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pnj
09-15-2008, 12:21 PM
Is there a list somewhere that mentions colors and if they are warm or cool?

I'm trying to "get back to basics" and want to limit my palette a bit.

What I mean is, "red madder is warm" and "cobalt blue is cool but ultra marine is warm", etc. I'm looking for a list of the specific colors we use in painting (I do watercolors), not a generic list like "reds are warm and blues are cool". Hope that makes sense...

Thanks.

Einion
09-15-2008, 07:34 PM
The artists' notion of 'cool' and 'warm' is subjective, as well as being relative to other things (this also being somewhat subjective, as shown by this (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4547806#post4547806) selection of quotes).

So as far as I'm aware there is no list of the kind you're looking for and if there were it wouldn't necessarily jibe with the views of other artists that think this way!

Einion

awerth
09-16-2008, 12:11 AM
I agree with Einion... There are multiple ways of breaking down colors into warm and cool and in the end it's subjective and relative. Here's a useful link that talks about that problem a bit:

http://www.huevaluechroma.com/077.php

But, if what you're looking for is a minimal palette where you have one "warm" and one "cool" of each "primary" color, I think you can find that if you search around WetCanvas and elsewhere (for example, Handprint might have what you're looking for in watercolor here: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/palette5.html )

pnj
09-16-2008, 10:20 AM
http://www.fountainstudio.com/watercolor%20tips/tip-mixing_colors.html

What do you think of this list of colors?

thanks for the links.

Einion
09-16-2008, 02:19 PM
What do you think of this list of colors?
Nice six-colour palette for watercolours if you want to have paired primaries.

Another worthwhile palette for watercolours of the same size that's worth considering is a secondary palette, which would combine cyan, magenta and yellow primaries (the Phthalo Green BS, Hansa Yellow Light and Quin Red from Daniel Smith listed on that page could represent these if you like) with a green, orange and violet paint. It means quite a different way of working, one that's not for everyone, but unbeatable on colour range for only six paints.

Einion

gunzorro
09-16-2008, 07:20 PM
The colors on that site wouldn't be my choice for oils.

Phthalo Blue is an excellent all-around blue and will get you started.

I prefer Cad Yellow of some type, usually a Pale or Light version, even Lemon.

I like a nice bright red-orange like Vermilion or Cad Red Light.

After than it would be a deep red-purple, like Quin Magentat or Quin Violet or permanent Alizarin.

Beyond that, I would probably stoke up on earth colors like Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, English Red, Indian Red, Raw and Burnt Umber.

And Black, of course! :)

pnj
09-16-2008, 08:38 PM
I find that the Phthalo Blue I have (Daniel Smith) is REALLY bright when used transparently. Any when I mix it, it makes crazy bright colors, but I can get great darks with it as well...

Black is illegal to use in watercolors. :D seriously, I had the cops show up once....;)

sidbledsoe
09-16-2008, 09:36 PM
Black is the main thing in payne's grey, you get the same thing if you mix it with ultra blue but for some reason it is legal.

pnj
09-16-2008, 09:37 PM
I love paynes grey. :D

Use Her Name
09-17-2008, 05:35 PM
There are warm blacks and cool blacks, warm whites, and cool whites.

Einion
09-18-2008, 07:29 AM
Jim:
...(I do watercolors)...
But I agree with you, a palette of only transparent/semitransparent paints for oils wouldn't be to my liking. Similar thing with acrylics, although at least there you don't have an issue with pentimenti down the line.


Black is the main thing in payne's grey, you get the same thing if you mix it with ultra blue but for some reason it is legal.
Yep, it's often in Sepia, Indigo, Neutral Tint and Van Dyke Brown paints too. It can also be hidden in a few other colours one wouldn't expect it to be in.

Einion

sidbledsoe
09-18-2008, 08:56 AM
Also Davy's Gray.

Horse-artist
09-18-2008, 01:53 PM
Is there a list somewhere that mentions colors and if they are warm or cool?

I'm trying to "get back to basics" and want to limit my palette a bit.

What I mean is, "red madder is warm" and "cobalt blue is cool but ultra marine is warm", etc. I'm looking for a list of the specific colors we use in painting (I do watercolors), not a generic list like "reds are warm and blues are cool". Hope that makes sense...

Thanks.

Oh, what a great question. You're on your journey to find out what color palette works for you, and it can be a long road, with signposts pointing in many directions along the way, and people saying "this works" and "that works". I know. Been there, been on the road.

