don't use black since that ends up being chalky, but do use chinese white for special effects like foam on waves )

I've chosen to focus on a six color palette of neutralizing complements, basically 3 different complementary colors that are known to be very good at mixing to a good neutral or gray. ( when I say gray, I mean neutral and this is usable as my blank, or as a way of just darkening these other colors. )

The main pair is Burnt Sienna PR101 + French Ultramarine Blue PB29, it mixes to a very good gray, or black depending how strongly it's used.

The next color pair is Gold Ochre PY42 + Ultramarine Violet PV15 which keeps a more golden brown cast to it, it actually gets close to gray if you mix it just right.

The last is Viridian PG18 + Perelene Maroon PR179 which also goes very gray at a certain point, but more often mixes to a decent green, or makes a nice burnt umber type color. The viridian actually mixes well with all 5 other colors for different effects, never use it by itself, but it gives me a lot of variety to my greens which I am still exploring. Only complaint is the Maroon is very staining compared to the rest.

Note that I don't use a mother color, but I am also making my blacks from the other colors on my palette, so there is a lot of harmony, pretty sure it's the same effect since often there ends up being relationships where the various colors blend into each other. And of course a lot of this is aimed at the granulation and other watery effects that are possible.

airplanz
06-19-2014, 01:28 AM
Only complaint is the Maroon is very staining compared to the rest.



Yeah, reds can be kinda uppity that way :( .

Have you tried subbing a different Burnt Sienna for the Maroon? It might minimize your staining issues and still give you nice greens, greys and effects. In acrylics and oils there are other BS (sorry!) tube formulations besides PR101, and they may be available in watercolors as well. Some are more red, others more brown. There may be one or more that are just different enough to fill the slot.


Anyway, it's just a thought. Looks like you have a workable method going, thanks for sharing it :) .


airplanz

briantmeyer
06-19-2014, 03:12 AM
I've discussed it in the watercolor forums in depth, but it's more trial and error to solve the issues and I chose the best suggestions. The BS is an orange PR101 ( it's the winsor newton which is the only brand that uses PR101 for BS ), and there are PR101 which are called venetian red which would probably work as well, but it's also a more saturated color, and might not work with the viridian as well, then I have to change everything. These are in essence earth tones for my warms, and their matching cool colors. Eventually the perfect becomes the enemy of the good.

Just wanted to mention what I am doing, since all of these are good neutralizing complements, which is really what recipes for grays are. You also can look up the pigments on handprint.com, which is for watercolors, but it generally has good information for other mediums there. Most of the watercolorists who describe themselves as tonalists ( Castagnet, Zbukvic ) like their old palettes because it ends up forming some really nice grays and browns.

At this point I am spoiled and don't think I could just use any single black, but would think thru how to use complements to achieve them instead, and thus tie them into the other colors used in the painting much closer. I can see why some would use a "mother" black, it forces you to stay within a certain harmony and lets you focus on values.

I just don't see it as a color "wheel" anymore, with values as a separate issue.

Instead I see it as 3 intersecting lines which form a star, with the dark gray in the center, which I think choose how much water ( or white ) to add to this to control value. But I am spending more time thinking about the saturation in the middle than I do about going around the wheel. These recipes for grays are, for me at least, the "mother" ship I start from. I choose which of the 3 grays based on which color I am going towards.

WFMartin
06-26-2014, 03:47 PM
As painters, we each have our own preferred method of creating "neutrals". However, what we each seem to be discussing is our preference for "neutrals" that are biased in one direction or the other away from true, scientific neutral, and colors that represent merely a "grayed", or "low-chroma" version of a given color. Those are not truly gray, or neutral.

True, scientific neutral, plots dead center on a color wheel. It is not skewed, or biased toward any specific hue, at all. This accurate plotting can only be accomplished with a color measuring instrument, and cannot be "guessed at".

If I were to ask 10 artists to create for me what each of them believe to be a "true neutral", I would probably get 10 different versions of "off-grays", none of which would likely be a true, scientific neutral.

One other way to achieve what might be close to a true neutral, or at least a consistent version, from time to time, would be to purchase a neutral gray scale from a commercially available source. Kodak, 3M, Dupont, and a couple of others used to offer gray scales, or step-tablets. Also, the one, legitimate use of a Munsell Color Model, has a relatively "accurate" neutral scale running down the center of it.

