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Old 01-04-2017, 01:41 PM
hp2 hp2 is offline
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Greys

In mixing colors, I have found that many interesting/complex colors include a lot of white/black (most often the initial mix become almost unrecognizable on adding these).

While I note that it’s suggested to normally use white/black sparingly, in these cases they could be up to 50% of the mix. Are there preferable ways to handle this - i.e. mix your own black and then make greys from that mix?

Using/mixing a tube black and adding titanium white seems problematic as they are so strong. Maybe if you are careful, either way is ok. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 01-04-2017, 02:25 PM
Michael Lion Michael Lion is offline
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Re: Greys

I use Gamblin Portland Gray Dark and Portland Gray Medium.

Will someone demonstrate why that's bad?
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:37 PM
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Delofasht Delofasht is offline
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Re: Greys

Mixing a range of grays from your own mix of black is a good way to quickly modify colors. Titanium white is a strong mixer indeed, and often tends to cool mixes as well, one merely learn how to control this to effectively hit their target color and value. I tend to aim for less of the white then I would think needed and mix it together thoroughly before adding more. Best to make steps toward the target color then try to mix it directly on the first try, often times a lot less white is used than we would think needed.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:12 PM
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Pinguino Pinguino is offline
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Re: Greys

I'm with Michael. Portland Gray Medium has been an eye-opener for me. It's white/black adjusted with a little earth color, to be truly neutral (and I've verified this as well as I can). Take some of it, add just a little of a high-chroma color of any kind, and be amazed. Needs comparison to other colors for full effect.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:31 PM
Ratchet Ratchet is offline
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Re: Greys

I mixed genuine Prussian Blue and PR 112. Then I added a bit of something, perhaps a yellow trying to get a particular shade of Royal Blue. The result was something I called "Pita" because I couldn't get it to go to the right shade of slightly reddish blue. And it was dark, almost black.
Now I use it for grey. I think that is Paynes Grey. It works well as a gray but it is dark. If I lighten it, it is a gun metal shade, with the blue/violet metallic cast of polished steel.
Strange color, but very useful for dark shadows.

Last edited by Ratchet : 05-17-2017 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:32 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Greys

For some painters there seems to be some sort of penchant for seeking a "perfect gray". Technically, a "perfect gray" is one that plots in the dead center of a 2-dimensional color wheel.

It represents true neutral, being defined as a value that emits an equal reflection of Red, Green, and Blue light.

Personally, for me, rather than seeking a perfect gray, I usually opt for a consistent one, whether it is perfectly neutral, or not. Once you become accustomed to working with a consistent gray, its neutral perfection becomes less important. Working with a consistent gray when mixing it with colors from day to day, you become quite accustomed to dealing with it in terms of mixing-to-match colors, for which that gray serves as a component. For that purpose, a plain ol', tubed Black can't be beat, as long as you use the same one from day to day.

However, for those who are more dedicated to using near-perfect gray only, a good way to do that is to create one. One can purchase a commercially-available gray scale (step tablet), and then match your gray paint mixture to the step, or steps on that gray scale. Whether or not that commercial gray scale is "perfect" in its neutrality may be up for discussion, but generally I's suggest that it is surely closer to being true neutral than any "guess" I could make by eyeballing my mixed result.

For those who are enthused with the expensive Munsell Color Model, the center of the model represents a series of gray values, and if you believe that those grays represent a closer version of true, neutral gray than other, cheaper, commercially-available, gray scales, then I'd say go for it.

Personally, I believe a rather acceptable neutral gray can be created by beginning with a tubed Black, such as Ivory Black, or Mars Black, and then adding just enough Raw Umber to it to bring it to neutrality. Usually tubed Blacks seem a bit "Blue" in their nature, and the addition of a Brown, in the form of an Umber will usually neutralize it to a rather neutral gray.

Beginning the mixture of your gray with a tubed Black provides the important "consistency" of which I spoke. It is so much more consistent than attempting to create a neutral gray by mixing complements, or numerous other colors. Also, when creating a "gray" by mixing other colors together, you often experience the overtones that occur with each color that serves as an ingredient in the mixture. This might actually create a condition in which the hue of the "gray" may shift, as more and more white is added to the mixture. This is less likely to occur when using a tubed Black, treated with a color such as Umber.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:24 PM
Ratchet Ratchet is offline
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Re: Greys

WF Martin, Thanks for the tip about adding Raw Umber to Black. I have a bone black that casts sometimes blue, sometimes green. I will add some umber and see if it will behave.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:22 AM
Mythrill Mythrill is offline
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Re: Greys

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin

However, for those who are more dedicated to using near-perfect gray only, a good way to do that is to create one. One can purchase a commercially-available gray scale (step tablet), and then match your gray paint mixture to the step, or steps on that gray scale. Whether or not that commercial gray scale is “perfect” in its neutrality may be up for discussion, but generally I’s suggest that it is surely closer to being true neutral than any “guess” I could make by eyeballing my mixed result.

