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Old 03-15-2011, 03:51 PM
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Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I have been studying Jeanne Dobie's book, Making Color Sing, with my painting friend. Each Tuesday, we work through a chapter and then try to use what we've learned by painting a composition of our own choosing.

Back in September of 2008, I led a Monthly Class entitled The Green Scene where we explored mixing our colours along with some tree studies. At that time, I came to the conclusion (personally) that mixed greens were uninteresting, dull and boring. As a reference, I was using Michael Wilcox's book Yellow and Blue Don't Make Green. It's an excellent resource, but it really didn't help me much with my greens. His School of Color has an online article about Mixing Greens. Sadly, this didn't help me very much, either.

I was looking forward to this chapter in Jeanne's book, because I hoped that I would finally get a good grasp on these mixes. I don't mind telling you how shocked I was that she used Phthalo Green R.S. or Viridian as her base, adjusting it with yellows, blues and/or reds.

So... last week, my friend and I embarked on our own to have another look at how to mix greens from the blues and yellows on our palettes. I will say, that Jeanne's chapter on Octanic Colour had an impact on how I approached this exercise... and it made a huge difference in the resulting mixes.

The first thing I felt I needed to do, was identify the bias of my yellows and blues. It took four attempts at this little wheel before I got it right... It doesn't really mean very much on its own, except to identify the blues that have a red hue, or a green hue and the yellows that have a green hue or an orange hue. It was important to understand these biases when mixing CLEAR greens.

For instance, if I mixed hansa yellow that has a green bias and ultramarine blue that has a red bias, the resulting green is dull. It's dull because green and red are mixing complements which will neutralize the mixed green. Michael Wilcox coins this occurrence as a compound colour.

My Yellow and Blue colour wheel:


I spent quite a bit of time visiting our Colour Theory Forum asking questions about colour temperature. We must understand that overall, we can assess the temperature of a set of colours, or a composition... but, we can't really discern whether or not one blue (or yellow or red) is warmer or cooler than another. They do not recommend this terminology in trying to arrive at good mixes. Instead, they suggested that we address the hue, value and chroma of each colour.

Confused yet? Stay tuned...

Ok... once I understood the colour bias (actually it's the hue) of my blues and yellows, I then created a mixing chart with a one-to-one ratio of pigment. I really wasn't interested in value assessment at this time...



Understanding the bias of my yellows, and then mixing them with like-biased blues created a gorgeous variation of natural colours that can be used in any composition. This simple little chart can become my own personal "base" mixtures that can be further dulled with reds, brightened with more yellows, cooled with blues... or simply diluted with water.

But, where is Jeanne Dobie when we need her? Getting out her book again, and reviewing the chapter, she prefers viridian green as her base. That vibrant green can be mixed with various yellows and blues, dulled with reds and diulted with water to create a myriad of mixtures. It's all good.

Phthalo blue will result in very similar colour. The phthalo is a little stronger and very staining. The advantage of viridian is that it will lift where the phthalo will not,.

I don't have viridian. Based on the mixed greens from my first chart, I do not plan to buy viridian soley on the basis that I can lift it. Phthalo will have to do...

What my friend and I accomplished today, was just a couple of charts. We each set up a blue + green chart and a yellow + green chart. Rather than restricting our charts to phthalo (my friend doesn't have viridian, either), we used all the greens on our respective palettes. Hers is acrylic so it's not relevant here.

Anyway... here's my blue chart...


I played a little with Permanent Rose (PV19) on the bottom row.

Then, we mixed up a yellow chart.


I decided to see what effect burnt sienna and perinone orange would have on my mixtures.

Overall, I'm certainly not as thrilled with these two charts as with the first one. These colours are definitely beautiful and for the most part, they're clean and clear.

My final thought today is that I've done a 180 degree turn from my thoughts in 2008. I prefer the yellow and blue mixes from my first chart and just might remove my tube greens from my palette! The jury's still out on that one for a little while, though...

