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inmystudio
01-14-2010, 05:40 PM
OK so I have my new pastels, I am trying to be patient and get a good grounding by reading a lot of basic information before I start :angel: .

Usually in my work I just do what I want, as long as the physical structure is sound there are no set rules in my world of stained glass,mosaic and jewellry, generally if I love the finished result it sells:clap: life was easy when I just made beautiful colours look good together.

The difference now is that although painting still has a lot to do with beautiful colours they now need to be in certain places if I want my paintings to look realistic, and I do.

I understand warmth and coolness in colours but after reading a lot about colour value and looking at threads on here I just want to check that I understand the importance.

My question:

If you read my summary below do I understand value?

The value of a coulor is basically how dark or light it is? from what I understand you should be able to paint a picture in what ever unrealistic colours you want but if all those colours have the correct value(dark/light) the picture as a whole will make sense and if you scan it and the original into grey tones they will actually look very similar?

So is colour value only important in this term of light and dark? to add depth and shade?

I hope I have made sense.

Cheers Deborah.

robertsloan2
01-14-2010, 06:29 PM
Yep, you understand value correctly! Value is how light or dark a color is. Hue is what color it is -- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet or neutral. Temperature is "warm or cold." Blue, green and violet are cold, red, orange and yellow are warm.

A red that's purplish is a Cold Red being closer to blue. A blue that's purplish is a Warm Red being closer to red. Bluer greens are cold greens, yellower greens are warm greens. Red orange or yellow orange I think the yellow is the warmer but that's a bit odd to me since both yellow and red are warm so orange is smack in the middle of the warms the way blue is for cools. A warm yellow is redder, a cool yellow is a lemon yellow leaning toward green.

So with those twelve hues in three or four values, you wind up with a set that can do all those amazing brilliant colourful things Charlie does.

To mute a color add its complement, what's across it on the color wheel -- red with green, yellow with violet, orange with blue. To get gray, mix all three primaries evenly or enough secondaries and tertiaries to get it to gray instead of brown.

Charlie taught me a method of painting all the shadows, both form shadows and cast shadows, in cool colors and the light sides in warm colors in the underpainting. Doing this gives a neat "faux fauve" stage that's all wildly pop art, but once you go over those with other colors it looks natural but still has this jazzy sizzling brilliance to it that's a lot livelier than just choosing the lighter or darker versions of the same color throughout an object.

The landscape I just posted in the Ball with Pan Pastels thread and Tree Studies thread, I used this method and you can see bits of blue and violet peeking through in the dark shadows of the foliage while there's touches of orange and yellow in the lightest foliage. It still looks green.

Deborah Secor
01-14-2010, 06:31 PM
Value is a basic property of color. Value is the hand, while color is the glove. You cannot have color that is divorced from value. All colors are judged by value in relationship to all the colors surrounding them. Black and white are values, not colors (technically--not literally when it comes to pigments, of course.)

Yes, you can use any color and create the proper value to make a believable landscape, but the human brain has a blue filter built into it, of sorts. It expects all colors to become cooler in color and lighter in value as they recede from the eye, so if you use another color filter things look otherworldly.

Try this experiment: Get an excellent color photo with good contrast representing the four value planes of the landscape: the sky (light), land (medium-light), mountains (medium-darkish) and trees (dark). Paint every color in the exact (or as close to it as you can get) right value, but SWAP the color to its complement. You should end up with all the right values but an orange filter of sorts (opposite of blue.) It's a wonderful exercise to discover the effectiveness of value, learn complements, and see how the recession of color is blue-shifted.

Did that help or just complicate your thinking?

Deborah

Colorix
01-15-2010, 09:56 AM
Deborah (Australia), Yes, you got it!

Robert, a reply to you at the end of this post.

What usually is the trickiest part with seeing the value of a colour is that bright pure colours tend to look so luminous that one is fooled to believe they have a lighter value than they actually do. Take bright carmine, which is sort of orangey red, glowing and coming towards you. The surprise is that it is actually only two or three steps from black in value.

