PDA

View Full Version : Modeling form in daylight, chromatic scales etc.


bigflea
05-20-2006, 10:15 AM
Debate with Ken split off from this thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=347420).

In terms of color intensity and saturation, modeling form in daylight with a full color palette is a good way to learn. Part of the modeling problem is to recognize where the color of the form is the most intense chromatically, and most saturated, and where it actually changes toward a neutral. For example, in tree forms, the highlight areas will be paler, brighter, cooler, whiter than the adjacent half light plane areas. By making a color change between the half light and the highlight areas, and also noting the effect of the sky color reflecting across the tops of the tree forms where one sees it, you begin to control the saturation of the coloring in the light planes of the trees, or whatever other form you are studying.

In other words, saturation and chromatic intensity will change in both the light and shade planes of forms, as well as the hue character of these planes. Identifying where the saturation, if any, occurs, and where the greatest chromatic intensity is, and surrounding these with areas of greater neutrality and complexity of color mixture is a step toward controlling the saturation you are describing. For example, shade areas can be very rich neutral mixtures. That is, they are not simply dark brown or grey neutral, but specific hue relationships that have a common chromatic intensity to the mass of shade. Value is a part of that chromatic relationship.

Some of Schmid's color mixtures for shade and for ground planes are somber colorings, which is a particular kind of neutral color, that is not drab or leaden, but has a richness in it . When the range of somber coloring is found, it is then possible to control the saturation and intensity of areas by surrounding them with somber notes of color that limit the actual size and placement of purer notes. Earth color pigments are important in the way Schmid controls the intensity of purer areas of color.
Ken

FriendCarol
05-20-2006, 05:30 PM
shade areas can be very rich neutral mixtures. That is, they are not simply dark brown or grey neutral, but specific hue relationships that have a common chromatic intensity to the mass of shade.Um, rich neutral translates (for me) to 'rich gray,' perhaps an overall gray but as mixed on the support, not on the palette... If we're speaking of near-neutrals, there might be a definite hue (bluish gray, greenish gray, reddish gray, etc.). But it could not possibly be intense, chromatically speaking. Could you give specific example of shade area, pointing to the various areas, so I can follow you here?Value is a part of that chromatic relationship.:confused: Value, hue, and chroma are three aspects of color. These dimensions are independent, even though a particular hue may be necessarily light -- just as height and weight are independent measurements even though shorter people tend to weigh less than taller ones... So, even if I knew what 'chromatic relationship' you meant, I'm not sure this makes any sense to me.

bigflea
05-20-2006, 08:23 PM
FriendCarol,
Although analytically thinking we can separate value from chroma and hue, (or we can use a medium like charcoal to also separate value from hue and chroma,) in painting,( and in seeing in nature) the actual notes of color contain all three aspects simultaneously. We use an analytical approach to try to solve the color relationship problem, but in the final statement of color, the note itself is not just a value, hue, or chromatic statement, but all three. At times we may have to sacrifice some of one to attain some of the other, just as we may have to sacrifice some of the form to attain a light key, or vice versa, sacrifice some of the light quality to attain a form. So my point is, that for painters like myself who have alot of experience in mixing, the separation of value, hue, and chroma is not a realistic concept for solving the problem. The notes I make and the notes I see are hue, value, and chroma together, and not idealized conceptions of values. If I were a value painter like Corot eg., who really had little experience and understanding of chromatic color relationships, then I would probably think in the value terms that you designate as a separate component. But to me, the analytic conception, while helpful for beginning color study or for someone who is aiming for a scientific understanding, is not how the visual problem is actually solved. Someone like yourself may need to rely on the concept of value in order analyze color, but that does not mean everyone else has to separate the chroma, hue, and value quality in order to make the necessary color notes. In color painting chromatic relationships are more important than value alone, in terms of solving the colorist problem of describing form in a particular light key. Painters who are not concerned with light keys do not approach color as a chromatic scale in the way a colorist has to, imo.

Yes neutral can be thought of as grey. But if you re read my comment, I was making the point that lead color neutrals, or greys, are not the solution to the chromatic relationships in nature in most cases. That is, the neutrals we actually see, and mix, are colored neutrals. I would not expect you to understand this unless you actually see it in nature. The main reason for this is that light is colored, and forms, even in the dead of winter, have coloring, which when observed for the light effect, take on hue qualities other than the local object color. If one had the vision of Corot, then it would be possible to honestly paint nothing but lead grey and brown tones everywhere, with some sap green thrown in, and be happy with the results. But that is not what I see, and not what ought to be present in strong sunlight conditions. So the concept of neutral as grey, while useful, is also misleading because it does not address the hue and chromatic quality of most shade areas that I see. Iow, while you insist on thinking of neutrals as grey, I think of them differently, and with far more hue characteristic, because that is what is present visually in most light conditions. Had I little experience in painting from nature, I would probably insist on them being grey as you do, but then, nature shows us things that are far more interesting then our conceptions usually are, imo. When seeing and mixing shade notes in nature that approach neutral, rarely, if ever, does the impression of grey ever enter my mind, and what I see are more exquisite and subtle hue relationships.

I did not say shade areas are chromatically intense. I said that the mass note of a shade area determines the chromatic intensity of any variations within it. Entirely different thought. You are misreading the statement, imo. My point was that whatever hue variations we can see within a larger mass shade note have to fall into the chromatic scale or range the mass note occupies visually. The problem of saturation mentioned in the thread is partly solved by paying attention to the chromatic scale of the mass notes, which limit the intensities of hues within them.
Ken

FriendCarol
05-20-2006, 09:20 PM
My point was that whatever hue variations we can see within a larger mass shade note have to fall into the chromatic scale or range the mass note occupies visually.Ken, I am a colorist myself, and cannot even see value apart from color. I do, however, use the terms chroma/intensity, value, and hue correctly (according to the WC! Glossary, that is). So I was asking what on earth you meant, since your prior statement appeared to confuse these terms.

Now I will ask what your new restatement (if it is a restatement :confused: ) means. Can you post a painting, then explain what, in that painting, represents "mass shade note," what "chromatic scale," what "mass note" (assuming that's not the same as "mass shade note").

If you use nonstandard terms without defining them, surely you expect people to ask you what you mean? I cannot follow your statements in this thread, so I am asking for visual examples of what you mean by these terms.

FriendCarol
05-20-2006, 09:25 PM
The problem of saturation mentioned in the thread is partly solved by paying attention to the chromatic scale of the mass notes, which limit the intensities of hues within them. You say 'saturation,' which has to do with chroma. Then "chromatic scale of mass notes" -- what is that? What are mass notes, and what is a chromatic scale of them?

Then you refer to intensities of hues... but chroma is intensity of color. Now, I know each hue has a potential maximum chroma, and each pigment has a maximum potential of chroma, too. So by 'intensities of hues,' you mean...? The chromatic potential of that particular hue (as light), or the various pigment mixtures that could produce that color? :confused:

bigflea
05-20-2006, 11:21 PM
FriendCarol,
To me, a chromatic scale is similar to the concept of a value scale. It is simply the range of intensities of colors of the major masses of light and shade, and the variations in the light and shade masses. It contains the value but also the hue differences between the light and shade masses. It is different than a value scale in the way a chromatic range may move through an imaginary color sphere in what seems a random way. If I think of a value scale, it is simply a linear progression from dark to light. A chromatic scale has more curves and wiggles. (I am not trying to give a scientific presentation, but am hoping to describe a way to visualize color relationships from a pragmatic point of view. )There seem to be patterns to the chromatic scale of color in every light key or condition, but the pattern of how different hue families repeat varies from one key to another. To me it seems to be the main problem a colorist, trying to model form in a light key, has to understand. In a single form, the painter can ascertain a chromatic scale, and there is also the problem of the whole composition, and its underlying chromatic range. For example, a bright sunlit day will have a particular chromatic scale, in which the local coloring of forms is less pronounced than on some grey day keys, where the local color of forms will be visually richer in the key overall. In the chromatic scale it is possible to establish the particular richness of light and shade planes which will give a visual sense of the light key , or the kind of light condition.

Mass notes are those largest compositional divisions of light from shade. Perhaps you do not think or conceive of composition in this way? A large area of sunlight may contain several different forms, and so a mass note does not refer to a single form necessarily, but to the compositional division the painting makes of light from shade. A mass shade note is the same idea, but is shade.