Then, merely use one, or several of these grays, and mix your paint to match it. Gray is gray, and it doesn't make much difference what you may have done to get it that way. Milt's idea of just buying some form of Black, and mixing it with a bit of Umber to "take the edge off of it", is perfectly understandable, and practical. It is much more straightforward than purposely using other hues to create something as simple as "gray".

Gray is gray, and it plots on the color wheel at dead center (scientifically). It makes no difference what you did to achieve such a neutral, and the use of black plus white is one heckuva good start. Just dope that black with some other color [such as an Umber] so that it matches a standard, commercially-created, photographic, grayscale, and you have a "gray" to which you can compare your color-mixed grays for your entire painting career.

That is sort of what I do. However, I've quite truly never felt the pressing desire for a "true neutral". I've never felt that achieving a true, absolute, scientific "neutral" to be essential toward the creation of my paintings. A gray that is "close" is usually good enough for my work, actually. And, for that purpose, I usually mix Lamp Black with Raw Umber, which creates a "neutral" that is close enough for me.

Patrick1
06-27-2014, 02:45 AM
I didn't have the materials to do a full-fledged grey-mixing exercise, but here's 2 common grey recipes; Ultramarine Blue + Raw Umber and + Burnt Sienna. I don't have Burnt Umber to try right now. Also if I recall, Phthalo Blue makes greens with almost all browns.

The neutral grey is store-bought Americana craft acrylic for reference - which happens to be perfectly neutral. Anyways, it's interesting just how different greys you can get from different browns (one makes greenish greys, the other makes very slightly reddish/purplish greys). It's also interesting that the black mixed with Burnt Sienna is at least as dark as with Raw Umber...even though Raw Umber is a lot darker.

airplanz
06-27-2014, 11:59 AM
Patrick1, interesting mixing exercise...thanks for posting :) .

What is the Color Index Name for the Burnt Sienna you used?


airplanz

Patrick1
06-27-2014, 07:33 PM
Thanks, airplanz. It is Golden Fluid 'Burnt Sienna' PBr7. This one is opaque and somewhat matte.

In contrast, Golden's 'Transparent Red Iron Oxide' PR101 is stunningly transparent and saturated for an earth color. A lot more glossy too. If I recall, it doesn't go pinkish in tints like this PBr7 does; the two are totally different animals.

I'd love to try violet oxide for some 'real' purples :lol: .

Richard Saylor
06-28-2014, 05:52 AM
Watercolor: Dilute ivory black with water to desired shade of grey. If needed, warm or cool it with burnt umber or ultramarine blue. A good quality ivory black is not chalky unless mixed with white.

Gouache: Black + white can be abominably chalky. It may be best to mix a neutral from complements and lighten if necessary with zinc white (or Chinese white watercolor).

Of course, it is fashionable to find fault with black (especially among watercolorists). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj84tfS7ag4

briantmeyer
06-28-2014, 06:19 AM
I don't think the issue in watercolor is that it's black, it's an issue with the pigments used for black tend to be dull and chalky. I premix my own black or gray, and while I am not using black it still looks like black, smells like black, and might as well be black. I do it only because I don't like the properties of blacks in watercolor very much, but these exact same pigments don't have these issues in other mediums. ( and some watercolor brands are almost pure chalk )

But talking about black, or even worse white, with other watercolorists is right up there with religion and politics. :) Then you start talking about varnishing.

That is a funny video.

Richard Saylor
06-28-2014, 07:27 AM
.....But talking about black, or even worse white, with other watercolorists is right up there with religion and politics. :) Then you start talking about varnishing......I use W&N ivory black only for convenience. It usually does pretty much what I want without the hassle of mixing complements. In a previous lifetime, I used a CMY palette, but having to mix three colors for an approximate neutral can get tiring.

Excellent analogy of religion/politics with the white and black issue among watercolorists. :D

Patrick1
06-28-2014, 08:18 AM
In a previous lifetime, I used a CMY palette, but having to mix three colors for an approximate neutral can get tiring.
So CMY Guy is no longer. Perhaps now RYBK Guy :cool: .