That said, there are numerous references to spectral reflectance curves in two books I have on my shelf. One is the Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, and the second one (more for watercolorists) is Hilary Page's Color Right From the Start. Why mention spectral reflectance? Because although many colors seem to have no "real" temperature until placed next to another, the spectral reflectance curves take out the guesswork. The human eye interprets what it receives and colors fall into three broad categories: They read either warm/hot, neutral or cool/cold. The hottest pigment is cadmium orange. The coldest, titanium white.

I'm currently using a palette of six warms and six cools based upon those curves, which comes from the palette of James Reynolds and Dan Mieduch.
In using these colors, I can then depict specific times of day, based upon how they are used and where. I know it works: Here's my most recent lesson painting from my blog:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Sep-2008/2312-la-08-057x.jpg

So, with that being said, I want to encourage your journey into color discoveries, and hope that knowing about those spectral reflectance curves can help.:thumbsup:
Here's a link to my blog with this painting in process:
http://elinpendleton.blogspot.com

Einion
09-18-2008, 03:33 PM
Lovely painting, thanks for posting it.

The hottest pigment is cadmium orange. The coldest, titanium white.
See, here's the problem with this kind of thing: other people wouldn't agree with these.

While Cadmium Orange would definitely be around the right colour for one of the two main groups who think in this way (where something like Cad Red Light is regularly thought to be hottest and it and Cad Orange can be interchangeable in colour) a white certainly wouldn't be a common choice for coldest - the colour opposite to the hottest is usually seen as that.

White, being a neutral, has no inherent temperature, any more than grey or black do. I think this can be demonstrated in that it can look 'warm' or 'cool' depending on context, while a brilliant cyan for example can't be made to look warm (warmer is possible for some viewers, who see something like ultramarine as the coldest colour).

Einion

Horse-artist
09-18-2008, 04:04 PM
Einion, I have no desire to present conflicting information in response to your post. We both recognize that color theory has evolved and continues to evolve throughout the ages. From Descartes and Newton in the 1700s through Goethe, and Munsell, the theories abound!
I would offer that the inherent temperature of objects in real life (i.e., in plein air painting), reduces as distance increases, with yellows falling off the palette as one proceeds into mid-ground and then to the background.
Also that the addition of white to any hue moderates its temperature away from warm (thus my contention that titanium white is cold).

What pnj is looking for is a list of pigments with a temperature reference--something simple.
I offer the 12 colors from my Color System to give pnj a starting point.
In order by hue: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue.
Warm: Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Sap Green, and Pthalo Blue.
Cool: Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre (yes, a cool orange!), Lemon Yellow, Pthalo Green (or Viridian), and Ultramarine Blue.

These are the colors that James Reynolds uses, and it was presented to me in a Dan Mieduch workshop many years ago, and I've modified it to be a Color System for artists who want simple answers. Thus my reply to pnj's question. This is one of Reynolds' paintings, using the cools in everything that isn't in sunlight. Amazing how much of a master he is. (But he doesn't give workshops!) Please note the addition of white for distance, reducing values and hue for convincing three dimensions.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Sep-2008/2312-reynolds4.jpg
Color will always be subjective. However, those spectral reflectance curves on the pigments show us how science can validate our inherent response.

Einion
09-19-2008, 11:03 AM
Einion, I have no desire to present conflicting information in response to your post.
Hard to, seeing as except for the last part I'm relaying what we've seen to be the case in discussions over the years here in the forum (the link in my first post relates to some of it).

There's no question that the basic warm/cool divide of colour can generally be appreciated by people (including many non-artists)*. But when it comes down to a desire for specifics, like which colour is warmest, which is coolest, then we get into a quagmire because there are answers to that question, not an answer. This is less and less useful to the individual questioner because bottom line, they're opinions, viewpoints.

*Although there are better (less generic) ways of viewing colour for the artist by aiming to distinguish the specific hue.

Also that the addition of white to any hue moderates its temperature away from warm (thus my contention that titanium white is cold).
How a colour behaves in mixtures doesn't tell us definitively about whether it starts off warm or cool; greys are of course neutral, but they act like blues when mixed into yellow (ditto with black) making a small, but real, shift toward green. Does that make them inherently cool?

Also, the "adding white cools" thing is not always true. Adding white can be seen to warm mixtures (especially with cool colours) because the shift in hue is largely an aspect of pigment interaction, which is unpredictable.