Intensity of hues in this statement is refering to the recognition of hue variations in the mass (of shade). If a painter can recognize hue differences in the modeling of the form, in either the sunlit or shaded masses, the intensity of those hues is limited (somewhat) by the overall intensity of the mass in which they are seen. If a large mass of shade is very deep in color overall, the color variations within it cannot be made with saturated hues. However the colorist still has the problem (should they choose to accept it) of making distinctions of hue but with a particular chromatic range or limitation ( to model form).
Ken

FriendCarol
05-20-2006, 11:35 PM
Okay, this time I'll let my sig line show... Notice I have been outside recently, done about 6 plein air pieces (not all posted) in the past couple months. Now, you may see (in the originals, anyway -- not sure it comes through on the scans or these thumbnails!) that I use a very wide variety of greens. There are the near greens, both light and shade, and the further greens, both light and shade. There are greens for the pines, and greens for non-identifiable distant foliage. So what is the chromatic scale in these images? Does it run from my lightest yellow-greens to the deepest blue-greens/blacks? Or does it run from the light to dark greens of a particular grouping of foliage (the middle-distance trees, perhaps)?

I still don't understand what you're talking about. Can't you tie your words to examples so we can follow?

bigflea
05-21-2006, 02:16 PM
FriendCarol,
Hard to see much in the thumbnails of the sigline. Could you post a jpg. of one that you feel is color full?

It seems like your question is worded as a value scale question. Or, you want to know if the chromatic "scale" is from one light to one dark.

The way I look at the color problem in nature, out painting, is that the chromatic choices I have before me, and mixtures I choose, include the value statement, but are more than a statement of light/dark.

So the range of chroma is from the brightest, lightest, whitest area to the dullest, darkest, most neutral area. That is one way of stating it, but not necessarily the only way of describing what is going on with the color qualities. For example, deep shade may be rich in coloring, but not bright, so the term "dull" may not be descriptive a deep color area. But it may be descriptive of a flat receding ground plane color in full sunlight. Dirt may have an overall dull look by comparison to other vertical planes with local colorings that reflect more variety of light effects. So my point is simply not to get sidetracked by the wording used to describe a color problem.

For another example, a "bright" color area may not be rich in color. That is the coloring is not saturated, but often very subtle. A highlight on a form may be near white, with pale hues of the sky color around it, and in terms of chroma represent one end of the chromatic range of color relationships for that form.

I feel that to understand the chromatic problem it has to be studied as one that also includes hue variety. If a painting has tones of grey in it, or no hue variety, or is monochromatic ( like most of Corot's works), the chromatic scale is far more limited than one which has a full spectral color character within it. A painter like R. Schmid, using a full color palette, is dealing with a far ranging chromatic scale, as is present in daylight key situations.The greater hue variety the painter can see present in the masses of light and shade, the greater the chromatic problem is, since all the variations of hues have to be related to one another through the chromatic position of the mass note in which they are seen. Argb called that problem " getting the color to lay down". To me, it is a chromatic relationship problem, where the range of color intensity has to be controlled without losing the hue variation of the form modeling.
Ken

bigflea
05-21-2006, 05:58 PM
FriendCarol,
PS also would you evaluate the chromatic quality of the image you post. Your earlier comments make it clear that you feel you have the correct understanding of chroma and that would help me understand what you view as correct.

One footnote to the preceding: the chromatic range going from lightest, brightest, whitest to dullest, deepest, darkest includes areas that are of greater saturation than others, colors with greater purity. These visually, or compositionally, may reside in either the light or shade masses, or both.
Ken

Donna A
05-22-2006, 08:54 PM
Gee, Ken----sounds like you are looking at color in a far more complex way than I find of use---and ease!

I see color made up of four color characteristics----Hue (as in the general families of colors found in "a modified rainbow"=red-orange-yellow-green-blue-violet,) Temperature-within-the-Hue (warm or cool,) Value (what we would see in a black-to-white photo,) and then Intensity or Chroma or Saturation or Purity.

Simple, straight-forward, easy to relate to other colors and their qualities, etc!!! Works for me so beautifully! Works for the artists who study with me so perfectly! The paintings they are doing! Wow!!!

And Carol, I do see Hue soooo separate from Hue. Look at a B/W photo. Where is the issue of Hue???? In a B/W----it jest don't exist! :-) So I guess on that ground, it makes it easier for me to separate Hue and Value.

Value seems very independant of Hue to me, as does Intensity. Temperature-within-the-Hue is something I use constantly and it serves me extremely well!!! As do other artists. I know there are many who do not think that aspect of color is important----or even a "thing" but it is invaluable. I never want to begin a painting without understanding the color(s) of the light source(s) because then I can know better the influences upon the subject! These are all things I went into in great detail and live illustration on my Mastering Color DVDs and share in my painting classes as well. The artists do amazingly wonderful paintings! They all marvel at what everyone is doing---and it is, for the most part, professional level!

But, still----in the long run----if your way of seeing and organizing color works for your powerfully and with luscious ease----that is all that is important! I love being able to thoroughly understand the full relationships between all the colors in my paintings and sense of how to mix the colors, etc. Whatever works!!!! Donna ;-} ps---here are several images from my DVDs-----the first about Intensity related to Value. Two warmer reds, one extremely high Intensity, the other very low Intensity! And both near the same Value! We do often get thrown off about Value by varying Intensities!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-May-2006/77048-AE-Vol_2_-RED-Hi:LowIntens+b:w.jpg

Then this image of various greens in a still life set up. I took a photo of it at night in the classroom studio with only a red light bulb. Fascianting how that came out. There are certainly different intensities in this image----but---most of the world we live in is medium to low intensity. We really do have to work at lowering the Intensity----the base of this thread.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-May-2006/77048-Green-Still-Life-cover.jpg

I see 3 ways of lowering Intensity. Adding both "next door neighbor colors," adding a gray or adding the compliment. We have to experiement to see what works best in given siturations. Experience. Anyone who believes there is one way to ---- ANYTHING ---- LOL. Sometimes, adding the compliment is the ugliest, most unfortuante thing we can do. Sometimes it is perfect!!! How do we know when??? Experiment!

Last image is a chart of the "local color" (so to speak) of each Hue. Many do not consider this factor, but it is sooo useful to be aware of! Any time we have a really dark Yellow, by necessity, it is not fully saturated. And any time we have a lighter violet----it is not fully saturated. And so on. There are important issues to consider and make use of.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-May-2006/77048-Chart-Rel.Value_of_Hues.jpg

I also uploaded a couple of pdf files. Mixing Colors goes into some things about SEEing and mixing color and the last, a sheet on seeing Contrasts and using them. The contrasts in Intensity are valuable, as are the other Color Characteristics!

As far as other issues of Intensity----I wish you were here. We'd talk! :-)

Oh, the lovely things within color! May you all see and relish them! Donna ;-}

FriendCarol
05-22-2006, 09:25 PM
Hi, Donna -- great to see you here again! (This forum's been quiet recently... too quiet. :lol: )

It isn't that I don't 'know' what value is. It's just that my perception of color is fine, but my perception of value is only what I can see intrinsic in the color. Recently someone -- Robert Genn -- mentioned scientists have discovered these perceptual qualities (hue and chroma, value) are actually processed in different parts of the brain! Well, my value-processing area of the brain apparently didn't get the right early exposure. :lol:

Even holding up a gray scale with holes in it, I simply can't match a color to a gray. If you reduce it to black, gray, and white, I can get closer... :p But I can match the colors themselves -- mix appropriately, I mean. Within a color -- that holistic impression of hue/value/chroma -- I can say 'this is deeper valued, this is lighter.' So it doesn't matter. <shrug>

Ken, I am sure I scanned my current wip, but can't find the image. The ones in my sig line were all posted in the Plein Air forum, though, so just pick one. I'll look up the URL and copy the image here for us to use as an example in your explanation of chromatic scales.

FriendCarol
05-22-2006, 09:32 PM
P.S. Donna, I love that photo! The red light explains why there's so much red in it: on the side of the pear (top), the side of the apple (especially the leftmost, but the right sides of all of them), inside and at the sides of the jug, the side of the folds of the cloth...! Not to mention the shadows (on the table, and the 'white' cloth). :)

bigflea
05-22-2006, 10:50 PM
Hi Donna,
The way I analyze color is pretty simple. First, what is the dominant hue quality that I see by comparison of light plane masses to shade plane masses and light planes/shade planes to light planes/shade planes. I look for the major differences thenfor their similarities. Second, I try to assess the chromatic differences of each area. Where are the purest color areas, the dullest, the deepest, the richest, the most pale; where is the color truely saturated (if any area is)as a yellow, orange, red, violet, blue, green, and so on, what are the hue differences between the areas that are neutrals, or complex color mixtures. If I see something that is truely a lead grey, (like a paynes grey) I will paint it that way, but generally that is the exception to what is present in daylight. IOW neutrals fall into hue divisions, though all could be characterized as a neutral color. Generally, I make the value assessment as I make the chromatic assessment, since the darkness or lightness of a color is part of the chromatic character, not something that is separate from the color note I am mixing. I do not make mixtures darker by adding paynes grey or black to mixtures, but mix darks according to how they register visually as a hue of a particular intensity. The mass note of shade or light plane is the guide to the intensity of any hue variation within it as stated previously.