I’d go farther and argue there’s no such thing as a perfect neutral, as it would need to neutralize all colors without hue shift. That is: magenta is still perceptually magenta when darkened; blue is still perceptually blue; cyan is still perceptually cyan; and yellow is still perceptually yellow.

The problem with all regular “perfect neutrals” – and that includes Munsell’s – is that when mixed with yellow, it will still make it shift towards a perceptual green. To make it not shift, you would need to add different proportions of magenta depending on the amount of gray in the mix. And even then, we could argue that, as the mix gets desaturated, it leans closer and closer to gray itself, not the original color it is darkening. At some point, no color will remain, and the hue will be close to the gray value.

That being said, I don’t think a perfect neutral is important at all. As Bill said, what’s more important is that grays are used consistently within a drawing or painting, and that they look harmonious – for example, they shouldn’t unpleasantly deaden the color they are being mixed to (unless that is the goal, of course!)
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:32 AM
Mythrill Mythrill is offline
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Re: Greys

Here is an example from the Munsell page itself. This could be described as a primary yellow darkened with a neutral gray http://munsell.com/color-blog/mixing...-foxton-part2/.



Would you call the mixes resulting from this combination yellow or green?
I’m sure most people would call it “dark green”, especially if they didn’t know the mix came from yellow and a supposedly neutral gray.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:40 PM
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Re: Greys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mythrill
I’d go farther and argue there’s no such thing as a perfect neutral, as it would need to neutralize all colors without hue shift. That is: magenta is still perceptually magenta when darkened; blue is still perceptually blue; cyan is still perceptually cyan; and yellow is still perceptually yellow.

The problem with all regular “perfect neutrals” – and that includes Munsell’s – is that when mixed with yellow, it will still make it shift towards a perceptual green. To make it not shift, you would need to add different proportions of magenta depending on the amount of gray in the mix. And even then, we could argue that, as the mix gets desaturated, it leans closer and closer to gray itself, not the original color it is darkening. At some point, no color will remain, and the hue will be close to the gray value.

That being said, I don’t think a perfect neutral is important at all. As Bill said, what’s more important is that grays are used consistently within a drawing or painting, and that they look harmonious – for example, they shouldn’t unpleasantly deaden the color they are being mixed to (unless that is the goal, of course!)

I believe you will find that "darkening" any primary color, especially Yellow, or Magenta, will cause a hue shift, and it's really not because of the Gray paint, or Black paint exhibiting any sort of color bias--it is because a primary color is composed of equal reflectance of two of the primary colors of light, Red, Green, and Blue.

When a primary color, such as Yellow is darkened [with almost any "darkening agent"] , the primary color begins to exhibit its "other" color.

When Yellow is darkened, it begins to show its "Green-ness". (Yellow is composed of equal quantities of Red, and Green light.)

When Magenta is darkened, it begins to show its "Blue-ness". (Magenta is composed of equal quantities of Red, and Blue light.)

I suggest for your consideration, that even if you were to begin with a perfectly neutral gray, the addition of that gray to either Yellow, or Magenta would, in fact, still cause Yellow to shift toward Green, and Magenta to shift toward Violet.

I have seen Primary Yellow shift toward Green, even when adding a bit of Raw Umber as the "darkening agent", and Umber doesn't even smack at being "Blue", or "Cyan", at all.
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Old 05-21-2017, 05:44 PM
Mythrill Mythrill is offline
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Re: Greys

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin

I have seen Primary Yellow shift toward Green, even when adding a bit of Raw Umber as the “darkening agent”, and Umber doesn’t even smack at being “Blue”, or “Cyan”, at all.

Hi, Bill!

I suppose that if you made a gray from a certain proportion of black and magenta, it would make an ochre mix that would be perceived as dark yellow. However, it wouldn’t be neutral at all.

Golden’s Virtual paint mixer suggests adding as little as 4% Quinacridone Magenta (PR 122) to the mix will give this effect.




My tests suggest any other red-orange (such as Pyrrole Red Light, PR 255) could achieve this.

Last edited by Mythrill : 05-21-2017 at 06:23 PM.
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