What pnj is looking for is a list of pigments with a temperature reference--something simple.
I offer the 12 colors from my Color System to give pnj a starting point.
In order by hue: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue.
Warm: Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Sap Green, and Pthalo Blue.
Cool: Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre (yes, a cool orange!), Lemon Yellow, Pthalo Green (or Viridian), and Ultramarine Blue.
I think this is very confusing - grouping together warm examples of cold colours with warm colours and cool examples of warm colours with cold colours? Phthalo Blue is often seen as the coolest colour (in undercolour particularly as this is opposite in hue to red-orange/scarlet)!

However, those spectral reflectance curves on the pigments show us how science can validate our inherent response.
Since you mention it again, I don't really understand your thesis with regard to how these help see 'temperature'. Titanium White's profile for example is nearly flat...

They tell us a lot of interesting stuff (some of which is useful in understanding mixing behaviour) but as an example of the oddball things that they can show is the almost complete orange and red reflection in yellow paints, including the 'cool yellows' (green-yellows). The green-ness of these is indicated by the additional green reflectance but it's highly counter-intuitive that something like PY3 reflects more orange and red light than actual yellow light :)

Einion

gunzorro
09-20-2008, 11:39 AM
Try as I might, I can't find any reasonable way to consider a blue as anything but "cool". As Einion points out, if you are using these terribly rough terms of "cool and warm", the color wheel is usually split through yellow-green and red-purple (roughly, yellow and purple being the break areas), with each side designated as warm or cool.
Most would agree that Cad Red Light is warm, but that Alizarin is cooler. But, how much cooler? Just because it is cooler, does that make it cold? Compared to any blue I've seen, Alizarin is warm.
To try to say individual hues or tones/shades (mixed with white, grey or black) are warmer or cooler than their bretheren, seems a fools errand. Same for trying to make a palette to feature these artificial designations, with cool and warm for each of the primaries.
Although I'm not a strict adherent, a system of accurate notation of colors, especially Munsell and its pigment-related mixes, seems the better way to understanding or describing colors in HVC. The model of a Munsell color space seems far easier to understand, especially for relating to non-pure hues such as Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, etc. -- the color needs to be seen in three dimensional space, related to the other colors.

Horse-artist
09-20-2008, 12:30 PM
Try as I might, I can't find any reasonable way to consider a blue as anything but "cool".
OK, so one sees a blue shirt on a person and wants to paint it. I can understand pnj's problem with that, as a learner, wanting to know how to handle the plethora of blues available to get that shirt to read right as a sunlit object.
It is my hope that by giving this artist a list of what reads right for sunlit blue and what reads right for shadow blue, she/he can paint that shirt in a believable fashion. Try using Thalo blue (lightened with some white) in the light and ultramarine blue in the shadow and don't be surprised that it heats up on that lit side and cools off in the shadow. It just works.... for ME, at least. In this painting of mine, look at the groom's jeans to see it in action. More below...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Sep-2008/2312-fi-06-076x.jpg

...the color wheel is usually split through yellow-green and red-purple (roughly, yellow and purple being the break areas), with each side designated as warm or cool.
To take this logic to its conclusion, I therefore cannot paint a pair of jeans in sunlight without using some other color than blue, because blue is cold! Can't be lit by sunlight, because that's warm.... No wonder artists like pnj ask these questions!

One may choose to split the color wheel pie into opposing camps of warm and cool, but how useful is that for the working artist? And "warming up" a sunlit blue with it's complement, or red or yellow makes for dull and non-harmonizing colors and a blah painting. Again, just my opinion. Not out to start any wars.
...a fools errand. Same for trying to make a palette to feature these artificial designations, with cool and warm for each of the primaries.
I agree. We could spiral off into the inherent differences that printing colors have to artists' pigments and never get any painting done! I'm going back to the easel--comfortable with my "color system" and hoping that pnj got a reasonable answer to the question. Please email me (from my blog) if you didn't...

pnj
09-20-2008, 01:22 PM
I got a good answer. Thanks for all the replies. :)

Patrick1
09-21-2008, 08:40 AM
Elin, it sounds that when painting blue objects, you shift the hue towards green in sunlight (i.e. shadow based on Ultramarine Blue, and highlight based on Phthalo Bue + white). I found several sunlit blue objects in the Reference Image Library, and upon sampling them, all displayed this hue shift towards green in the sunlit parts. I'm still searching for a counter-example (i.e. hue shift towards purple in sunlight). Some questions:

-do you always, by default employ such a hue shift on sunlit blues, or only when you see it occur?