Argb's post was about the unsatisfactory chromatic quality of mixing grey into color mixtures to control the intensity, and about the problem of saturation. My posts have been about the way that problem can be studied without sacrificing the chromatic quality of the relationships the painter sees. When you darken a mixture of pigments with a darkening agent like black or paynes grey, you achieve the value reduction but you lose the chromatic character of the particular mixture. Or if you substitute a grey for a hue, assuming that if the values are the same the effect is the same, you get a different chromatic quality.

I am making the point that in mixing pigments, hue, value, and chroma are all stated together, not as separate things that add up to another thing. In our mind, for analysis, we separate them, but in nature, and on the painting, they are one note of color stating the hue,value, and chroma. For beginning painters it is often necessary to analyze value or hue or chroma as if they do not exist together as a particular note. But painters like R.Schmid are not stopping their mixing in order to do a careful value scale. They are seeing, and mixing, seeing and mixing, and in each hue, the value and chromatic intensity is stated.

FriendCarol, why don't you pick one since you know what they look like.Then explain to me what the chromatic quality or character of your work is.

PS, Donna, ofcourse the "temperature" of color is a way to divide one color from another, and one area of a form from another. Temperature, or warm/cool distinction has been around for over 500 years, that I know of, as a means to get more form across a flat surface, by making a distinction between warm light plane areas and cooler shade areas. However the distinction is a generalization that is often misleading, imo. Warm sunlight produces warm shade, but also cool shade. Cool sunlight (can there be such a thing) produces cool shade but also warm shade notes. In outdoor daylight painting, the sky light produces a cooling effect, which may be most prominant in those planes of forms that are facing away from the direct light source and somewhat toward the sky (shade). Reflecting light from ground planes and warm local colors can also alter the quality of shade and sunlight masses, by changing the hue quality, and the intensity of a particular coloring. So I agree with your thought that temperature is part of the way a color relationship can be established and analyzed, but also think the warm/cool concept should not be turned into a formula. Temperature is part of the chromatic intensity problem, and a painter has to assess the particular situation, without assuming that a formula of warm/cool contrasts is the best solution for light/shade contrasts.
Ken

bigflea
05-22-2006, 11:26 PM
Donna,
Have to disagree with your general assessment that "we have to work at lowering the intensity." Not sure what your experience here is, but in general, the problem of color intensity is not solved, imo, by a general lowering of intensities. This approach may work for interior color design, but in the problem of painting forms in daylight keys, painters need to study the chromatic intensity of keys for their specific differences. Coloring in sunlight can be rich and low in key, but also subtle and high in key intensity. I would never recommend a general lowering of intensity until a painter has the ability to recognize how local colors are changed in different light keys, and why one key is different in intensity from another key. Ofcourse many if not most painters do not recognize the existence of light keys, except in the most extreme comparisons.

A low intensity key , eg., could be interior indirect lighting in which no direct light is entering the composition. By comparison to that, a painter has to raise the chromatic intensity (of coloring) to describe the chromatic quality of bright outdoor light on the same subject. A bright outdoor light will alter the chromatic intensity by making many colors less saturated (as local colors) and introducing entirely new colorings which are not inherent in the local color.This is why I recommend painters study a composition in several different light key situations, and learn how to color model the forms for the particular key. The chromatic intensity of light varies from one key to the next, and controlling the range of intensity is part of the color mixing problem.

Many painters generally paint in a very low and dull intensity range. Someone without a good visual sense of intensity and purity of color needs to raise the intensity in order to learn what the possibilities are. Another painter may use pure pigments everywhere, and perhaps have no sense at all of how the chromatic pitch of hues varies across the composition they are supposedly painting. They may need to lower intensity in one family of hues, but not another.
So, the concept of generally lowering intensity is not applicable to many. Ofcourse it is one of the questions posed by this thread. I feel there is a need for less generalizing about the use of color, in order to address the problem of chromatic relationships for painting.
Ken

Einion
05-23-2006, 01:15 PM
Part of the modeling problem is to recognize where the color of the form is the most intense chromatically, and most saturated, and where it actually changes toward a neutral.
This sounds good to me, but could you show some examples of where you've used neutrals and played them against such saturated areas?

So we're clear here: a neutral to me is something close to actually being grey, not partway along the road to it but most of the way there. For those of a technical bent this is in practice something along the lines of a saturation of 20% or less (depends on value how easily hue can be seen, for some values as low as 7% isn't too difficult).

For example, in tree forms, the highlight areas will be paler, brighter, cooler, whiter than the adjacent half light plane areas.
In sunlight they would usually be paler and warmer (as far as those that use that terminology would classify it).

In other words, saturation and chromatic intensity...
Achem, surely saturation IS chromatic intensity?

Identifying where the saturation, if any...
If any? :D

For example, shade areas can be very rich neutral mixtures. That is, they are not simply dark brown...
Achem, brown is a "rich neutral" surely?

...as well as the hue character of these planes.
Why not just say the hue if you mean hue? If you mean colour (i.e. a given hue at a certain value and chroma) then just say colour. It's putting things in this sort of way that leads to confusion and needless debate on terminology when we could be focussing on the issue itself. You'll forgive me but given that you've been asked this dozens of times before, by me and others so if you could please make an effort when posting answers to other people's questions to use wording that there's a chance will be understood as you mean it.

Argb's post was about the unsatisfactory chromatic quality of mixing grey into color mixtures to control the intensity, and about the problem of saturation.
The problem was indeed about saturation, not some woolly 'unsatisfactory chromatic quality' ;) the exact words were "I always end up just graying the colors out a little too much" so there's little doubt about exactly what was meant.

I am making the point that in mixing pigments, hue, value, and chroma are all stated together, not as separate things that add up to another thing.
That's not exactly the case always. Some people mix in different ways, depending on their palette and experience to name two reasons. If you're using a palette that consists entirely of high-chroma paints then you'll often mix for hue, then adjust chroma and value as necessary, e.g. Cad Red + Cad Yellow to get orange, add a mixing complement such as French Ultramarine, then mix in a touch of white to get the right value.

But painters like R.Schmid are not stopping their mixing in order to do a careful value scale. They are seeing, and mixing, seeing and mixing, and in each hue, the value and chromatic intensity is stated.
Yes that's true but it's true of almost all experienced artists, but it's of no value whatsoever to the student or developing artist so we have to break down the process a bit when explaining things.

Einion

tk04
05-24-2006, 04:54 AM
At least for some colors, chrome and value-changes mean hue-changes. Ken's approach make sense because it's true that you can't always discern hue, temperature, value and chroma in the same spot of color - because it works at the same time. Braking down categories are useful if you try to analyze something, but a certain spot of paint might represent different things at the same time.

I just realized that, while writing this, that color notes might be a useful term.

bigflea
05-24-2006, 09:00 AM
Einion,
You are right that brown is a rich neutral color. I mix it myself, or use earth pigments where they seem to be present. However the word is not very descriptive in terms of color modeling, because it covers a wide range of possible hue combinations, similar to the generic term grey. The beginning painter may not notice the hue differences between what could be lumped together as grey or brown neutrals. But making actual recognizable hue distinctions between the hue quality of neutrals, is part of the color modeling problem, in strong daylight especially. I use the term hue character or hue quality because of the fact that the hue itself is difficult to discern, and a painter, in thinking of hue, may be thinking in terms of greater saturation, such as the color of paint coming out of the tubes. So it is simply a way for me to suggest that the hue difference between neutral colorings is a qualitative difference, not easily discerned.

I would question your assessment of neutrals as qualified by being seen as a grey. Paynes grey is a neutral. On occasion I have seen dark shade areas that I would attempt to describe with a paynes grey. However generally I find, in the actual painting study situation, that the hue difference between neutrals changes the quality of the color from a true grey, like paynes, to what I have been calling a colored neutral.

Granted you are probably right that most people would not see that hue quality as anything but a value of grey.

