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Old 10-15-2018, 10:40 PM
ldavid ldavid is offline
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Burnt umber woes

Is burnt umber a color I should be avoiding (aside from the fact that it “sinks”- do you find it fills your outdoor work?
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:00 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

I use BU all the time, but I'm not an outdoor painter. I paint portraits 90+% of the time. Thus, the BU I use is always part of a mix of colors and generally not the main or only color used. I like it because it tends to promote drying of others colors mixed with it. If I were going to paint a large, dark passage, I would probably mix a dark with other colors rather than using too much BU. Since BU tends to go flat (dry out quickly), some artists oil out their BU passages to keep them from sinking in.
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:05 AM
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macrobertson macrobertson is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

I don't know any reason to avoid using Burnt Umber. I use it, and Raw Umber in portraits (Vasari paints because of their intensity) and I use them (cheaper brands) in my landscape palette mainly for convenience in getting some of the darks in tree trunks and the like, it's not a necessity and there are other convenient darks equally useful.

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Old 10-27-2018, 09:50 AM
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chiefswift chiefswift is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

Good Morning Lisa

I do carry the burnt and raw colors into the field BUT find that...

-naples yellow (sometimes with a bit of cadmium to really make it pop)
-yellow orche
-sepia
-and lastly sometime paynes grey/neautral tint, but more often deep violets and blues

...make for a more successful painting (in my personal style & opinion)

The problem with a color like Burnt Umber is it's sort of a mid-dark, neutral tone. It requires the brush to be REALLY loaded with paint to stand out. Unless placed to a light or bright color, or "white of the paper," it's easily lost value wise. Also, if you place it next to another mid tone or darker wash you risk the whole painting "muddying." Burnt Umber is also a little granulated making it difficult to life, and even more so to wipe off quickly outside. And though it's listed as none staining, I find Winsor Newton's to leave color behind in my experience

In my opinion, Burnt Umber is better left for studio work where you have time to plan and avoid those sorts of pitfalls

Hope that long explanation or my experience with it is of any use. If you want to use the color I would consider confidently painting it in with some real value contrast other than black/greys,

-Nick

Edit: Sorry Lisa, I took a look at your website and it appeared you were working with oils I think some of the Burnt Umber info is still pertinent, but please disregard any regarding watercolor.

Last edited by chiefswift : 10-27-2018 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Watercolor vs Oil
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:22 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

Nick . . . take another look. Burnt Umber is a dark red.
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Old 10-27-2018, 02:08 PM
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chiefswift chiefswift is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by budigart
Nick . . . take another look. Burnt Umber is a dark red.

If you take a look at my profile you'll see I"m red/green colorblind

However I do paint plein air most weekends, and I hope my experience with Burnt Umber based on values (darks & lights), might still be of use

-Nick
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:25 PM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

That's too bad. But it may help (not sure how) knowing that BU is a very dark red. Old Holland BU makes a great "base" for flesh color. Lay it out in a string, lightening it with white, and you'll see it begin to mimic ordinary Caucasian flesh tones. By adding a touch of red or orange, you can achieve some rather realistic flesh tones. My basic flesh palette is Old Holland BU, Rembrandt permanent madder deep (sub for aliz crims), yellow ocher and either ivory black or Old Holland Italian Black Roman Earth (used for making neutrals), and RGH cremnitz white.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:43 PM
ldavid ldavid is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

All good advice- I’ve tried mixing it with primaries instead but it’s so convenient!
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:37 PM
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Re: Burnt umber woes

I'm liking raw umber these days for plein air landscape painting. It greys down the colors I mix with my split-primary palette nicely. Great for dulling down a blue sky that is too intense.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:59 AM
TomMather TomMather is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

I love burnt umber and use it more than any color except ultramarine blue and titanium white. However, I mainly use it for mixing. It makes a nice grey mixed with ultramarine and white. It makes a near black mixed with ultramarine. Add a little yellow, and it makes a very dark green. I often use it to sketch in the composition on a new canvas. It’s a great color for mixing grays in rocks, tree trunks, sand and oil. As others mentioned, it also speeds drying.

As far as sinking in goes, it is more prone than many colors. However, you can alleviate that by adding more medium when mixing colors, or by oiling out after the painting dries.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:54 AM
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Re: Burnt umber woes

I am a plein air painter, but I don't use oils, rather acrylics, watercolors, Ceracolors, etc. In those media BU is highly useful for darkening yellow range colors. You cannot use black for that purpose as black is usually really a blue, so it comes out greenish. But for yellows that BU is a perfect way to create darker shades. In watercolors it helps to mix dark shades toward black, since already mixed black is superfluous in WC.

On its own I try not to use it. In acrylics I'm finding that it tends to flatten the painting in a way that I don't particularly like. Because I'm not using oils, how it impacts drying is beyond me.
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Old 11-18-2018, 05:17 AM
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Re: Burnt umber woes

BU is great for greying down blues and in other mixes as is raw umber. I use it in oils, acrylics and watercolours (along with a lot of transparent colours).

I like Griffin Alkyd quick drying oils - all colours dry at the same rate
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:21 AM
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Ted Bunker Ted Bunker is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

I've read that before WW1 some of the Roman academies turned their students loose on the city with only Burnt Umber and Flake White. It was very inexpensive paint (starving artists...) and they could concentrate on tone, composition and technique without the distraction of "color". And BU is typically very fast drying.

So many outdoor paintings ultimately "fail" due to poor mastery of value and too-much chroma.
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:42 PM
DK4242 DK4242 is offline
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Re: Burnt umber woes

Burnt umber is good for making black and dropping chroma. A little bit goes a long ways.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:27 AM
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Re: Burnt umber woes

You might want to avoid applying it in thick mixtures over other paint, but it is one of the best colours to use for underpainting or early thin stages IMO.
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