-do you notice this by eye, or have you ever sampled a photo to tell for sure whether or not a hue shift is occurring? I sample digital photos all the time - often with amazement at the color 'information' (i.e. variations) that is there that I otherwise wouln't have been aware of.

-have you ever seen blues shift hue towards purple in sunlit portions?

-do you use such hue shifts on other colors? As a general rule, will you shift yellows towards red (i.e. brown) in shadows , or green? Or will it depend entirely on what your eyes are telling you they see in that instance?

Thanks in advance.

Patrick1
09-21-2008, 08:54 AM
Here's two examples from the Ref Image Library with a typical violet-blue or mid-blue shadow color and sunlit parts are shifted to some degree towards green.

LarrySeiler
09-21-2008, 09:50 AM
The artists' notion of 'cool' and 'warm' is subjective, as well as being relative to other things
Einion


I agree...and yet subjective as it is, remember that it is yet very real.

Each painting is a separate created world...and the notion's parameters are relative to that world.

I teach K-12 art...as well as painter's workshops.

The language of art is sophisticated. It is something akin to the written language, and though every kindergardener will recite the same alphabet that the best known novelist is also able to cite...it is the passion and individual vision that gives eventual power to the construct of the language.

I start my youngest students off asking what color they would most likely represent the sun?

Answer 99% of the time is yellow.

I ask them if they were very hot...what color water of a lake would they like to jump into to cool down?

The answer comes back, blue.

So...I teach the beginning concept of how color can suggest such things.

Since hot is opposite cold...I lead off to see that color as temperatures, color thereby as mixing entities also are opposite.

The color wheel, or color theory models are just that...models. They are abstract concepts which can be experimented and put to use, and the relative relationships they bring to a canvas create consistent results that build a working manner for the artist.

Compared to the warm sun-like yellow...its entirely possible that a painting consisting predominantly of cool colors (for example say dominant blue....or say an analogous color palette of blue, bluish-violet, bluish-green...) will empower the viewer to sense warmth.

Since the created world of one particular scene assigns this bluish dominant theme, the mind can sense that one blue...is warmer than another blue. It is a cool dominant theme, yet within that construct...one blue comes out warmer than another.

It is akin somewhat to a painting that may be keyed low, or ...its values are on the dark spectrum. Compared to a predominant dark painting, the value of a mid-gray might read as the lightest light, or representing white at dusk. We can visualize it as what might ordinarily feel like white.

Yet...in another painting, that same spot of mid-gray color would read as its darkest dark.

When we tend to discuss color or paintings in a general way, our minds are open ended and broad...but, a painting is a confinement to a solely individual independent created world. It is refined to a closed set of conditions.

Ordinarily...we think of winter as cold. Snow as cold...

I most often paint outdoors, at least the past 14 years...and nature challenges presumptions with its varied moods. Here is a winter scene, and I chose a split-complementary palette with orange as the dominant color. The two other pigments were blue-green and reddish-violet...and these three then comprised my full palette (plus white) to mix-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Sep-2008/532-ficticioussnowcreek_donewc.jpg

The mood projected bathes everything with a warm light...yet you have a sense of shadows or areas being cooler. Yet...if you took those cooler colors and laid them in another painting that was bathed predominantly cool, they might strike the eye as quite warm....

on the other hand...here was a more abstract venture I took on, painting on a very chilly winter's day at a nearby lake. Mostly cool in temperature, it takes very little adjusted temperature of a color to feel warmer by comparison-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Sep-2008/532-millpond_mar06_endsessionwc.jpg

The browns and reddish colors might read cooler in another painting, but surrounded by a dominant presence of blues and darker values...they read quite warm. It often doesn't require much.

In this last example...the setting of values in the foreground was the area of play...and set the opportunity to suggest light at day's end. The temptation to put a good deal of stronger darker valued cool blues and violets in the foreground might be considered by some, but really using color temperature thinking...it required very little emphasis on darker values suggested. Darker values ARE there (important for depth illusion) but, here color temperature does more to create this illusion.

Something that came by the privilege and convenience of observing this directly on location-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Sep-2008/532-ratrivermar031donewc2.jpg

But...as I was saying, the values were not nearly the most important factor for creating the strong sense of depth illusion, that is what feels in the foreground versus what feels like back there... which becomes more plain when I convert this last painting to a grayscale-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Sep-2008/532-ratrivermar031grayscale.jpg

I think its easy to see how much the little assigning I did of cool color in the foreground (how much punch or color saturation the blues and violets have) played into the big difference. The value range is actually quite similar in the foreground to the background...(or background suggested shaded areas) so, color temperature set up as I did worked well it its relative way.