I find a true, dead, lead grey neutral to be the exception rather than the rule in the coloring of neutrals in most outdoor daylight painting situations. So I would disagree with the majority, as usual.

Tk04,
I find the term color notes useful where a painter is composing a relationship of specific color changes to create a form in a particular lighting. It may be a meaningless term where paint is used in an entirely random way to create an effect of texture or other non form effect.

In the former usage it is similar to an arrangement of notes in music that composes a particular melody. If the notes are changed, you get a different composition.


Ken

Donna A
05-24-2006, 07:35 PM
Einion,
You are right that brown is a rich neutral color.

On the other hand, Ken and Einion, I see and understand brown as a dark, medium-to-low-intensity orange----or could often be a dark, mid-to-low intensity red or yellow, as well (the latter, a raw sienna, for example.) Much cleaner, more direct way of working with the color! Let's compliments be set up far more easily, as well as other color relationships.

And then we have color names like cherise and puce and mauve and teal and chartruese----and we all have general ideas of what these colors are---but I go for a "modified" rainbow or prism break-up of color for hue. Just add the Indigo and Blue together for 6 rather than 7. Works for me. :-)

I mix it myself, or use earth pigments where they seem to be present. However the word is not very descriptive in terms of color modeling, because it covers a wide range of possible hue combinations, similar to the generic term grey. The beginning painter may not notice the hue differences between what could be lumped together as grey or brown neutrals. But making actual recognizable hue distinctions between the hue quality of neutrals, is part of the color modeling problem,

Naw. Piece of cake! Well, after a while. We pretty much all need to develop our Seeing! And if we "sort it out" in workable terms, there are lovely ways to accomplish this, usually with a quite nice ease.

in strong daylight especially. I use the term hue character or hue quality because of the fact that the hue itself is difficult to discern,

Perhaps if we had 50 million hues. I find using 6 hues utterly elegant and satisfying and extremely useful. Works beautifully. With the other 3 color qualities I make use of, I can reach a particular color easily. Thankfully! :-)

and a painter, in thinking of hue, may be thinking in terms of greater saturation, such as the color of paint coming out of the tubes. So it is simply a way for me to suggest that the hue difference between neutral colorings is a qualitative difference, not easily discerned.

This sounds like you are talking about Intensity/Chroma/Saturation/Purity rather than Hue. Two ever-so-different animals----well----let's say different parts of one animal! How can you change Hue by simply thudding a very pure Gray into a mix of Red----and call it a different Hue???? Same Hue---lower Intensity.

I would question your assessment of neutrals as qualified by being seen as a grey. Paynes grey is a neutral. On occasion I have seen dark shade areas that I would attempt to describe with a paynes grey. However generally I find, in the actual painting study situation, that the hue difference between neutrals changes the quality of the color from a true grey, like paynes, to what I have been calling a colored neutral.

Granted you are probably right that most people would not see that hue quality as anything but a value of grey.

There are warm grays and cool grays (Payne's Gray very bluish) and reddish-grays and greenish-grays and blue-grays, etc. What you are suggesting seems to me like a paintfully difficult way of sensing and thinking about color.

I find a true, dead, lead grey neutral to be the exception rather than the rule in the coloring of neutrals in most outdoor daylight painting situations. So I would disagree with the majority, as usual.

Tk04,
I find the term color notes useful where a painter is composing a relationship of specific color changes to create a form in a particular lighting. It may be a meaningless term where paint is used in an entirely random way to create an effect of texture or other non form effect.

In the former usage it is similar to an arrangement of notes in music that composes a particular melody. If the notes are changed, you get a different composition.

Ken

I certainly agree with you that "if the notes are changed, you get a different (let me add) relationship composition.

What has been so extremely useful for me----and for soooo many others who are doing some magnificent pro-level or approaching-pro-level works is sensing and thinking about color as Hue, Temperature-within-the-Hue, Value and Intensity. All work in unision as qualities of a given color. I know there has been a lot of discussion about Temp-within-Hues, but it is a magnificent asset. Those who don't see it and use it, fine with me. I just want to nail a color exactly when I want to nail a color exactly----and I can by seeing any color in this way. The understandings about the RELATIONSHIPS between colors is a blessing, which we can bring out of the H-T-V-I. I'm thankful for having come to understand color this way since I am a fervent colorist. Hey----whatever works for each of us! For those who have not ventured into seeing color in this way, ya might like it. And then you might just decide to not even consider it. Doesn't change my paintings so works for me. But----there are opportunities. :-)

OK----enuf. Oh---hey, I'll just upload the mixing color pdf file for anyone who wants to take a look.

And then----as far as modeling form in daylight-----I would NEVER NEVER begin a painting without considering the color of the light source(s). Never. It plays such a huge part in the colors----the sides receiveing light and the cast shadows and form shadows. What a blessing for understanding what colors to "nudge" or just plain "push" the colors we are mixing. Ok---here is the pdf about different colors of various light sources, too.

Very best wishes to everyone in finding ways of seeing and using color that work for you!!!! As long as it provides us ease and consistancy and satisfaction, that's all we need!!! Take good care! Donna ;-}

bigflea
05-25-2006, 01:14 AM
Donna,
In other words, the term "brown" is not a very descriptive one. That seems to me to be the summation of your commentary about the possible ways you would interpret the term, as a hue.

In terms of cake, I have not seen anything be a piece of it, except for gross generalizations ( in mixtures)about color. Alot of happiness may be derived in the making of these, but not necessarily any real descriptive meaning. Especially for beginning painters, there is a great deal of difficulty in learning how to interpret their visual experience in pigments. Even beginning painters who have a real insight or talent with color have difficulty controlling the mixtures to express what they see. So, I long ago abandoned the notion that anything is a piece of cake in painting. Except for meaningless things that are generalized darks or lights, or saturated local colors that do not show chromatic and hue differences between light keys.

Hues are generally understood as the major families of primary and secondary colors, or the spectral colors, or other pigment mixtures that visually fall into one of those categories rather easily, or obviously, to everyone, In this particular debate about colored neutrals, the point is being made that these can be distinguished by hue differences, but that these are not saturated as hues that anyone would recognize except by its contrast comparison to an adjacent neutral of a different hue. This is where the human eye can distinquish several million hue and color differences, but only by direct comparison. Ofcourse, no one is using more than a few hundred, or a few thousand, but the point is that the context of colored neutrals together allows your eye to distinguish the hue, and whatever slight chromatic differences, that may exist in a dark shade or light plane mass.

You may be content to use 6 hues, but alot of painters prefer to use several different pigments for each hue. My palette may contain 3 to 4 different yellows, reds, greens, blues, oranges, etc., because I find it allows me to really expand the subtle differences in pigment mixtures by having these varieties of pigment at hand. If I did not see these differences in the composition, I do not load the pigment on the palette, so it is really using variety of pigments in order to address what I see as the color problem to be solved. And I like to experiment with different pigment mixtures to see what differences and similarities can be produced by variable mixtures.

Color modeling is a study of the color of the light source, and the atmospheric conditions through which the light source is filtered, and the effect these have on the local colors of all forms in it. So I do not get your point about the distinction between knowing the color of the light source before modeling a form. Perhaps you do not understand what I meant by color modeling of form in the light key? The entire point of such an exercise is to specifically describe the coloring of the light source as it seen in the forms present in the composition.

Color modeling of form in the light key is a means for a painter to broaden their perceptual recognition of the differences between light conditions, such as morning sunlight and afternoon sunlight, and their ability to mix pigments to describe their perception, by studying the color relationships of form planes and spatial (recessional) planes. It is learning to recognize and mix in atmospheric perspective . So to me your comment about the difference between that and knowing the color of the light source is a non sequitor.

The question of " what is neutral" is being debated here with Einion. My point was that dead, or absolute neutrals, such as a paynes grey, are , in daylight painting situations, more the exception than the general qualitative rule, Einion is making the point that neutrals are qualified by being absolute neutrals such as paynes grey (my interpretation). As soon as you add "reddish grey" into the equation, you do not have the qualifying quality for an absoluty neutral. What I am saying is that in painting in nature we have alot of color that may not fall into the pure theoretical conception of neutrals, but are neutrals none the less because we have to determine their hue differences by comparing them to each other. And, out of the context of the composition, they would appear as some indeterminant neutral, or unsaturated color.
Ken

Einion
05-25-2006, 11:02 AM
I use the term hue character or hue quality because of the fact that the hue itself is difficult to discern, and a painter, in thinking of hue, may be thinking in terms of greater saturation, such as the color of paint coming out of the tubes. So it is simply a way for me to suggest that the hue difference between neutral colorings is a qualitative difference, not easily discerned.
Then why not just say "the hue is not easily discerned"?! Doesn't that make more sense than using an idiosyncratic term (without further explanation until prompted) that other people, who don't have the same background, can't be sure they're interpreting accurately?