Yellow is always a very light value, so if you do Deb's excellent exercise (a very good one), you'll need a near yellow to be the reverse of a dark violet, for example an ochre, or an olive green.

Robert's reply is great, but I think there is a wee typo there. In "A blue that's purplish is a Warm Red being closer to red." I think he meant "Warm Blue". Blues can be 'warmer' at the other end, too, that is, more turquoise.

So is colour value only important in this term of light and dark? to add depth and shade?

Robert answered that beautifully, indicating that you'd need a different colour for shadows and lights. Say you paint a red house, lit by morning or afternoon sun. And say you're striving to depict it as it looks. If you then lighten a red with white, you'll get the right value for the lit side of the house, but you'd get a cooler pink. Looking at the red house in sunlight, you'd find that the yellow light from the sun would push the red to a defitite orange. The orange would be a more true representation of the red-in-sunlight than the pink of correct value would be. Likewise with the shadow side of the house. The local colour is still red, so you could take the red pigments, mix in black or umber or green (the 3 most common recipes for shadows), and you'd get a muted red of the correct value. But again, looking at the actual red house, you'd find that the local colour red would have blue light from the sky illuminating the shadow part. So a red with blue in it, a violet, would be a better representation of reality. Well, 'better' in my mind, that is. So I say: the actual colour (hue) matters a lot if you paint the quality and colour of light. It matters less if you paint the shapes of an object, then a monochrome is entirely sufficient, like a greyscale, or any range of shades and tints of any colour.

Robert, there is a confusion about warmest/coolest. I've looked into it, and the only explanation I've been able to come up with is that orange is the warmest, and blue the coolest. But, that violet pigment, being a mixture of red and blue, is of a very dark value, while yellow is of the lightest value. Therefore, the impressionists tend to use yellow as the brightest light, and violet as the darkest shadows (the inherent values of those colours). It is also said that yellow is the colour that fades first as light wanes, or as distance increases. So I think it is a confusion of terminology that calls yellow the 'warmest'. It really is the brightest light, and the pigment that needs the least amount of white to lighten it further. (There is absolutely no consensus amongst artists on this, but a majority tend to think of a red-orange as 'warmest'. And some blue as 'coolest'.)

Charlie

robertsloan2
01-15-2010, 10:15 AM
Charlie, thank you for pointing out my typo! Yes, I did mean that a purplish blue was a "Warm Blue." I'm somewhat parroting that because it seems like half of the books say purplish is the Warm Blue and greenish the Cold Blue, while to me the turquoise greener blues look warmer. Probably because I associate them with tropical waters and summer skies in warm climates versus the colder purplish wintry skies in the North and purplish winter shadows on snow.

Someone else in an article made a very poetic point that greenish blues look like ice in glaciers! Which is true, glacial ice can look that wonderful blue-green.

I like your interpretation -- blues get warmer the closer they get to red or yellow and get colder as they go toward pure blue. Orange vs. Blue as the heart of the warm/cold scheme makes sense to me. You're right that value tends to make people think of the yellow/violet axis as warm/cold too, but when values are the same the blue and orange pair is clearly the "one's the warmest and the other the coldest."

I know that having a warm/cool pair in each primary and secondary is very useful. Whichever one I think of as the warm orange, having two of them helps a lot when doing anything. Whichever blue reads as "warm" having them to contrast each other helps a lot in mixing.

When I want bright greens, I'll pick the greenish yellows and the greener blues to mix. Pthalo Blue with Lemon Yellow in watercolor or oils or acrylics always gives that eye-popping bright green I love, while Ultramarine and Cadmium Yellow Medium or its equivalent will give a more muted green.

I'm only starting to get it that it helps to use those as accents rather than overdo them, but then I'm too crazy about green for words. Using violets in foliage is helping me a lot. For some reason violet shadows really work in foliage. I noticed this in some of your paintings and some of Deborah Secor's, then started applying it in mine.