Richard Saylor
06-28-2014, 08:26 AM
So CMY Guy is no longer. Perhaps now RYBK Guy :cool: .That's about what it amounts to, Patrick1. You sure have a good memory! :D

briantmeyer
06-29-2014, 02:35 AM
As usual, handprint has a good and detailed description of lamp black (http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterw.html#PBk6) that describes the dulling issue, in a fair manner so artists can choose their poison. ( How long ago did he write all that, that site continues to amaze me )

The common complaint against any carbon black paint is that the dullness of the finished pigment contrasts unpleasantly with the other paints around it, even other dark paints. This is because carbon pigments are totally opaque, and therefore the light scattering from the surface of the pigment is enhanced after the paint dries, adding a distinct whitish veil to the finished color. There are two solutions to this problem. One is to glaze the black areas with one or more coats of a moderately diluted gum arabic solution, which reduces the surface scattering and so darkens and enriches the color. The other is to mix carbon black paints with a small amount of a strongly tinting dark paint a clean burnt umber, phthalo blue or dioxazine violet, for example which seems to reduce the fading effect.

Now the above isn't an issue with just black, it's an issue also when you use too little water in your mix of ANY color, and you basically get it too thick, there is an ideal water/pigment ratio that maximizes the pop of the paint.

Note that varnishing it isn't an option usually ( even though I am willing to be a heretic and varnish my work to get some more UV protection ) but handprint does have other options to deal with this.

Sure there is nothing wrong with using black. But there is a lesson in the watercolor forum describing how SUSAN HARRISON-TUSTAIN mixes luminous darks (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1354347) using basically staining pthalo colors. This seems totally in line with what is recommended for a richer black on handprint. I am trying this and it seems to give very good blacks, and worth the extra mixing ( or pre-mixing my own ) because it helps the finished picture pop. She is specifically using the alizarin replacement PR177 and I am using PR179 which seems to be just as good.

Of course handprint already knew a lot of this, if you read it closely.
Incidentally, a rich, transparent, extremely lightfast and flexible alternative to all carbon black and convenience dark neutral paints (indigo, sepia, neutral tint, payne's gray, etc.) is the generic mixture I call synthetic black. I originally developed this mixture using the additive (RGB) primaries indanthrone blue (PB60), benzimida brown (PBr25) and phthalocyanine green (PG7)...

However, if a potent, achromatic dark gray is the goal, then it is more efficient to use two mixing complements. The darkest and most efficient mixture along the red/green contrast consists of perylene maroon (PR179) and phthalocyanine green BS (PG7), roughly in the proportions 5:1.

In masstone applications these mixtures are actually darker valued than most lamp or ivory blacks (PBk9). They create a velvety luster, rather than the usual carbon black dullness, that harmonizes well with other dark valued paints; they can be used to produce shades of any paint, and when applied wet in wet or used in diluted glazes, color separation among the pigments will produce subtle and shimmering color effects.

I am personally doing PR101+PB29 which I think everyone has used, but just trying to follow susans advice, which is a RGB three color combo where the colors are all intense dark and staining, it lets the paper shine thru and yet get things very dark. Basically what handprint.com recommends ( PR179+PG7 ) plus some PB15:3 which seems to get it to be a more neutral gray or allow you to hit any grayed color.

I'd love a good black, but it seems like neutral tint, it's transparent and staining, that is the best option, and it's just mixing 2 other colors with black. I would wonder though if the technique Susan developed, what if a small amount of carbon black is added to that for an added kick ( instead of adding a small amount of burnt umber or the like to the lamp black )

In other words
If you have Lamp Black / PBk6 = dull black and adding PB15 is better. Which I think is all that neutral tint is.

