View Full Version : colour mixing...

06-05-1999, 08:58 PM
if you are doing landscapes you will most likely need dark colours for some parts,

if you mix a dark green with a slightly dark purple you will get a really nice dark green for leaves or whatever.

for trees put a light wash of green(really light) for the leaves then put dark leaves over the wash after it has dried or you can do dark first then light.

09-06-1999, 12:54 AM
by dark colors, i assume you mean color in shadow... colors lose their chroma in shadow. they don't "necessarilly" turn by adding complimentary colors or other darker colors. what you'd be doing, then, is changing their chroma. example,,,many artists use alizarin crimson in shadow to a cad red. this is wrong. cad red does not turn into alizarin...it merely becomes a darker version of itself. adding colors your way will certainly make the primary color DARKER, but it will also add chroma in a shadow area that actually should be lacking in chroma,,,,no light, remember. so a better way to darken color is simple,,,,add black or a dark "neutral". and while your art teacher may have suggested against using black, black is a key tonal color in art history. all great portraitists used it, and it was the great contribution by spain to the art world( el greco, velasquez, zurburan, sorolla, goya, et al.)

Drew Davis
09-06-1999, 09:56 AM
I'd say it depends on the color of the light. Only in a pure white light will local color maintain the same chroma while turning into shadow, and pure white light is pretty rare outside of a lab. Shadow hue also depends on light reflected into the shadows from surrounding objects.

In any event, color choice is part of artistry, and the "wrong" color is sometimes the right answer.

09-06-1999, 06:09 PM
it's always better to paint how you THINK it should be rather than how it is....but that is a more advanced concept and requires keen awareness to start....milt

09-06-1999, 07:08 PM
drew,,,you're talking about reflective light. animal was talking about turning color to dark.

Drew Davis
09-07-1999, 08:22 PM
You see almost all objects via reflected light, unless they're light sources themselves. I'm not sure what you're driving at there, bruin.

My point was simply that color is not a universal constant. Eggs are not white.
The color they are depends on their environment, both light reflecting directly from the source(s) and from other objects.
Shine a red light on the egg, and they'll be red. Similarly, apples are not red, and trees are not green. So, as you move into shadow, you're not necessarily just getting a darker version of the same color. You're taking away some of the primary light, and perhaps adding light, perhaps indirect, from other sources. So merely adding black isn't going to produce the right color for a shadow, either. You're just going to have to look at the shadow and see what color it is -- or, less realistically, decide what color it ought to be. (Was there _really_ that much blue and purple in those Impressionist shadows? Maybe, but I expect that's just the Impression they wanted.)

Adding a complement is the same as adding a neutral. The small amount of complement mixes with some of the main color to form a neutral, and you can think of that neutral mixed with the main color to deaden it. Of course, you never have perfect complements, but then, you never have perfectly neutral blacks, either (which is one reason we still have several black pigments). Some complements just don't get dark enough on their own, which means you either have to risk introducing another pair of complements, or just use black in the first place. Too much of either takes all the color out of the picture, which may or may not be what you want.

I frequently see complementary splits in real life. Many mornings, I can wake up and notice my perfectly white (so my logical brain tells me) ceiling shaded from slightly reddish, near the windows, off into greens as the shadows increase. The other day, I was literally stopped in my tracks by a shadow when I thought, "My God, that's blue", when I was looking at regular gray concrete, contrasted with brightly light concrete in the afternoon sun (and with a streak of orange from the local clay).
The shadow wasn't just a darker grey, or darker orange, but was a different hue entirely. No amount of black would have gotten the paint there; you'd have to think in terms of the complement, and cross over neutral entirely.

The analogous shifts (walking around the color wheel, say from cad red light to cad red deep to alizarin) seem to have their justification in the fact that sunlight is generally yellow(ish). So, moving into shadow on a saturated color in sunlight tends (ignoring everything else) to remove yellow, which is also what happens as you move around the color wheel toward violet. It's perhaps too convenient that the values of common paint pigments also drop as you follow that sequence, which just confuses the value shift and the hue/saturation shift. Both are there, but they don't necessarily change together -- which I think was bruin's point about automatically using alizarin as the shadow for cad red; the color will get darker, but it may not get more purple, as does alizarin. It's often a reasonable choice, and often not, as well.

There's not really a one-size-fits-all trick for determining the color of a shadow. You have to look and see.

09-07-1999, 09:39 PM
You are absalutely right. I found this out by reading a book called 'Blue and Yellow dont make Green' by Michael Wilcox (you can buy it via Amazon). It explained the way that different colours bounce off each other etc.., basically what you were saying. Has anyone else ever read his book?

09-08-1999, 04:49 AM
Drew,,,I guess I explained myself poorly. I use black to turn color,,,but it is NOT the only color I use. I ALSO use whatever color the situation dictates to make image believable. HOWEVER, black IS the primary vehicle I use to turn color. Turning a color with just other colors(other than black) is cumbersome. I get from point A to point B quicker with black…. but then again I'm a tonalist,,,and using "color only" would pull an image off my canvas. Black for a colorist would probably be,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,EVIL. Black is core to my pallette,,,, I use it to turn form and color. And it is the backbone of all the figurtive artists I admire from velasquez thru to sargent.
AND...you are right in that color is NOT a universal constant. but it goes beyond what you see in real life. you may also be painting under different lighting conditions, from outdoor to northlight to cloudy greys to a controlled indoor light. and there is also the variable of personal taste. artists may see color leaning towards warm or cool. they might use any number of "mother colors". they may willingly want to change the temperature of their palette from cool blue to warm orange. so the variables in color go beyond what is there to see.
Drew,,,you have knowledge….nice talkin'……milt

[This message has been edited by bruin70 (edited 09-18-99).]

09-08-1999, 05:03 AM
drew,,,while i have you here. i noticed a post by you on brushes and how you like to buy'em in person. i'm the same. if you're comfortable with the quality of a particular manufacturer, try this. i can save a brush gone bad. i buy ph glue from david davis. that's the stuff they put on brushes to make them stiff. to revive a brush i leave it in a vegetable oil like wesson,,,it'll bring back life to it,,,then, after cleaning the oil off, i dip it in ph glue and let it set. it's water soluble......i'm sure the same can be done to new brushes gone astray...milt