I'd love to hear your thoughts about all this... and I'll be posting my painting as soon as it's finished... I'm about halfway through it and it will be the very first landscape I've ever painted that I'm actually pleased with...

Next week my friend and I are attacking the DARKS!!!
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:19 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

A wonderful analysis Char. After years of using mixed greens I now have Hookers Green Dark and Winsor Green on my palette. I still mix most of my greens however.

Doug
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:02 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Thank you Char.Looking at the greens above, I am noticing what greens make sense to me based on what I have grown up with in Ireland or maybe to be more accurate, what I have noticed.I wonder are there different greens relevant to different continents? Looking at the English landscape tradition, you will see the likes of John Yardley initially use Cad Yellow and Phthalo for all his greens to begin and then modifies them with a red.This strikes me as a bit like mixing the yellow with an Ultra which has the red already.Andrew Pitt, another English artist keeps it simple and says that he uses his deepest yellow and a blue for his deepest greens and his lightest yellow for his lightest green.But he will still throw in a Sienna to modify.I am not experienced enough but I feel that unless a very acidic green is required, then there is nearly always a red in the mix somewhere, especially for greens relevant to my neck of the woods, where along with the Raw Sienna and Ultra , the greens with the Sap and Hookers mix above strike the nearest chord with me.But I wonder when using these last two, does one run the risk of losing congruency in the painting by introducing another colour not in the rest of the painting or does one colour like Sap or Hookers when introduced make much of a difference?
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:30 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Wonderful Char, I have been wondering about this and experiment with triads, but have not done the charts like this yet......I have one other yellow to add, WN transparent yellow (nickel azo PY 150), with which I can get bright greens with UB. It must be a cool yellow. I'll work out a chart and post it.

My instinct also says that it must be cleaner colour to start with just blue and yellow, and I think you just proved it above. I have a couple of tube greens but don't use them now.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:38 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I've been really enjoying your Dobie-inspired posts and exercises, Char; thanks! I'm a Colors Singing fan, too.

I tend, being a visual type, to scan the images first, then read (bet most here do that).

This time I was quite struck by how differently I interpreted your results.

After carefully comparing charts, I started in on your text, certain your conclusion would be the same as mine: Look how much richer, clearer and wider a range of greens came from adding blues and yellows to green pigments, compared to simply mixing blues and yellows! Especially at the outer reaches of the greens continuum… And see how all the greens in the first chart are there in the second two as well, in the middle?

So, I was more than a little taken aback to read this:
I prefer the yellow and blue mixes from my first chart and just might remove my tube greens from my palette!

Usually I can see a less-is-more argument, but not here (or in my palettes), for myself, of course. What is it you don't like about the starting-with-greens options?

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Old 03-15-2011, 08:36 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Hi Doug... I think we've changed places! I've been advocating tube greens for the longest time and you've been mixing them yourself for as long as I can remember. The truth is, there are merits to both approaches.

Hi Larry... you're raising an excellent point about the atmospheric and geographical effects on our colour... Yes, greens are especially different around the world. In the very hot and dry areas, such as Escobedo Mexico where I worked for three years, the greens there were much duller and redder than the verdent greens of the rainy West Coast where my Son lives.

Seasonal greens are decidedly different as well... with the new greens of spring casting more yellow that the deep and rich greens of summer that turn to red-cast greens of fall...

The other point to remember, is that when using tube greens such as sap or hookers, we're already using a mix. Therefore, introducing a third pigment potentially leads us to that slippery slope of muddy and dull colour.

When planning palette colours for a painting, I guess we need to be cognizant of what will be used in mixing to ensure overall colour harmony... I never said this would be easy...

Hi Lynn... I've been following your gouache progress and I love where it's taking you! From all the reading I've been doing, azo yellow is almost neutral... that is, it really doesn't have a pronounced green or orange bias. That makes it excellent for mixing with the other primaries. It's important to note again that ultramarine has a red bias. So, if you mix a *cool* yellow with it, you might not be please because of the green bias. And we know that green and red are complements, dulling the final mix.

