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Old 02-13-2018, 05:18 AM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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What is masstone and undertone?

Hi all,
I am new to painting and have a lot to learn about colours.
I am using Aterlier Interactive and was looking at their colours on their website and every colour shows undertone and masstone. For example, I am using this blue...
http://atelieracrylic.com/atelier-in...lue-red-shade/

I do not know what this means. Could someone please explain.
Reason I ask is also because I am trying to mix this colour as per the first image below but keep getting as per my painting in the second attached which looks kind of like a light navy.
I add white but don't get vibrant blue. I looked at the Atelier range of blues and nothing comes close. Confused with what to do to get the blue I want.



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Old 02-13-2018, 09:30 AM
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Humbaba Humbaba is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

The flower in the first image can be painted by following a simple procedure called Scumbling.

Draw the flower
Paint this drawing white
Once the flower is dry to the touch, mix the basic 9 shades of your blue, or just a dark, middle, light tone.

Proceed to paint your flower, laying the darks first, after that, the middle tones, and finally, the light areas. If necessary. You need to manipulate the paint so that the white underpainting can be seen through the lighter areas (scumbling), this can be achieved with a clean brush, or a white piece of cotton cloth.

Practice, practice.

Last edited by Humbaba : 02-13-2018 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:38 AM
Mythrill Mythrill is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

That is probably solved with good old French Ultramarine Blue (PB 29). Give it a try.
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Old 02-13-2018, 02:52 PM
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Pinguino Pinguino is online now
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

1. To answer the title question: Masstone is the color of the thick paint, straight from the tube. Undertone is seen when the paint is greatly diluted, either by mixing with white, or by using a thin layer (glaze).

Roughly speaking, a paint is blue because it absorbs non-blue light, and either bounces back the blue light (if opaque) or allows the blue light to penetrate and bounce off the underlying material (if transparent).

But no real paint absorbs all non-blue colors at the same rate. If a paint with blue masstone happens to absorb reds faster than greens, then it will have an aqua undertone. If it happens to absorb greens faster then reds, then it will have a purplish undertone.

Undertones can be desirable, as they add color variation. But they can be surprising, if you don't know the undertone and it goes the wrong direction from what you intend.

2. Phthalo Blue is often produced in a "red shade" or a "green shade." These are just names. The "green shade" does lean slightly toward green, so it is really like a blue-cyan color. The "red shade" does not really have any red to it, but the name is meant to suggest that the blue leans away from green.

In general, the more transparent a pigment, the more the undertone will be noticeable. The Phthalo colors are very transparent. The slight shift from blue-blue to purplish-blue (with the "red shade") is hard to notice. But the slight shift from blue-blue to greenish-blue (with the "green shade") is quite noticeable.

3. Now, to your flower painting: Many colors are most vivid (colorful) straight from the tube, without mixing with white. Others, particularly the Phthalos, are most vivid when mixed with just a tiny bit of white, or when used in thin layers over a whitish background. In your case, you were using too much white, and the vividness of the color was lost.

The previous answer, regarding scumbling, is one way to deal with this. Scumbling places a layer of white (or a light color) over a prior dark layer, without mixing. That's why the prior layer must be allowed to dry (not a problem with Chroma Atelier). An alternative would be glazing, in which a thin layer of the pure dark color is placed over a previously-dried lighter color.

4. I believe that this web site has a sub-forum specifically for users of your paint brand, which has some unique properties. Find it here: Wet Canvas > Explore Media > Acrylics > Partner: Chroma

Last edited by Pinguino : 02-13-2018 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:41 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Thank you heaps guys.
I have sooo much to learn it is overwhelming almost.
I checked out YouTube for scumbling as I'd never heard of it or seen it.
So I should repaint the flower white and then add the blues?
Or try glazing over it as is?
I might try Ultramarine as was suggested.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:36 PM
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

It's a matter of style. I use oils rather than acrylics, and personally have a hard time with scumbling. Others, more experienced, would not have a problem.

So, in this case, I'd glaze (ultramarine is OK, so is Phthalo Blue) over what you have now. Since you are using a nearly transparent color (especially if you thin it a bit with the medium), the thicker the glaze, the more blue. So there's no need to do that on areas that will subsequently be lighter.