There are expressions that my brother and sister and I use among ourselves that have been arrived at from years of mutual experience and some of them have become so abbreviated that nobody who doesn't know us well would have the least clue what we were talking about, so I'm hardly going to use any of those phrases here and expect to be understood by anyone am I? The person or persons in a thread that you're actually talking to are usually people who have long experience thinking about and discussing art with other artists, if we're having trouble understanding what you're saying what chance does the novice or learning reader have?

I would question your assessment of neutrals as qualified by being seen as a grey.
Your original comment was, "where it actually changes toward a neutral". In reply I said, "a neutral to me is something close to actually being grey". See the close to? It's generally understood among artists that 'a neutral' or 'neutrals' are not pure greys but something with a clearly-discernable hue; if I'd meant a perfect neutral or grey I would have said so.

Paynes grey is a neutral.... a true grey, like paynes...
Paynes Grey paints are usually a very dark blue-grey/grey-blue, not even close to being actually neutral.

Granted you are probably right that most people would not see that hue quality as anything but a value of grey.
I didn't say that or imply it. Shadows on any coloured object, or cast onto any coloured surface, are not usually grey. They may be greyish but that's a different kettle of fish altogether :)

I find a true, dead, lead grey neutral to be the exception rather than the rule in the coloring of neutrals in most outdoor daylight painting situations. So I would disagree with the majority, as usual.
Actually I can't think of a single painter that uses neutral greys as shadow colours so you're not alone here, what is significant is just how close to neutral one does mean.

What I'm trying to get clear on is what you mean by neutral, which some of your comments here hinge on so I'll repeat my request, could you show some examples of where you've used neutrals and played them against such saturated areas? This would allow other readers to judge your comments/advice in context.

Einion

Einion
05-25-2006, 11:05 AM
On the other hand, Ken and Einion, I see and understand brown as a dark, medium-to-low-intensity orange... Much cleaner, more direct way of working with the color!
That's exactly how I think of browns Donna, I was making the point about the use of terminology, hence the quotes ;)

Neutrals for me have to be much closer to grey than anything I would even remotely call brown; which is why there can be brownish greys, about halfway between the two.

----or could often be a dark, mid-to-low intensity red or yellow, as well (the latter, a raw sienna, for example.)
"Brown" spans the hues from orange-yellow (deep yellow) through to scarlet. Once you get to something truly red, low-chroma versions are not described as brown; by English speakers at least. To put it another way, not all earths are brown :)

This sounds like you are talking about Intensity/Chroma/Saturation/Purity rather than Hue. Two ever-so-different animals----well----let's say different parts of one animal! How can you change Hue by simply thudding a very pure Gray into a mix of Red----and call it a different Hue???? Same Hue---lower Intensity.
Good point but in paint you do sometimes see hue changes when grey is used to lower chroma; with oranges and yellows being the obvious cases. However the same is true when using mixing complements too very often, since most of us don't have palettes built around exact mixing pairs, so it's not the great issue it can be made out to be.


However the word is not very descriptive in terms of color modeling, because it covers a wide range of possible hue combinations...
"...wide range of possible colours..."

...similar to the generic term grey.
Similar to the generic term neutral too ;)

In other words, the term "brown" is not a very descriptive one.
Which is why it's rarely used unmodified or to mean something specific.

That seems to me to be the summation of your commentary about the possible ways you would interpret the term, as a hue.
As a colour Ken, c o l o u r!

Einion

gunzorro
05-25-2006, 01:36 PM
Although I like the subject very much, it is coming across as so much blah-blah-blah, since it is without adequete illustrations for the points being made.
And Einion has a good point -- don't use words that are not part of the normal vernacular of the subject -- this simply confuses further an already convoluted technical discussion.

Donna A
05-25-2006, 02:57 PM
Donna,
In other words, the term "brown" is not a very descriptive one. That seems to me to be the summation of your commentary about the possible ways you would interpret the term, as a hue.

Exactly, Ken. Brown is an extremely inclusive, broad term that suggests a usually-medium-dark to dark, mid-to-lower intensity red, orange or yellow. I can around my studio, living and dinning room right now and see sooooo many different things that the "civilian" would call brown and come up with a huge number of different "browns." Yes, not very descriptive. If I were talking about the color of a jacket or carpet with a friend who is not a serious artist, I would use bown to describe generally what we see as brown in a Kindergarten crayola box----ya know----the color a whole lot of people automatically paint tree trunks. (Yikes!) (though did see and paint some amazing pines outside of Seattle with rich, deep orange trunks when visiting there.) But----if I'm deciding what color to paint that deep, wonderful mahogany dinning table or that rich, delicious oak chest, I would look for the actual Hue---the color family (of 6) that the table or chest belonged to, then consider whether it leans more toward the warm side or the cool side of that hue, and then consider the value and then the intensity. Boy, can I get particular!!!

In terms of cake, I have not seen anything be a piece of it, except for gross generalizations ( in mixtures)about color.

Hmmmmmm?

Alot of happiness may be derived in the making of these, but not necessarily any real descriptive meaning.

Hmmmmm? Well, I can certainly think of several extremely fine professional cook friends who would be chuckling right now. You and I are probably "civilians" when it comes to fine cooking. We might just see/name cake. Well---I'd be looking at sponge cake and angelfood type cakes, etc---and then flavors like chocolate cake (YES!!!) and lemon cake and poppyseed cake, etc. There are sooo many classifications. And then there are the various ingredients---basics like the levening agent, the binding agent, and so on----but I'm not well-versed enought to know the proper terms a fine cook will know and use. But there is what works as the flour part, the liquid part, the levening part, the sweetner part and the oil part. Many different things will serve, there there need to be those aspects taken care of. Those seem to me like the pieces of the cake----looking at it in a way not unlike I would carry over your suggestion to looking at Color Characteristics. Cake=finished painting. That's how it seems to me. Whatever. :-)

Especially for beginning painters, there is a great deal of difficulty in learning how to interpret their visual experience in pigments. Even beginning painters who have a real insight or talent with color have difficulty controlling the mixtures to express what they see.

Yep. So, seems the less tortured, the better. The cleaner, simpler, more fulfilling the way of seeing and using the color, the better. Real answers, real relatinships, repeatable, explainable, useable, useful, successful, satisfying, etc. Otherwise---beating one's way out of a paper bag, blindfolded with hands tied. Argh. Nooooo fun! Life's too short. There is enough univited agony! Don't need noooo more! :-) But if it works for you seeing in the way you are suggesting, fabulous!!!

So, I long ago abandoned the notion that anything is a piece of cake in painting. Except for meaningless things that are generalized darks or lights, or saturated local colors that do not show chromatic and hue differences between light keys.


Again, if that works for you, that's wonderful. I just know too many artists who have been frustrated and disappointed and mystified when seeing color not entirely like you----and that changes sooo much when we start working with some useful characteristics----which do indeed exist IRL---in real life! :-)

Hues are generally understood as the major families of primary and secondary colors,

Yep. Works for me!!! :-) And then there are additional characteristics to further define the particular color. Hue is only one characteristic of color.

or the spectral colors, or other pigment mixtures that visually fall into one of those categories rather easily, or obviously, to everyone, In this particular debate about colored neutrals, the point is being made that these can be distinguished by hue differences, but that these are not saturated as hues that anyone would recognize except by its contrast comparison to an adjacent neutral of a different hue.

And true color perception is so often dependent upon what you are calling "constrast comparison", which works, or by relating the color in question to other colors, sometimes using one or more "constants" or "givens." Sometimes we only see certain things by having a contrast or an "other" since our eyes can be extremely accepting of a color which we are looking at in an isolated fashion. This has been very obvious to people, particularly in the days exclusively given to film-based photographs, where mom would take a picture of our birthday party---get them developed----and---yikes!---they're all orangy! She had used an out-door daylight film, rather than an indoor, more-tungsten-based film. But we would run from indoors (with the incandescent lights on) out into the sun and NEVER have a sense of a different ligth temperature, etc! The film---couldn't play equally at both situations.

This is where the human eye can distinquish several million hue and color differences, but only by direct comparison.

YES!