Hi David... I agree with you about the surprise... And the small images on the monitor don't do justice to the actual results of my charted colours.

What I did find was that blue tends to dominate the mixes in all cases. And care must be taken to keep it from overwhelming everything. The tube greens are more easily influenced that the yellow+blue mixes. I found that I had greater control of the outcome when I avoided my tubes. As I said in my first post, the jury's still out as to whether or not I remove them from my palette.

I am painting a Carolinian forest as my exercise and using only my yellow+blue mixes, my variations are clean and clear. I'm very happy with those results so far...

I love *green continuum*...

If anyone is making charts, please share them!
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:02 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Wonderful analysis and illustrations of your studies on mixing greens, Char.

I still like DS's Undersea Green as a realistic green for vegetation. I like the convenience of several of my tube greens, but I do usually alter them with additions of other colors as Jeanne Dobie advocates in her book.

I'm adding this thread to the Watercolor Handbook in the Green section of the Colors portion.

I'm also giving you a 5* rating for sharing your studies with the rest of us.

Sylvia
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:12 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Char;
Thanks for posting – this is great stuff.

I am wondering which pigment numbers are used in your hooker’s and sap greens, as I think that may vary by manufacturer.

I live in the great basin desert, where the greens are much different than a wet coastal region. I have been trying for some time to come up with a good sagebrush green that is based on other colors that would be used in a desert landscape palette. Depending on the time of year sage can vary in color somewhat but is almost always leaning to a silvery gray. The closest I have come so far is Fatal Blue (Phthalo) and Burnt Umber. I hope to post some of my mixes soon.

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:19 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Thanks Syl... for the stars, especially! As you know, I bought Undersea Green on your recommendation and I really do use it right out of the tube. It is a very natural, deep green that has a permanent home on my palette.

Hi Glade... yes, I've seen those colours in the desert areas around Escobedo... It's a little town near Monterrey and located in the bowl of the Sierra Madres... Hot and dry... there were greens, of course, in the various cacti that thrived. And the periwinkle that was planted as ground cover rather than grass...

So... Hooker's Green... Are you ready for this? Any wonder we're confused?

Rembrandt: PG7+PY150
Rowney Artists: PG7+PY3+PV19 (hooker's #2 dark)
Rowney Artists: PG7+PY153 (hooker's #1 light)
MaimeriBlue: PG7+PO49
M. Graham: PG7+PY110
Utrecht: PG8 (very fugitive)
Daniel Smith: PG36+PO49+PY3
Winsor & Newton: PG36+PY110
DaVinci: PG7+PY41 (dark)
DaVinci: PG7+PY42 (light)
Holbein: PG36+PY83
Schmincke: PG15:3+PG7+PY42

Can you BELIEVE that not one of those Hooker's greens is made with the same pigments as their neighbours??? I'm actually shocked that every single manufacturer uses something different in their formulation...

Oh... the other thing I needed to mention here is that some of these formulations have three pigments in them... do you suppose we're in danger of making mud when we try to alter them by adding more yellow, blue or even red?

And... here's Sap Green

Rembrandt: PY150+PG7
Rowney Artists: PG7+PY169+PR101
MaimeriBlue: PY139+PO43+PG7
M. Graham: PG7+PY110
Daniel Smith: PG7+PO49
Winsor & Newton: PG36+PY110
DaVinci: PG7+PY42
Holbein: PY17+PG8+PG36
Schmincke: PY153+PG7

There you have it... a couple manufacturers use similar pigments... but, their process probably ensures a difference in the appearance of their tubed colours...

What all of this does, David (dpcoffin), is reinforce my determination to get it right by mixing my greens with my own yellows and blues...
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:41 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

As a curiosity, because there's been a few questions now and again about the new line of Dick Blick paints. So, I thought I'd see what their hooker's and sap tubes are mixed up with...