Finish with scumbling. I believe that's much easier to do with Chroma Atelier acrylics than with oils, since you will have less of a problem with inter-mixing if you use multiple colors.

Hint: It seems that a lot of quick-video artists like to demonstrate wet-on-wet styles, since it all happens faster (and thus is well suited to a short video). But wet-on-wet is difficult for new artists, since the colors tend to mingle and thus become "muddy." Take your time, and do layers.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:44 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Thank you.
Yeah I am going to do layers.
I was going to go and buy ultramarine blue but will stick with pthalo red shade.
So to make it more blue and vibrant I should scumble white paint over it?
Sorry a bit confused.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:50 PM
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Do the blue first. Think about scumbling later. Remember to let the blue dry, before scumbling.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:04 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinguino
Do the blue first. Think about scumbling later. Remember to let the blue dry, before scumbling.

Should I try adding more pthalo blue and less white to get it to be more vibrant? I reckon ultramarine looks more vibrant on the Atelier website.
Thanks.

Last edited by Mario_K : 02-13-2018 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:22 AM
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

No white at all. Stay with Phthalo for now, and learn how to use it. Very thin layers, with medium.

Now, although this sub-forum is about color mixing, it's mostly visited by those who have a scientific interest in the nature of color pigments and their interactions. That's not the information you seek. So, I suggest that you will find more useful information on the sub-forums about acrylic painting, and about Chroma Atelier colors.

In particular, look at posts made by previous learners, to see what they did.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:34 AM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinguino
No white at all. Stay with Phthalo for now, and learn how to use it. Very thin layers, with medium.

Now, although this sub-forum is about color mixing, it's mostly visited by those who have a scientific interest in the nature of color pigments and their interactions. That's not the information you seek. So, I suggest that you will find more useful information on the sub-forums about acrylic painting, and about Chroma Atelier colors.

In particular, look at posts made by previous learners, to see what they did.

Thank you.
I just got home from an art store, got a tube of ultramarine and a size 10 flat for scrubling. Didn't see your post as the forum was down.
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:06 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

The term, "masstone", refers to the appearance of oil paint in a thick pile, as it comes freshly-squeezed from the tube. Many paints appear nearly Black, in this state, especially the transparent paints.

The term, "undertone" refers to the appearance of that same paint when it is subjected to a "drawdown", scraping a swatch of it down, over a white substrate.

The term, "overtone" refers to the appearance of that same paint when White paint is mixed with it.

(Sometimes, the apparent color of the paint is different when subjected to a drawdown, as compared to mixing White with it. In such a case, a paint will exhibit a different colors in a drawdown, than when mixed with White--thus, an overtone, and an undertone of the same paint will appear to be a slightly different color.)
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:16 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin
The term, "masstone", refers to the appearance of oil paint in a thick pile, as it comes freshly-squeezed from the tube. Many paints appear nearly Black, in this state, especially the transparent paints.

The term, "undertone" refers to the appearance of that same paint when it is subjected to a "drawdown", scraping a swatch of it down, over a white substrate.

The term, "overtone" refers to the appearance of that same paint when White paint is mixed with it.

(Sometimes, the apparent color of the paint is different when subjected to a drawdown, as compared to mixing White with it. In such a case, a paint will exhibit a different colors in a drawdown, than when mixed with White--thus, an overtone, and an undertone of the same paint will appear to be a slightly different color.)

Thank you for explaining that to me
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:17 PM
Mario_K Mario_K is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mythrill
That is probably solved with good old French Ultramarine Blue (PB 29). Give it a try.

I tried that colour and it came out like navy.
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Old 02-24-2018, 06:12 AM
Mythrill Mythrill is offline
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Re: What is masstone and undertone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario_K
I tried that colour and it came out like navy.

It's very rare that a color will be what you want out of the box. This is even truer with the Phthalos, which will be almost black in masstone.

Keep slowly adding Titanium White (PW 6) and a bit of clear gel (gloss or matte medium) to reach the color you want. If it's too light, just add Ultramarine again.
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