Each painting will differ...existing as its own separate created world...

peace

JeffG
09-21-2008, 10:34 AM
The concept of warm/cool in colors is a Relative concept. Just like it is when talking about weather.

Lets say its 50 degrees out. Is a 50 degree air mass warm, or cool? It depends what its next to. Is it summer, and it is next to an 80 degree air mass? Or is it winter, and it is next to a 30 degree air mass?

No color is inherently warm or cool. Its designation as warm or cool depends on what is is used with. Granted, there are many pigments that usually find themselves on the warm or cool side of any combination. Usually, but not always.

Good illustrations, Larry.

Horse-artist
09-26-2008, 06:36 PM
-do you always, by default employ such a hue shift on sunlit blues, or only when you see it occur?
Patrick, I paint intuitively (great excuse for not giving you an answer, eh? But as a teacher, I can't let that one go!).
I decide before I begin, regardless of what I see in front of me, the intention of the painting, the "fell" I want to convey, and then adjust the colors accordingly. Ergo, when I want to convey a misty, warm feeling, I tend to close in my color range and focus on greys to carry the painting. When I want a brilliant, sunlit day, I use more pure hues.

I use photo references, but prefer to paint from life to encourage me to rely on what the human eye really sees, rather than the interpretation of either the camera lens or the computer monitor to give me information. I do use Photoshop to experiment, with some interesting results. Like you, I do sample pixels to see what the camera saw, and it certainly is enlightening! But painting from photos can only make a small fire on your canvas, and I'd rather the photo only be the match, to light the fire of creative expression on my canvases.

I hope what I've written will answer the other questions you posed. Great discussion!

Einion
09-29-2008, 10:08 AM
I agree...and yet subjective as it is, remember that it is yet very real.
Colour temperature isn't real in a way that other things are because you can get two painters who both think of colour that way who'll disagree about specifics, like which of two blues is cooler.

In contrast let's think about the hue of each of those two blues, those same artists might have different opinions on what they are too but one of 'em is just wrong because their hues are what they are.


No color is inherently warm or cool.
I don't agree and I don't even think this way; I know most people who do think this way are likely to concur. Cooler or warmer is different, but no way can certain reds for example be cool per se, as far as the majority would view things. Even here, for many people there is a coolest and warmest colour, which can't ever be thought of as warmer or cooler than anything else.

Real temperature which you also refer to is a separate issue (and unrelated) but there too -10C is just plain cold :)

Einion

JeffG
09-29-2008, 10:59 AM
No, you're wrong :)

And people who have learned how to paint and use color aren't most people. :wave:

robertsloan2
09-29-2008, 11:33 AM
Part of the problem with color temperature being subjective is that there seem to be different ways to look at it.

The one I personally like and use most is to think of yellow as the hot color, purple as the cold color, and when looking at pairs of primary or secondary, picking the one closer to yellow as the hot version. It makes sense on my palette. It makes the greener blues the warm blues, which is what my oil painting teacher in New Orleans said when he first explained setting up my palette that way, and it makes the bluer green the colder green.

But sometimes I run into systems that are based more on red orange or orange being the "hot" color and so purplish blues become the "warm" blue because they're closer to red. That one always disconcerts me, in part because I've noticed in real life a tendency for shadows to have a purplish cast. If I want the light to look like it's later in the day I tend to glaze the highlights with yellow and the shadows with violet and lo, it looks more intense and looks like the shade will cool you off.

That must be the point at which color temperature becomes "subjective." But within a particular hue, it helps to have some organization and use one of these systems so that you can plan things. I think of the blue-green as warmer because it looks more like tropical seas while blue-violet looks more like colder northern seas. It's associations like that which make the nonartist see temperature in a painting, and the memory of cooling off in the shade on hot summer days.

One thing I did run into with watercolor sets is frustration with Alizarin Crimson giving dulled pinks rather than bright ones, and a grayed violet even with Ultramarine. It helps to have a rose hue for that, like Permanent Rose, to get bright violets and pinks, but Alizarin has such wonderful darks that I love it anyway. Whether a blue leans toward green or purple is important for whether you can mix good greens or good purples with it, very few blues will do both. It's good to have both blues and both reds on the palette in any medium I use.