Ofcourse, no one is using more than a few hundred, or a few thousand, but the point is that the context of colored neutrals together allows your eye to distinguish the hue, and whatever slight chromatic differences, that may exist in a dark shade or light plane mass.

You may be content to use 6 hues, but alot of painters prefer to use several different pigments for each hue.

OK---we have a huge problem here. You are confusing Hue with pigment in general! I absolutely use several different PIGMENTS of a HUE!!! Different different different!!!! Check out again what you are saying. There ae sooo many pigments which fall into the Red family of Hues----or the Blue family of Hues!!! They are not the same issue. Just NOT! You are confusing apples and elephants for each other.

My palette may contain 3 to 4 different yellows, reds, greens, blues, oranges, etc., because I find it allows me to really expand the subtle differences in pigment mixtures by having these varieties of pigment at hand. If I did not see these differences in the composition, I do not load the pigment on the palette, so it is really using variety of pigments in order to address what I see as the color problem to be solved. And I like to experiment with different pigment mixtures to see what differences and similarities can be produced by variable mixtures.

Hey, me, tooooo! What's your point??? I think it is that you just are not being able to take in what I'm talking about. There are times when I'll maybe use a fairly limited palette----but then I ALWAYS want at least one warm and one cool Pigment Color within each Hue of the 3 Primaries. BUT----I absolutely appreciate the variations, the very special q ualities any particular pigment might have---including its transparency, its fast-drying, its wonderful effects when mixing with particular foliage colors, etc. I will more often lay out 20-some Pigment Colors when I'm painting in oils. I know what each pigment does----and it's always more than just its Color! There are so many other issues I appreciate and put them out for specific reasons---which sometimes is to "see WHAT will hapen with this brand new pigment or brand." Most of the oils I use now come from Art Spectrum or Old Holland. AS is what the Royal Academy of Art in London chose for their academy. I had already fallen in love with it for their extremely high pigmentation, as well as for some of their particular pigments offered. But have used pretty much EVERY brand! Gamlin is quite nice, too. And many other lovelies. I could load up my palette with way, way over a hundred, 200 different pigments via different brands. There are some Pigments I use in several different brands because of each difference between them, that each offer something useful. But, I digress. (Yum!!! Love all those delicious different possiblities!) :-) I still see 6 Hue families. Billions of colors!!! Wellll---maybe just millions! :-)

Color modeling is a study of the color of the light source, and the atmospheric conditions through which the light source is filtered, and the effect these have on the local colors of all forms in it.

Yep. We agree again.

So I do not get your point about the distinction between knowing the color of the light source before modeling a form.

Geeee---cuz since it's such an intregal part of what colors are happening, it let's me zero in on it NOW! duh.

Perhaps you do not understand what I meant by color modeling of form in the light key? The entire point of such an exercise is to specifically describe the coloring of the light source as it seen in the forms present in the composition.

Composition, now??? Hmmmm??? No. You are not being clear. Light key? The Value? Denoting the Value, If I'm guessing right about your meaning of LIght Key is right, Value is one resulting aspect of what the subject matter is looking like----but does not inform as to the Temperatures. I don't want to just live on bread and water! I want steak and a LOT of green veggies and salads----and so forth! A little chocolate for desert!

Color modeling of form in the light key is a means for a painter to broaden their perceptual recognition of the differences between light conditions, such as morning sunlight and afternoon sunlight, and their ability to mix pigments to describe their perception, by studying the color relationships of form planes and spatial (recessional) planes. It is learning to recognize and mix in atmospheric perspective . So to me your comment about the difference between that and knowing the color of the light source is a non sequitor.

And to me, a major sequitor!!! Nothing I'm using in my sensing of color rules out what you are commenting on in the pagaragraph above. Those are conditions, attributes which I ALWAYS take into consideration. And, in SEEING Colors the way I do, it lets me find the mixtures, understand the relationships, work with the variations, "translate Colors" as needed or desired, understand better what I am sensing-----and so many other wonderful assets to painting my paintings. Just seems like you are lumping together a whole lot of things that most artists I know understand as different aspects of what is around us. But, again, if it works your you satisfyingly, HORRAY!!!! That's all that is important!

The question of " what is neutral" is being debated here with Einion. My point was that dead, or absolute neutrals, such as a paynes grey, are , in daylight painting situations, more the exception than the general qualitative rule, Einion is making the point that neutrals are qualified by being absolute neutrals such as paynes grey (my interpretation). As soon as you add "reddish grey" into the equation, you do not have the qualifying quality for an absoluty neutral. What I am saying is that in painting in nature we have alot of color that may not fall into the pure theoretical conception of neutrals, but are neutrals none the less because we have to determine their hue differences by comparing them to each other. And, out of the context of the composition, they would appear as some indeterminant neutral, or unsaturated color.
Ken

And I guess I just see Paynes Gray as very, very bluish gray---and not in any way an absolute neutral. So???? Hmmmmm.

I believe that most of the world around us is medium intensity, low intensity or very low intensity, very much on it's way to pure neutral. Perceiving the differences, yes, we need to relate, to compare.

One last time----whatever works for each of us! :-) Take good care! Donna ;-}

Donna A
05-25-2006, 03:04 PM
Originally Posted by Donna A
On the other hand, Ken and Einion, I see and understand brown as a dark, medium-to-low-intensity orange... Much cleaner, more direct way of working with the color!
From Einion:
That's exactly how I think of browns Donna, I was making the point about the use of terminology, hence the quotes

Pardon me, Einion! :-) I so enjoy reading your posts! Take good care! Donna ;-}

bigflea
05-25-2006, 11:39 PM
Einion,
Re. your qualitfication of neutrals as being on a 7% to 20% saturation level of whatever hue the neutral suspect seems to be exhibiting. My question is, do you or anyone else you know, have a little meter in your brain that flashes a percentage rating in your eye when you are trying to evaluate these colored neutral relationships?

Since I have stated that a lead, dead, grey is a neutral, it should be clear what my concept of a neutral is. But let me say that a neutral is a non hued mixture of pigment. White, black, or values of white and black greys, are neutrals. So I do not think that is the substance of the debate about neutrals. What is really at question, I feel, is the concept of what colored neutrals are, and how colored are they, and in what way, or by what means are they colored?

I agree alot of painters use colored neutrals, but a debate can hinge around the issue of how the light source and the atmospheric perspective effects the local coloring of forms, and this effect can greatly influence what the mixtures of colored neutrals is.

I think it is clear from your and Donna's comments that we generally see pigments such as paynes grey or van dyke brown ( a holbein), as colored neutrals. My point about brown was more about the conception of brown as a unifying agent in pre impressionist color development, or the so called "brown school", in which every area of the painting had a tint of brown.

Paynes grey is used by alot of "colorist" painters as a darkening agent, where they are trying to avoid using blacks, but want to deepen the overall chromatic effect of their mixtures. So my point about using it is that it is a means for painters using high chroma palettes to gauge the neutral quality of their mixture. I do not feel a painter should rely on a single pigment, like black, grey, violet ,or other, to darken every mixture, because it results in a kind of false similarity between all the darks.

However I do not use it that way, and usually do not have it on the palette.

So, in Donna' s comments, I get the impression that the point of making pigment mixtures is to attempt to match the local color of the object. Donna, if that is wrong, (assuming you are reading this) let me know.
I raise this question in a discussion of colored neutrals because, to me, it seems there is a great difference in meaning when we are talking about trying to mix neutral local colors, eg. to match a piece of furniture that has a scratch on it, or we are trying to discuss how the light and atmospheric quality of daylight alters the neutral colors of objects, such as trees, "brown" things, or other natural forms.

The former is easier to discuss, and to do( from my experience anyway). Learning how to mix pigments to recreate local color schemes is becoming a lost art form, ( or craft) but has been the common practice of really good house painters and interior color designers, until the advent of computor color matching.

The idea of mixing pigment colors in a range from maximum saturation to near neutral in order to show the light and atmospheric effect on form colors is far more difficult to discuss. In this regard, to me, colored neutrals are those groups of mixtures which can only be mixed by comparison to their adjacent colors. That is, in order to see the differentiating hue, I have to compare it to adjacent colors. In order to understand it, I may have to make it more colored than it is in reality, because the pigment I have will not duplicate the chromatic character I can see in nature. So I may not want to state a color with more chromatic intensity, but it may be a necessity in terms of clarifying the differences between very similar areas of neutral colorings.

