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Old 06-16-2017, 12:30 PM
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Michaelmcg Michaelmcg is offline
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Purple Paint. Any Advice?

I'm primarily a landscape painter and prefer to work en plein air mostly. Every so often, I dabble in close-ups of wild flowers and other plants, always from life rather than photos (well I get them almost finished on location). When the sun is shining, there is no problem painting bright sunlit flowers, as long as they are warm (yellow-orange-light red). The cadmiums pack a real punch and because cadmium yellow pale, for example, is both highly chromatic and light in value out of the tube, it can be used to lighten sunlit parts of orange flowers.

The problem arises when painting cooler flowers in sunlight. Anything in the Magenta - Cerulean Blue wedge of the colour wheel causes difficulty. A lot of flowers are either warm or cool purple and these are I suspect impossible to paint convincingly in sunlight (it is less of an issue in overcast conditions). My palette colours in this range are Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Magenta, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue (all by Winsor & Newton). These are in the 6-8 range of a nine point value scale, so quite dark direct from the tube. So they have to be lightened a lot to suggest the light is falling on petals. The trouble is, if you use white, this dulls the colour as well as lightening the value. And, if you add a warm colour to the white, it still doesn't overcome the shortfall in chroma.

Just wondering if anyone knows of a paint which might help. What I'm looking for is an intense warm and or cool purple which is also light in tone/value direct from the tube.


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Old 06-16-2017, 08:21 PM
emc1024 emc1024 is online now
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Re: Purple Paint. Any Advice?

I'm fond of mixing either permanent alizarin crimson or permanent rose with french ultramarine. I've tried this with both acrylic and watercolor. Paint right out of the tube yields a rich, dark violet which thins (either with white or more water) to a pale lilac.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:26 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Purple Paint. Any Advice?

I paint flowers a lot. I've found that the best "purples", or "violets" can be created with mixtures of Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose 502 (PV19), and Ultramarine Blue (PB29).

Now, these are both transparent colors, and in order to appear as anything but dark, dull, low-chroma blobs of paint, they must have at least some amount of White mixed with them.

Transparent colors such as these have an interesting characteristic: When they are in their fresh-squeezed form, they appear (and are) very dark, dull, and low-chroma. However, when even a small amount of White (ANY White) is mixed with them, they literally burst into high-chroma hues.

Of course as with many things that are controllable, with increasingly larger amounts of White being added to the mixture, their chroma (saturation, intensity, purity) increases, until the addition further quantities of White serves no purpose than to begin bring the chroma lower, once again.

If plotted on a curve with "Addition of White" on the X axis, and "total chroma" on the Y axis, it will form a bell curve, with the greatest chroma being at the peak of the curve.

The "trick", if there is one, is to add just enough white so that the transparent color(s) have reached their maximum chroma, without having added so much White that the chroma begins to decrease once again. One cannot know, with any certainty, at just what point is the highest chroma, without having a color-measuring instrument to determine that. One must just do his best to determine that visually. And, of course, you must realize that with every addition of White the color in not only becoming higher, and higher in its chroma, .....but also lighter.

So, the addition of White to any transparent color is not detrimental to the overall chroma of the color; to the contrary--it actually increases the chroma, to a point, until so much has been added that it begins to neutralize the color once again. (White is neutral, so ....add enough White, and any color will eventually become White, by pure logic.)

Another color that may save a lot of mixing is Dioxazine Purple (PV23RS) It, too, is transparent, so it follows the same scenario as any other transparent color, with the addition of White. Selecting Dioxazine Purple, and then doping it with small quantities of (PV19), and (PV29) causing it to skew one way, or the other within the flower, is an excellent way to paint purple flowers.

If you desire light, very subtle Lavender colors, the addition of Ivory Black to Permanent Rose (PV19), and lots of White will result in very beautiful, and controllable lavender colors. I use that procedure quite routinely when painting my flowers.
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Last edited by WFMartin : 06-17-2017 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 06-20-2017, 02:54 AM
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Michaelmcg Michaelmcg is offline
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Re: Purple Paint. Any Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emc1024
I'm fond of mixing either permanent alizarin crimson or permanent rose with french ultramarine. I've tried this with both acrylic and watercolor. Paint right out of the tube yields a rich, dark violet which thins (either with white or more water) to a pale lilac.

Thanks Marshall. I think I have French Ultramarine somewhere.

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Old 06-20-2017, 03:02 AM
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Michaelmcg Michaelmcg is offline
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Re: Purple Paint. Any Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin
I paint flowers a lot. I've found that the best "purples", or "violets" can be created with mixtures of Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose 502 (PV19), and Ultramarine Blue (PB29).

Now, these are both transparent colors, and in order to appear as anything but dark, dull, low-chroma blobs of paint, they must have at least some amount of White mixed with them.

Transparent colors such as these have an interesting characteristic: When they are in their fresh-squeezed form, they appear (and are) very dark, dull, and low-chroma. However, when even a small amount of White (ANY White) is mixed with them, they literally burst into high-chroma hues.

Of course as with many things that are controllable, with increasingly larger amounts of White being added to the mixture, their chroma (saturation, intensity, purity) increases, until the addition further quantities of White serves no purpose than to begin bring the chroma lower, once again.

If plotted on a curve with "Addition of White" on the X axis, and "total chroma" on the Y axis, it will form a bell curve, with the greatest chroma being at the peak of the curve.

The "trick", if there is one, is to add just enough white so that the transparent color(s) have reached their maximum chroma, without having added so much White that the chroma begins to decrease once again. One cannot know, with any certainty, at just what point is the highest chroma, without having a color-measuring instrument to determine that. One must just do his best to determine that visually. And, of course, you must realize that with every addition of White the color in not only becoming higher, and higher in its chroma, .....but also lighter.

So, the addition of White to any transparent color is not detrimental to the overall chroma of the color; to the contrary--it actually increases the chroma, to a point, until so much has been added that it begins to neutralize the color once again. (White is neutral, so ....add enough White, and any color will eventually become White, by pure logic.)

Another color that may save a lot of mixing is Dioxazine Purple (PV23RS) It, too, is transparent, so it follows the same scenario as any other transparent color, with the addition of White. Selecting Dioxazine Purple, and then doping it with small quantities of (PV19), and (PV29) causing it to skew one way, or the other within the flower, is an excellent way to paint purple flowers.

If you desire light, very subtle Lavender colors, the addition of Ivory Black to Permanent Rose (PV19), and lots of White will result in very beautiful, and controllable lavender colors. I use that procedure quite routinely when painting my flowers.

Thanks for all that very useful advice, Bill. I think I have all those pigments somewhere. Will experiment. I still think that most cool colours don't pack the punch of the warmer cadmiums, even with added white. I vaguely remember seeing a "colour wheel" (was it by someone called "Miller"), where he plotted a whole range of pigments at their most intense chroma (either straight from the tube or with added white) and the cadmiums where near the perimeter of the wheel while all the cooler colours where inside the disc somewhat.

Michael
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