Dick Blick: Hooker's Deep - PB15:4+PY97+PY153+PBk6
Dick Blick: Hooker's Light - PB15:3+PG7+PY153+PBk6

Dick Blick: Sap Green - PO48+PY150+PB15:4+PG7

Really? FOUR pigments? Wow...

Ok... if you must use a tube green as Jeanne Dobie along with most of her fellow artists, the obvious choice would be a single pigment colour. Or, at the very least a convenience green with only two pigments.

Pretty much all the manufacturers offer Viridian PG18. It's colour has a blue cast, it's transparent and it will lift well.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:57 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Char,
All my tube greens have two pigments except for Daler Rowney Cobalt Green Deep PB36 and Maimeri Blue Verde Oliva (Olive Green) PG 17 (both are opaque colors) Daniel Smith Perylene Green PBk 31 (semi opaque).

My favorite tube green is Daniel Smith's Undersea Green PB29 + PO49.

Holbein Viridian is PG 18 + PG 7 on my color chart.

This is such an informative thread. Thanks for starting it.

Sylvia
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:05 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharM
What all of this does, David (dpcoffin), is reinforce my determination to get it right by mixing my greens with my own yellows and blues...

I get it!

I was of course reacting as much subjectively as simply to what I saw in your charts (of which I primarily noted the lovely intense blue and yellow greens you got from phthalo; how could anyone not love those?), and since I've never used either Sap Green or Hooker's, my subjective response didn't even consider them.

That response was "What, no phthalo YS, viridian, cobalt, perylene, or gold, or earth greens? And what about those gorgeous PrimaTeks: Amazonite, Diopside, Apatite, Jadite, Serpentine, and the delicious Zoisite??"

Love 'em all, but in practice and for practicality's sake, I'd only really stand on cobalt and perylene, maybe viridian and my one convenience green, phthalo yellow. But I do love those Primateks… And regular old phthalo green, too , I guess, altho I'm allergic to staining.

I'm definitely NOT a less-is-more kinda guy when it comes to palettes (yes, plural, very plural!)

Thanks again for all these detailed and fascinating posts. More charts welcome

dpc
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:29 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I love watching your learning progress Char. And the conclusions you are coming to! I use a lot of greens in my paintings and usually mix my own. I usually end up making endless variations within a painting so I'll mix the base green in a well on the palette so I'm consistent from day to day - I have something to match and can take off from there. The only tube greens I really ever reach for are Green Gold (which is not really green) and Perylene Green for dark shadowed greens. I'm not going for the Perylene as often as I used to... Diox Purple has entered the mix for rich darks! In the past I have used Undersea Green as well and it's got it's place.

For a sage green I'd go with Winsor Lemon (transparent) and a clear warm blue. Touched down with Quin Magenta where necessary... applied in thin washes so the dull color of the sage doesn't end up being dull paint... if that makes any sense.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:32 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

thanks- you explain it in such simple tyerms i really apprecaite this- its good to know all of this- so you can always throw it all away if you want to- and just do your own thing - what works for you- but i think to know what you are rejecting first- to know your stuff and to learn about colours and what they do and how they work-is important- know what you are rejecting and rebelling against before you do it- so for this reason i think this thread and colour theory is essential reading- not necessarily essential to follow-do what works for you but know why you are mixing certain colours and to know what you are doing is important.

ill stop waffling one of these days- someone get me a cyber hammer and bump me on the head with it
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:38 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

This is a really interesting discussion. I think for my purposes, landscape, the single pigment mixes are the best, but of course for still life, or people with bright clothing, or street scenes, you might need the brighter greens you get by using a tube green, or at least blending with viridian. Different strokes for different uses.
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Old 03-17-2011, 08:17 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Last night I tried to pull together the three examples you have shown so far.

The neutral gray exercise was good, but then I really like muted colors. I often use earth pigments, I compared my usual mixes to the various grays from the exercise - they were very close in hue and value.