Re. Light planes ( or shade planes), and the presence of warm and cool qualities in them. Einion, I agree with you that a mass of a light plane is often seen as predominately a warm coloring. But what makes light planes, imo, so powerful visually is the shift in chroma that occurs between the highlighted area and the mass of the light plane, or the surrounding 1/2 light. In the latter, the chromatic warmth may be stronger, but as the plane shifts toward the highlight, the direct sunlight is often whiter, ( think white light), though not a pure white, and that area is often surrounded by an area reflecting the sky color. Both the highlight and sky color reflection are chromatic intensity changes from the more saturated warmth of the mass of the light plane,(and temperature changes,(as Donna will quickly point out). So the conception of light planes as containing only warm coloring is something that will limit the chromatic effect that is possible to attain.
Ken

Richard Saylor
05-26-2006, 01:50 AM
.....And Einion has a good point -- don't use words that are not part of the normal vernacular of the subject -- this simply confuses further an already convoluted technical discussion.And if someone does use the normal vernacular, it would be nice if they adhere to standard usage rather than redefining terms. As one of the moderators wrote:

Colour terminology is quite well developed in English and we would ask that you use terms as they are commonly used so that debates, as much as possible, revolve around practical issues and less on semantics and who has the larger dictionary If you are unsure of the vocabulary the WetCanvas! Glossary contains most of the words you might need and should help get you started.Musicians use a common language. Terms such as "bridge," "coda," "riff," "chorus," blues," "dominant 7th," always have the same meaning whether the genre be classical, jazz, rock, folk, or whatever. Some musicians may not know all the standard terminology, but none that I know of make up their own non-standard vocabulary and then expect others to understand them.

Artists are no less intelligent than musicians, so why can't they adhere to established color terminology, at least for the sake of communicating clearly in a forum such as this?

Richard

bigflea
05-26-2006, 10:23 AM
Richard,
I understand gunzorro's intent, but the fact is that the vernacular is always changing, and often the underlying reason a term is introduced into the language is for the purpose of describing an aspect of the topic which is not adequetely described by the exhisting vernacular.

The terms "light key" and "chromatic scale" (which I assume are the main suspects in the current wave of verbal vandalism), while perhaps not a part of the vernacular in general, are nevertheless in common usage among some painters who have found them to be descriptive of the actual color experience.

I have defined these terms in the way I understand them, but what I find is that a definition that makes a great amount of sense to me and to others who use the terms can make no sense to others who may be either unfamiliar with the concept the term refers to, or who want to reject the concept itself because it does not fit with their concepts of painting and color usage.

So I would disagree with the premise that all terminology is adequete and there is no need or room for new terminology to be introduced into the vernacular. I feel it takes time for people to digest the concept a term may refer to, and that is how the vernacular expands over time.
Ken

bigflea
05-26-2006, 10:40 AM
Donna,
Thanks for clarifying the question about using 6 hues. I suspected you used a number of pigments for each hue, but alot of painters try to use only a handful of pigments, and thought maybe you did too.

Composition and color seem to me to be tied together, in much the same way that I feel the attributes of hue, value, and chroma are, once a painter has a working knowledge of each. In composition, I feel the way colors come together and create harmonic rhythms becomes a determining way that painters may select one composition instead of another. In landscape eg., a particular motif or composition may be interesting as color variations in one light condition, but at another time of day it may not. It is simply not limited to the forms, but to how the form and light together combine, as color combinations, that becomes a composition idea for some painters.

Light key is a term that certainly includes the value and temperature of the colors one sees. Photographers have used the term value key, for the light/dark scale of a composition. But a greyscale of values does not show you the chromatic range, or the hue variations of a composition. A light key is a particular chromatic range of hue variations, describing the way the local form colors are altered at that time of day and season, and in the atmospheric perspective that is present. It can also include the particular way the painter is focusing on the subject. I think when we select one area as a focal point, while other areas are considered as peripheral areas, this changes the way each of these areas can be painted. So that is also a factor in how the colors are "keyed" together. A sharp contrast in a peripheral area of a composition will draw your eye away from the focal area, and controlling the intensity of contrasts is part of the keying problem. Since these are not just value contrasts, but have value as part of the chromatic solution, the painter has to adjust contrasts for the chromatic effect a particular mixture of hues may have.
Ken

Einion
05-27-2006, 11:00 AM
Einion,
Re. your qualitfication of neutrals as being on a 7% to 20% saturation level of whatever hue the neutral suspect seems to be exhibiting. My question is, do you or anyone else you know, have a little meter in your brain that flashes a percentage rating in your eye when you are trying to evaluate these colored neutral relationships?
Actually I do but that's beside the point <R2D2 noises>

Achem, I did say, "For those of a technical bent..." remember? And what was the point is that a neutral grey is exactly that - neutral - with no discernable hue. I know from reading, and testing for myself, that this varies for different values (far, far more than I expected) so I was giving the info for anyone who's interested in the technical side of things.

Since I have stated that a lead, dead, grey is a neutral, it should be clear what my concept of a neutral is.
Okay, then you don't use any, right? But hang on a second, you're saying that neutrals are dead, leaden greys and yet you just questioned, "...[my] assessment of neutrals as qualified by being seen as a grey." Don't you think that's mildly contradictory?

And that's not the least of it:
"That is, the neutrals we actually see, and mix, are colored neutrals."
"So the concept of neutral as grey, while useful, is also misleading..."
"IOW neutrals fall into hue divisions, though all could be characterized as a neutral color."

But let me say that a neutral is a non hued mixture of pigment. White, black, or values of white and black greys, are neutrals.
Just wanted to point out that tints of black usually give results that are noticeably blueish.

What is really at question, I feel, is the concept of what colored neutrals are, and how colored are they, and in what way, or by what means are they colored?
Exactly. That's why examples of what you think of/see as "coloured neutral" or "very rich neutral mixtures" etc. would be appropriate to give context.

Paynes grey is used by alot of "colorist" painters as a darkening agent, where they are trying to avoid using blacks...
And yet they end up using it anyway tee hee :lol:

...but want to deepen the overall chromatic effect of their mixtures.
:rolleyes:

So, in Donna' s comments, I get the impression that the point of making pigment mixtures is to attempt to match the local color of the object. Donna, if that is wrong, (assuming you are reading this) let me know.
Well that's how I read it too, to which I say, "Of course". The shadows on objects are generally variations in colour for the basic hue (the local colour) except when strongly influenced by secondary lightsources (e.g. sky-light shining into cast shadows). We know you don't agree with this but that's the way most people see the effect of light on colour.

I do not feel a painter should rely on a single pigment, like black, grey, violet ,or other, to darken every mixture, because it results in a kind of false similarity between all the darks.
Completely agree. The correct hue in each halftoned/shadowed area is precisely what avoids the false similarity.

The idea of mixing pigment colors in a range from maximum saturation to near neutral in order to show the light and atmospheric effect on form colors is far more difficult to discuss.
Is it? You just laid out the basics, as far as the mixing goes, in one sentence. And it's a heck of a lot simpler, in principle and practice, to the colouring advised by other types of painters ;)

In this regard, to me, colored neutrals are those groups of mixtures which can only be mixed by comparison to their adjacent colors. That is, in order to see the differentiating hue, I have to compare it to adjacent colors. In order to understand it, I may have to make it more colored than it is in reality....
Well that's significant http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif

So I may not want to state a color with more chromatic intensity, but it may be a necessity in terms of clarifying the differences between very similar areas of neutral colorings.
I have to say I really don't understand this. I get what you're saying but I don't understand the need to do this, except to deliberately use colour a given way (as a preconcieved decision).

Re. Light planes ( or shade planes), and the presence of warm and cool qualities in them. Einion, I agree with you that a mass of a light plane is often seen as predominately a warm coloring. But what makes light planes, imo, so powerful visually is the shift in chroma that occurs between the highlighted area and the mass of the light plane, or the surrounding 1/2 light. In the latter, the chromatic warmth may be stronger, but as the plane shifts toward the highlight, the direct sunlight is often whiter, ( think white light), though not a pure white, and that area is often surrounded by an area reflecting the sky color.
Okay, I see what you're getting at now; but I don't agree that it is normal or typical of the way lighting works. I can imagine instances where you would see something like this but it wouldn't be usual by any means as far as I can see and it's certainly not the way that most representational painters represent direct light.

Richard,
I understand gunzorro's intent, but the fact is that the vernacular is always changing, and often the underlying reason a term is introduced into the language is for the purpose of describing an aspect of the topic which is not adequetely described by the exhisting vernacular.

