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Old 05-02-2012, 02:09 PM
JaPizzy JaPizzy is offline
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Seeking color knowledge

Hello,

I'm an airbrush artist mainly, but have done some conventional brush paintings, and detail some airbrush work with a hairy stick.

I am seeking some color/pigment information from people that are not mainly airbrush artists.

There is a LOT of drama in the airbrush world right now with regards to color theory. I'm not going to name names, or cross post from other forums, but there is a lot of conflict to be sure.

The crux of it that I can see is that some parties are laying claim that other instructors are for the most part stealing and teaching their color theory from one common source being one persons teaching material. This is mostly about how to apply colors that have been mixed with titanium white, or how titanium white alone applies through an airbrush. My argument is that you can't copyright how colors behave because it's a matter of physical characteristics.

Some info that may be useful is that when sprayed, white produces a "blue shift" in the haze of over spray, and this can muddy surrounding colors. It's why it's so hard to make corrections with white when airbrushing.

One of my arguments is that this happens because when applied thinly white has a cooler feel, as I see it. Like if you put a very thin white glaze over another color it will have this cooler "bluer" appearance. So it's not really a problem purely with airbrushing, so you can't really lay claim to being the only major source of how to deal with this. It's a characteristic of white.

So my question to you guys is this. Does anyone else notice this cooling or "blueing" effect of white when applied thinly with a brush. And I mean thinly because the blue shifting happens when in the overspray mostly because I think it's because the white is opticly mixing with the underlying color and causing the distortion.

I know it probably doesn't come up much in the traditional world. But I wanted to seek some more info so I can determin if my opinions and observations are valid.

Some people in that realm seem to want credit for every artist and instructor's work that follows after that artist has taken their initial instruction. I say that I don't give credit for every tip I give in drawing to the instructors I've taken because they've shown me because I've learned from many sources and it's mostly basic techniques and theory that is taught by many sources.

Thanks for any info and sorry for the rambling post.

James
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:57 PM
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Patrick1 Patrick1 is offline
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaPizzy
So my question to you guys is this. Does anyone else notice this cooling or "blueing" effect of white when applied thinly with a brush. And I mean thinly because the blue shifting happens when in the overspray mostly because I think it's because the white is opticly mixing with the underlying color and causing the distortion.
Hi James, this is effect is common and has been noticed and talked about for a long time on this forum. It's not just limited to paints; spread milk over anything black like asphalt and you'll also get this blueing effect. Thinly-applied white paint can also make other colors appear bluer - for example over top of red, it can make the red look a tiny bit more purplish. If the white paint is applied too thick or opaque, you don't get this effect.

I'm guessing it is a result of the microscopic particles suspended in the liquid or paint reflecting & scattering some of the shorter (bluer) wavelengths while allowing more of the longer wavelengths pass though unaffected. This explanation for why the sky is blue is called Rayleigh scattering. I'm guessing this is what's happening here but I could be wrong.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:03 AM
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mek42 mek42 is offline
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

Do you see the same effect when using zinc white through the airbrush instead of titanium?

Also, do you see the same effect if you started the airbrush work with an even, multiple coat, opaque layer of titanium white? This way you would know for sure that your painting surface was the same white as the titanium white used afterward.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:45 AM
JaPizzy JaPizzy is offline
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by mek42
Do you see the same effect when using zinc white through the airbrush instead of titanium?

Also, do you see the same effect if you started the airbrush work with an even, multiple coat, opaque layer of titanium white? This way you would know for sure that your painting surface was the same white as the titanium white used afterward.

If you build it up over a masked area so you don't have the hazy overspray region, and spray it opaquely, I don't notice it as much except that the titanium white is very bright if you're working on a paper surface. But like I said, I find that titanium is a bit cool anyways. But you definately don't see the "blueing" anywhere near as bad if it's a solid layer of white. It definately seems to be a situation that comes up when you can see through to the underlying layers if only a little bit.

I've never tried zinc, as I thought it was dangerous to spray, but have wondered the same thing about if it would display the same shifting.

I know I've seen a website where somone performed an experiment with lead white pigment and it didn't show any blue shift at all. It was a dangerous experiment to try with lead being atomized, but it showed that you can in theory have a white that doesn't do that. I wouldn't spray it myself if I could even find lead white in acrylic, or ground lead white pigment, for obvious reasons.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:23 AM
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

I wonder if some of the effect isn't due to the same physics as atmospheric perspective? Light rays being scattered and refracted by tiny particles?

Skim milk definitely looks blue, as do glacial ice and glacier fed lakes which can be a quite startling turquoise blue do to light refracting from the tiny particles of suspended sediment.

I too would be interested to know if other white pigments cause the same effect, but due to the toxicity of both lead and zinc I am not eager to make the experiment.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:03 AM
llawrence llawrence is offline
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

I think it's mainly just temperature contrast, or saturation and simultaneous contrast if you prefer. White will desaturate a warm color and make it grayer, which looks "bluer" when surrounded by warm colors (or even over a warm green).

I'd guess you're not getting the same effect you're describing when painting white over blue.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:57 PM
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

Don’t forget that white is 50% of gray and adding white to any colour will gray it. Take two glasses of coffee and add water to one, and the coffee will lighten and take on some nice clear colour. Add milk to the second and it will become murky and opaque, a dirty ochre. The same thing happens to your paint. When I start a painting I refrain from using white, and prefer to paint thinly over a white gesso. Once you start adding white it becomes difficult to correct the greying effect. Of cause it is a useful tool for desaturateing colour as Llawrence said.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:13 PM
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

Weighing in on white (Acrylic orientation)

I have been keeping track of my color experiments in a notebook - tinting with TiO2, ZN, mix and then gesso, plus thinning and tinting.

I have found a few cases with intensely dark colors where white liquid gesso in place of TiO2 white gives a noticeably different and perhaps better result. Example - Phtalo blue (gr. shade) with white.

Light scattering of gypsum particles in gesso?
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:44 AM
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Gigalot Gigalot is offline
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Re: Seeking color knowledge

The difference among steam and smoke is that steam looks white on a dark background when smoke is bluish. Steam particles are larger than light`s wavelength as smoke particles have comparable size.

However, Zinc White (or titanium) has very fine particles like smoke. Chalk and Gypsum particles are coarser and larger than wavelength and also have a low refractive index.

Last edited by Gigalot : 05-07-2012 at 06:07 AM.
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