What would happen if you took these two ideas which are similar
PR179+PG7 ( complimentary black per handprint )
or
PR179+PG7+PB15 ( darkening color per susan )

What if I added the above 3 color combo to PBk6 instead of just PB15, I bet it could hit a darker and richer and still luminous black. I only have reeves black and lunar black, so not sure if I can properly test this yet.

kaef
06-29-2014, 09:52 PM
This is just the thread I was looking for! Does anyone have suggestions for neutralizing PB27- Prussian Blue, I think, Musinni? I've tried Cad Orange but it isn't very lively. Indian Yellow, M. Graham, with a little Napthol can do the job but it gets overly red pretty quickly.
This is, let's say, using Mussini Prussian Blue in an underpainting and shifting it with glazes. Any suggestions?

budigart
06-29-2014, 10:52 PM
Yes, use Prussian and any other color, or colors necessary to bring it to the value and color you're after. Then, mix a neutral gray with about equal parts of ivory black and raw umber. Mix this neutral to the value you need for you finished hvc of prussian blue. Mix together your Prussian/mix and the neutral of the same value. Mix together enough to bring your mix to the correct hue, value and chroma.

airplanz
06-29-2014, 11:15 PM
Does anyone have suggestions for neutralizing PB27- Prussian Blue

When I first started painting in acrylics it was explained that Pthalo Blue was often used as a substitute for Prussian Blue, and that the tinting strength of either color could easily be overpowering in mixtures.

Maybe I'm oversimplifying it, but could the answer be to use less of it in any given mixture? Discovered early on that a 50/50 mix of Pthalo Blue and Cad. Yellow Lt. was practically impossible to correct to a usable green because the Pthalo was so dominating.

Found that PB plus Burnt Sienna could make a nice darkest dark but only if just a speck of Pthalo was used in the mix. Any more than that and you had a dark blue, and one that was difficult to correct to a more neutral color as well :(

Does Prussian Blue behave in a similar manner?


airplanz

kaef
06-29-2014, 11:25 PM
Thank you, budigart. I shall try this!

kaef
06-29-2014, 11:41 PM
Hi airplanz,
Pthalo blue was recommended as a replacement for Prussian Blue some time ago. It was found to be more permanent than Prussian Blue, which is, still ASTM1. I'm not sure what measurement was used for "permanence" but I'm guessing it's debatable. I love Prussian Blue. It is my go to color for underpainting. Its staining powers are non parallel and you can scrub a canvas down to the primer and still have traces of PB27. Pthalo Blue, in my opinion, is obnoxiously strong, as is Pthalo green.
My question was, essentially, if you use prussian blue as an underpainting for shadows then what is the compliment glaze you should paint over it to make it a more neutral color. Not what should be mixed with it to give a neutral. So far I've found that Indian Yellow works the best Then throw in the tiniest bit of Napthol to neutralize the greenishness. Too much Napthol and it gets red- and by too much I mean not much at all.
If you have findings that contradict or validate this, please let me know as I tend to use Prussian Blue quite a bit. In fact, it's always on my palette!
Thanks, tk

Patrick1
06-30-2014, 02:27 AM
When I first started painting in acrylics it was explained that Pthalo Blue was often used as a substitute for Prussian Blue, and that the tinting strength of either color could easily be overpowering in mixtures.
I've moved the other way around! ...at least in oils since it's not available in acrylics. My only experience with PB27 is with Artisan oils. I usually use Prussian where I would use Phthalo before:

►very strong but not quite as hellaciously-overpoweringly-strong tinting strength
►not as artifical-looking (lower chroma but still moderately high)
►extremely fast drying in oils
►Prussian Blue pigment itself is completely nontoxic, some things I've read about Phthalos are disconcerting
►my favorite reason: masstone as dark as black...it often is my 'black'

I'll only use PB 15 if/where I need the highest-chroma greenish blue possible - for the color itself or to use in mixes.

Patrick1
06-30-2014, 02:50 AM
My question was, essentially, if you use prussian blue as an underpainting for shadows then what is the compliment glaze you should paint over it to make it a more neutral color. Not what should be mixed with it to give a neutral.
I'm just guessing here because I rarely glaze, and glazing often gives different results than mixing. If you want something close to true neutral (which might or might not be what you want) I would guess a highly transparent brown or reddish-brown would work best, such as PR101, PBr25, maybe Quinacridone Burnt Orange. But it's possible something more yellowish as you've tried would get you closer to neutral. If it's too greenish, try something more reddish. If it's too reddish, try something more yellowish or greenish.

The only way to know for sure is to try various pigments. Color chart making time :angel: .