The terms "light key" and "chromatic scale" (which I assume are the main suspects in the current wave of verbal vandalism), while perhaps not a part of the vernacular in general, are nevertheless in common usage among some painters who have found them to be descriptive of the actual color experience.

I have defined these terms in the way I understand them, but what I find is that a definition that makes a great amount of sense to me and to others who use the terms can make no sense to others who may be either unfamiliar with the concept the term refers to, or who want to reject the concept itself because it does not fit with their concepts of painting and color usage.

So I would disagree with the premise that all terminology is adequete and there is no need or room for new terminology to be introduced into the vernacular. I feel it takes time for people to digest the concept a term may refer to, and that is how the vernacular expands over time.
Ken
Okay, that's fair enough but consider these, would you know what I mean by:
linear mixers;
analogue;
mixtures are commutative;
split complements;
curved mixing lines?

And do you think other people reading would also understand any or all of them without qualification? In fact given the way that people learn/are taught about colour you can't even use primary, secondary and tertiary without explaining what you mean exactly, unless the context makes it plain! A simple word like complement can't be used without something to qualify it either.

But let's not get sidetracked - the underlying issue here (not just in this thread but in the forum) isn't simply about explanation of the terms, it's about the underlying message itself.

Einion

Einion
05-27-2006, 11:07 AM
Although I like the subject very much, it is coming across as so much blah-blah-blah, since it is without adequete illustrations for the points being made.
That's precisely one of the things that bothers me most: that it comes across so frequently as something only the initiated can understand, a sort of Emperor's New Clothes.

Pardon me, Einion! :-)
No prob, no reason you would know without having read more of my prior posts.

Musicians use a common language. Terms such as "bridge," "coda," "riff," "chorus," blues," "dominant 7th," always have the same meaning whether the genre be classical, jazz, rock, folk, or whatever. Some musicians may not know all the standard terminology, but none that I know of make up their own non-standard vocabulary and then expect others to understand them.

Artists are no less intelligent than musicians, so why can't they adhere to established color terminology, at least for the sake of communicating clearly in a forum such as this?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif

Einion

bigflea
05-27-2006, 02:20 PM
Einion,
Re. "playing saturated color against colored neutrals..." (paraphrasing your statement), that must apply to someone else, since, I am just not THAT clever! No, I am just a nuts and bolts kind of painter, simply trying to paint the color of one plane as it appears in color next to another plane. And at the end I am hoping to do so without all the nuts and bolts and duck tape that holds it all together showing too much. Colors may end up playing off each other, but I probably had nothing to do with it.

Yes, I do not generally have an absolute colorless grey in any final mixture, and do try to mix toward neutral by mixing pigments that produce that effect when mixed together. However, colored neutrals are used in the massing and variations of my paintings. So my comment about the use of neutrals is qualified by the idea of "colored neutrals" as being something different in meaning and in actual mixing than a true neutral, colorless mass. The reason I make this distinction is because of the difference between the local color concept of form, and the light key effect on the local color of form.

It is necessary, I believe, to understand the light and atmospheric coloring effect on form colors, the local object colors, which, by themselves, are often classified, or could be, as neutral colors. For example, the color of dead grass, could be considered a neutral color. A painter may believe that the color of dead grass is the same no matter what the particular light key conditions are, for painting. That is, they may believe that there is only one pigment mixture needed to describe dead grass as a color, and that it is some colored neutral mixture.

However in terms of the light key effect on local colors, there can be many different pigment mixtures that apply to the painting of a particular local form color, (like dead grass). A constant, or premixed dead grass pigment, is not the idea of keying colors according to the effect the light and atmospheric conditions have on all the form colors.

Re. the need to exaggerate difficult to see hue distintions between predominately neutral colored areas; imo, this again depends in part on whether you are practicing the local color approach to painting light effects, or the what I am calling the light key effect. In the latter, the exaggeration of hues occurs immediately at the beginning of the study, because there is no value scale, or chromatic relationships or scale, as a foundation. The masses are begun, in many cases, by the use of pure pigments representing what may be the 5 or 7 major masses of light and shade of the composition.
Since mixing is done often on the painting instead of on the palette, the painter mixes right into these saturated initial statements, restating these to begin establishing a chromatic range and a value relationship. By immediately overstating the hue distinctions as a beginning, the painter is able to clarify what the important hue divisions are, as long as they are developing these as masses, and not as many small variations of hues. If the latter, the painting may not resolve itself into forms or a particular key of colors, but simply appear as alot of unrelated colors.

Re. the message underlying my comments in general, I have attempted to describe the underlying principles and working method of
color modeling of form in the light key. It is not a step painting process, but one that is intended to provide a means for a painter to study theirown color perception and color mixing, and improve their skill at both. However it does lead to a realization about the differences between a local color conception of color, vs. a recognition of the atmosheric effect on local coloring in daylight. Many people do not acknowledge that effect and insist that it is not important to a painters color understanding. That message is often not underlying their comments, but is pronounced very clearly as if it is a reliable dogma.
Ken

bigflea
06-03-2006, 09:42 AM
Attempting to upload two jpgs. that show the use of dark neutrals, made from mixtures of pigments without using black or grey pigment. One is a north light (skylight) interior study of a conch shell; other is a monsoon season landscape, where two light keys occur in the same composition (so to speak). Most of the composition is in shade, with a smaller area in a bright sunlight, or what could be thought of as a spotlight effect.
Ken

Patrick1
06-03-2006, 09:55 AM
Very nice conch shell :thumbsup:. I like the coloration of the landscape but it looks unfinished - like about the end of the block-in phase.

bigflea
06-03-2006, 02:06 PM
thanks Patrick,
You could be right re. the landscape, and I may need to add some finishing to it in the foreground areas. The distant ground, which is the focal area, is more developed as masses and variations. The foreground isn't as resolved in terms of variations in its mass. Also, the jpg is somewhat less ranging in coloring than the painting, but not sure how. One area, ( in the jpg.) which seems less rich than the painting is the dark inky cloud area. Anyway, to some degree the overall jpg. effect is flatter than the painting appears. That can add to the sense of incompletion I think. It was done more as a sketch of an effect that was a very short duration.
Ken

bigflea
06-06-2006, 11:45 AM
Posting one more study which may help to clarify some of the comments about colored neutrals, the use of hue differences in the color modeling of forms, and how it may differ from modeling in tones of the local object color in the same form or composition, and other ideas.

The painting was done in an afternoon north light (window light), which shows some different color qualities than a morning north light. The objects are yellow pears, red jalapeno peppers, an unfinished wood table top, and some jars.

The hiighlights on the pears are three different hues, one a pale yellow, two a pale green/blue, one a pale rose/violet. These hues seemed to occur according to their spatial position in relation to the indirect light source, which is part of the overall color rhythm one can observe in color modeling forms.
Ken

bigflea
06-06-2006, 11:52 AM
PS the jpg of the pear study is overall more saturated than the painting, and this loses some of the harmonic unity, or the "key" of the color relationships.
Ken

Russellupsome
06-17-2006, 02:23 PM
I haven't read this entire thread and I have to run at the moment. However I did pick up on something that seems to have gone relatively uncommunicated. I have an MFA degree and studied color theory and the Munsell system at some length while a student. Munsell is basically where we got the phrases hue, value and chroma, which help to categorize most any given artist's color: you'll see a numerical id for each aspect on any Liquitex tube for instance.

These three factors are not independant of one another when localized in an individual color. It would be best to visualize a Cartesian grid with X, Y, and Z axises corresponding to each of these three factors. Each color will fall somewhere within that cubic or spherical 3 dimensional grid. Munsell even sells a spherical color file that does just that. A lighted object without all three of these factors extant simultaneously in its local color (hue, value and chroma) could not exist. BTW, "local color" means the inherent color of an object in standard light. If one where to add modelling factors to this scheme, then the local color would fall in at Middle Light (High Light, Middle Light, Dark Light, Halftone(s), Light Shadow, Middle Shadow, and Dark Shadow, Reflected Light in Shadow, etc.). Munsell makes a device that reads the local color of dry paint samples in order to classify them according to quantifiably specific ranges of hue, value and chroma.

Regards,
Russell Erwin
www.russellerwin.com

bigflea
06-17-2006, 03:23 PM
Russellupsome,

And in regard to your comment about the relationship of hue,value,chroma as a single unit in the Munsell analysis, the same principle applies in a color modeling study of form in a light key. That is, hue and chromatic value are stated simultaneously, both in a mass note, and in any variations within a mass note of a form (plane variations needed to model form, and other effects of reflecting light which may occur apart from the form structure itself).
Ken