I did not have Napthol Red, but used my warm Red PR254 I think. Worked about like I anticipated, but I have done similar exercises in the past.

I got carried away with the green exercise, using every blue I could find, and yellows all the way to burnt umber. I found a number of combinations to be redundant, proving that a limited palette is adequate.

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Old 03-17-2011, 09:49 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Sylvia... while all other manufacturers are offering a single pigment for viridian, you have to ask yourself why Holbein chose to add phthalo, creating a mixture...

And, I'm honestly not a purist when it comes to mixing colours versus buying them... I adore colour... I love the rich colour squeezing from a new tube...

However...

Because, ultimately, our convenience colours need to be mixed with *something* else to modify them in some way or to create harmony in our paintings, then we need to know what's in those convenience colours.

The most important thing I've learned from Jeanne Dobie's book is the important role of colour bias in mixing.

So, let's explore how we'd use this sap green from Dick Blick: - PO48+PY150+PB15:4+PG7...

PO48 = Quinacridon Burnt Orange (actually an *earth* colour)
PY150 = Nickel Azo Yellow (which has an orange bias)
PB15:4 = Phthalo Blue green shade
PG7 = Phthalo green

Now... if you introduced permanent rose to neutralize your sap green, you'd create a very dull looking brown because the blue bias of PV19 would complement the orange... I think... there are so many colours in this convenience green, it would be difficult to determine what it could be mixed with to create clear colour...

I think that this is an extreme example, but it certainly illustrates the challenge of using convenience colours.

David... the written word doesn't always convey our intent or meaning... I was trying to *jazz* you with a little teasing and nagging... Your points are well taken... I do not have any experience with the Primateks at all, but know that anyone who's tried them has nothing but good things to say about them.

Laura... try removing the terms warm and cool as adjectives in your colour descriptions. It's hard. But in the end, will be more meaningful. Offering your good advice for mixing a sage green, you mean a clear blue with a red bias. Because quinacridone magenta has a blue bias, those two colours will mix cleanly. Winsor Lemon has a slightly green bias, but azo is nearly neutral and might make a better choice...

Wow, eh?

I haven't even thought of using dioxazine purple to darken my mixes!!! Love that...

Kate... I hate to tell you this, but reading about colour isn't enough... You really DO need to take a few minutes to create some charts... when you physically mix it and see its behaviour on paper, it reinforces what you've been reading.

Hi Lynn... you're right about where and when to use our colours...

Glade, I am coming to the same conclusion... Jeanne Dobie uses Cadmium Red as her orange-biased colour. I don't use the cads at all and the napthol was my substitution. Quinacridone red might also work...
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:48 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Ah, but Char, sage green is a dull hue so needs all three primaries. I like the Quin Magenta as the modifier because of its blue bias. Give you more wiggle room. Yep, Diox is so versatile, I love it.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:18 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

A great learning experience thread! Thanks Char.

Athena
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:41 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Char:

I'll be happy to loan you my tube of Viridian at the Ontario Meet. You can take it home to play with.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:13 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I find when I need my pigments to be very dark is to add a staining colour to the mix ,staining colours block out the white of the paper .There have been discussions on using black to tone down pigments but they are oapque I have made a transparent black by using Perm Alizarin Crimson and Thalo Green= black mix making sure it's not too cool or warm ,I use this it works out great to keep the colour but change the hue it only needs a tiny amount.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:57 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence Fox
Char:

I'll be happy to loan you my tube of Viridian at the Ontario Meet. You can take it home to play with.

Char,

I strongly suggest Viridian on your palette
It is a single pigment and a very clean color.
It is not strong like Pthalo and is much more easy to mix.
Mix it with any transparent yellow or any earth and you get a huge range of greens

Rembrant Viridian is a very good green, it does not harden like W/N

Also look at the very opaque Chromium Oxide as a mixer for opaque Cadmiums and opaque earth reds.
These mixes work very well in foregrounds.
They also work in tints!

