View Full Version : Mud colors: can anything good come out of them?

08-07-2014, 09:31 AM
Hello, everyone!

This thread was inspired by Patrick1's thread, located here: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1356594

After he questioned the pigment load of acrylics, I wondered any harmonious composition could come from "mud" colors.

Here's my munsell-inspired palette. The difference is that I changed the notation to match my own tube paints:


The good thing about the Munsell system itself is that you can not only match colors: you can shift the gamut entirely. Here's my shifted gamut:

Lemon yellow: a "wonderful" mix of Golden's Raw Umber (PBr 7), a color with an unpleasant violet cast on its own, Raw Sienna (PY 42 + PR 101), and Titanium White (PW 6).
Middle Yellow: Raw Sienna (PY 42 + PR 101).
Orange Yellow: Same as above plus Transparent Red Iron Oxide (PR 101).
Red: Transparent Red Iron Oxide (PR 101).
Greens (not shown): different proportions of Raw Sienna (PY 42 + PR 101) and Chrome Oxide Green (PG 17)
Blues: different proportions of Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB 15:1) + Bone Black (PBk 9) + Titanium White (PW 6).
Turquoise: glazes of Raw Sienna (PY 42 + PR 101) + Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB 15:1)
Blacks: a mix of Bone Black (PBk 9) + Chrome Oxide Green (PG 17) + Raw Sienna (PY 42 + PR 101) and Bone Black (PBk 9) itself.As you can see, only my "Red" is a single pigment, and it's a dull red by itself!

Some colors go up to four pigments. Ouch! What do I paint with this?!

I wanted to study a fall landscape, so, after some careful thinking, I chose to paint this landscape:


Here's the final result. This is acrylics on gesso'ed paper, 10 cm x 16 cm (the size of a small photo).


Well, I was pretty surprised. Although the result is relatively muted, it is much higher chroma than what I expected. As there's no actual "fall" season here, I'm not experienced with fall landscapes, so I ended up shifting the trees more to orange than I should.

It's worth noticing that even though the oranges I have are relatively muted, they were actually even grayer in the original than what I actually had! I tried to desaturate them a bit with green, but it didn't work out very well with the range I had.

I think this shows that even muddy colors can paint a very bright landscape. I'll expand my notation on greens and oranges later so I can match them a little better! :)

08-07-2014, 12:40 PM
PB15:1 looks aggressive! More like colored pencil .Poisonous blue :D

08-07-2014, 01:05 PM
PB15:1 looks aggressive! More like colored pencil .Poisonous blue :D
Does it, Giga? And I didn't even use it full strength! What you see is actually a mix of student-grade Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB 15:1) + Ivory Black (PBk 9) + Titanium White (PW 6). To regain some chroma, I glazed a mix of Raw Sienna (PY 42 + PR 101) with Chrome Oxide Green (PG 17) over the river.

Imagine if I actually used artists' grade Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB 15:3) as a base!