Your new banner with a detail from Orangerie is gorgeous, btw. Nice crop and gorgeous detail. It's a clear reminder to me that shadows can go all the way to purple and turquoise and blue without losing the sense of greenery, and that orange does belong in the sunlit areas of foliage without it losing its identity! I let myself go with color in my latest Pans one, think it came out a lot richer for that.

inmystudio
01-15-2010, 05:24 PM
Thanks for the fantastic replies and tutorials, I'm making up a reference folder so I'll print all this out to read slowly later, while I am reading it I'll scribble the colours you mention with my pastels, that should give me a good understanding of the colours you are talking about. I'll also do the exercise thanks.

cheers Deborah.

Deborah Secor
01-15-2010, 05:42 PM
There's an example of this value exercise on my blog: http://deborahsecor.blogspot.com/2008/10/complementary-underpainting.html

Deborah

Mary Y
01-15-2010, 07:58 PM
Deborah Au ,
Thank you for starting this thread, and Deborah, Robert and Charlie for all the great information.
I tried Deborah's study on complementary colours (one I found here on WC) and I had been meaning to ask about the yellows as mine all seemed very light compared to the other values.

So thank you Charlie.I need to do it again with an ochre or olive green.
Mary

DAK723
01-15-2010, 11:33 PM
My question:

If you read my summary below do I understand value?

The value of a coulor is basically how dark or light it is? from what I understand you should be able to paint a picture in what ever unrealistic colours you want but if all those colours have the correct value(dark/light) the picture as a whole will make sense and if you scan it and the original into grey tones they will actually look very similar?

So is colour value only important in this term of light and dark? to add depth and shade?

The simple answer to your question - The value of a color is basically how dark or light it is? - is yes! And as others have mentioned, being able to judge the value of a color is not always easy. Blues, for some reason, seem to be the hardest for me (and others) to judge - which is too bad considering skies and water are often blue!

It is often quoted that "if the value is correct, you can use any color". I, personally like to add "if the value is correct, you can use any color and the subject is still recognizable". Because if you want to capture the essence of light and atmosphere, than the color choice is often just as important as the correct value, in my opinion, sometimes more so.

When doing a color painting, one needs to be aware of the 4 properties of color as they all play a part in modeling form, creating depth and creating areas of emphasis in a painting. The hue (yellow, red, blue-green, etc), the value (as mentioned), the intensity (is it bright or dull) and the temperature (cool or warm). And, of course, colors are never seen in isolation, but in comparison to the colors next to them.

In very general terms, colors become lighter in value as the distance increases. They become cooler (becoming more bluish), and become duller as well. Having a color become warmer and more intense will tend to bring it forward. A greater value/color contrast will also bring something forward, objects in the distance will have less value/color contrast.

All this is why working in color is harder than working in black and white!

Don

DAK723
01-15-2010, 11:49 PM
There is absolutely no consensus amongst artists on this, but a majority tend to think of a red-orange as 'warmest'. And some blue as 'coolest'.

Charlie
The best explanation I have seen for orange being the warmest and blue the coolest is that orange is the only color on the color wheel that stays warm when mixed with the colors on each side. A yellow mixed with green would be considered as becoming cool to many, as would a red mixed with violet. The same is true for blue - still cool when mixed with green or violet.

Don

Colorix
01-17-2010, 05:30 PM
Don, thank you, I hadn't heard that one, and to me too it makes very good sense.

Charlie

inmystudio
01-17-2010, 05:48 PM
Thanks again I appreciate the time you guys put into answering all my questions, I haven't being able to find a course/class in my area at a time that I can commit to so this forum and your answers are my teachers:)

Cheers Deb

Colorix
01-17-2010, 05:57 PM
Deb, I learned *everything* about pastels here, in this forum. It is a goldmine, a free university! Have fun!

Charlie