Heket
07-30-2014, 04:32 PM
My absolute favourite grey is made from mixing W&N Viridian and W&N Permanent rose watercolour, PG18 and PV19. It's quite high-key and won't make a very dark grey or black but it's so vibrant and often enough displays slight separation as the Viridian granulates. They grey itself is quite neutral.

Patrick1
07-31-2014, 10:19 AM
My absolute favourite grey is made from mixing W&N Viridian and W&N Permanent rose watercolour, PG18 and PV19. It's quite high-key and won't make a very dark grey or black but it's so vibrant and often enough displays slight separation as the Viridian granulates. They grey itself is quite neutral.
I would like to see what Viridian + PV19 does in acrylic or oil...I bet much less grey, much more black :thumbsup: .

jocko500
08-09-2014, 06:17 PM
Hi airplanz,
Pthalo blue was recommended as a replacement for Prussian Blue some time ago. It was found to be more permanent than Prussian Blue, which is, still ASTM1. I'm not sure what measurement was used for "permanence" but I'm guessing it's debatable. I love Prussian Blue. It is my go to color for underpainting. Its staining powers are non parallel and you can scrub a canvas down to the primer and still have traces of PB27. Pthalo Blue, in my opinion, is obnoxiously strong, as is Pthalo green.
My question was, essentially, if you use prussian blue as an underpainting for shadows then what is the compliment glaze you should paint over it to make it a more neutral color. Not what should be mixed with it to give a neutral. So far I've found that Indian Yellow works the best Then throw in the tiniest bit of Napthol to neutralize the greenishness. Too much Napthol and it gets red- and by too much I mean not much at all.
If you have findings that contradict or validate this, please let me know as I tend to use Prussian Blue quite a bit. In fact, it's always on my palette!
Thanks, tk

I had painted cal. light red on the canvas and then come back when the red is dry and painted pthalo blue or even prussian blue over it to make a deep dark color. I used pthalo green over the two in one case to make a very deep black/little on the green black color. :thumbsup:

if I had mix the red and blue it will not work in the same way as put red down first let dry and then put the blue down over the red. if you wish you can let a little of the red to show thought in places. then putting the green down on top the red and blue after they are dry will get an even darker color.almost black. In both cases it almost black anyway. :wave:

oh I using acrylic here

bruin70
08-12-2014, 07:35 AM
black + white + whatever

or

whatever muck is left on my palette at the end of the day. it is the most apt neutral because it combines everything i've used that day

shadoj
08-13-2014, 06:46 PM
I love leftover mud, too! When working with watercolor, I mix most of my grays/neutrals from the 3+ colors already on my "dirty" palette (I keep the wells in my main palette clean, but squirt a few duplicate colors directly onto another mixing tray for mayhem's sake). However, one quick premixed gray for me is PG7 + PV19/violet + PR255 (= non-granulating, semi-staining). I let it lean a little purple, so it mutes other colors on my palette nicely, yellow and PB27 included. I'll have to look up my granulating colors recipe...

On other days, I'm just as likely to glaze multiple layers of transparent pigments over each other until I've reached the color I want for a shadow. I'm still learning, after all - so many ways to reach lively grays!

opainter
08-14-2014, 02:08 AM
I prefer to mix my own black and neutral grays. For black I mix Ultramarine Blue (PB29) and Transparent Pyrrole Orange (PO71). A ratio of 10:1 creates a very neutral black. Then for gray I mix my black with Titanium White (PW6).

I absolutely love :heart: the black and grays I get with this mixture! :D

Patrick1
08-14-2014, 07:13 AM
For black I mix Ultramarine Blue (PB29) and Transparent Pyrrole Orange (PO71). A ratio of 10:1 creates a very neutral black.
When white is not added, that must be a luscious transparent black. And by varying the proportions you can push it a little towards brown or blue.

opainter
08-15-2014, 03:48 AM
When white is not added, that must be a luscious transparent black. And by varying the proportions you can push it a little towards brown or blue.

Yes, it is a transparent black. It's actually a little light for black (so think a very dark gray), so the contribution of another color will be pretty obvious. To make indigo, adding some Indanthrone Blue (PB60) (or would you call that "Prussian Blue (Red Shade)"? :lol: ) does the trick quite nicely.

Sorry about the nested parentheses. I am a computer programmer, so they come rather naturally for me.