Indigo (I use W/N Paynes Grey as it is also a dark blue)
I use them as a third pigment for darkening a mix for shadows or the interior of trees or bottom of hedgerows.

Yes, greens are so much fun!!!!
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:57 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

What a great thread Char. I've read it through several times. I've been doing a series of articles for our watercolor society newsletter on color. I'm still just teaching mixing using three "primaries" but I have a feeling I'm learning more than anyone. I just recently started thinking about the similarity of adding a little red to a yellow/blue mix vs. using a yellow with a little red and/or blue with a little red instead. I didn't have a good way to describe it and find the idea of red "bias" very helpful.

Thanks for sharing what you are learning in your journey.

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Old 03-20-2011, 05:09 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I don't disagree, Laura... Quin Magenta is very useful in mixing great darks, too.

Hi Athena... I'm glad you're enjoying this thread!

As luck would have it, Lawrence, my Tuesday painting friend had a tube that she never uses. As an acrylic artist, she felt it would probably dry up before she got around to using it in watercolour. So, I do have a teeny tube of W&N! Thanks for the offer though... you and I seem inclined to be forever comparing our greens!

Excellent suggestions for mixing good darks, Querin... On Tuesday, that's what I'll be doing!!

Thanks so much for your suggestions, Neeman... your input is always valued!

Hi Anne... I'm really fascinated by colour theory and have buried myself in my books... terminology is not consistent... and there are some very grey areas in the application of the theory...

The term "Bias" is really my own attempt to understand how to organize my pigments. The term "Cast" has also been used in some of my readings. When visiting the Colour Theory Forum, they tell me that bias and temperature are not great adjective to use at all. Their advice is to pay attention to the hue, value and chroma. And, I get that (after a LOT of discussion)... but it's really difficult to articulate that to Students. So, I've been avoiding the term "temperature", but when mixing paints I feel that an adjective like "bias" really does seem to apply.

Ok... I have just finished my painting in which I've used only mixed greens for the foliage. It really was a lot of fun to do. It's not the best landscape on the planet, but it sure is the best one in my stack!!

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Old 03-20-2011, 05:14 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Love those dappled shadows Char - oh and the greens too

Doug
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Old 03-20-2011, 05:18 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Hi Charm this is gorgeous the sense of light, the greens are great, the shadows beautiful the foliage so natural.
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Old 03-20-2011, 06:39 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Lovely light, Char, and yes the dappled shadows! And of course the greens I haven't done the chart for FUB and transparent yellow, but do have a painting up where I used them along with raw sienna and burnt sienna. I'll PM you.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:28 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharM


Great greens!!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:24 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Beautiful Char. The mixed greens worked great here. I love the range of values and the dappled light on the road. Great work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharM
The term "Bias" is really my own attempt to understand how to organize my pigments.

This may be your way of explaining but it feels more descriptive than anything else I've seen. I can see this would be easier for students to understand too.

Anne
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:29 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I am so fashinated by these threads Char, but I must admit they are maybe a bit out of my reach.......
I spent good part of today making my greens from yellows and blues, and searching the web, but still very confused
Here is my produce of the day>



Apart from enjoying the large amount of greens I produced, I still don't have a clue about warm and cool hues, as for some of my yellows I could not define if they were on the green or on the red side.....
What I understood is that if you mix colors that aren't both cool or warm, you get dull colors, but how to determine that?
If I did by sight, to me UMB is cool as well as cobalt blue.......
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:45 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Wow, Marisa, your green chart's a beauty! You should be very proud of the work you've done. This will provide you with a worksheet of colour that can be mixed and used in any landscape.

Learning to "see" the bias in your colours is not easy. And, I've found it to be one the most important aspects of my learning experience is mixing good, clear colour. Take your time with this.

It's also important to remember that the dulled, or neutralized colours are also important. They tend to be more "earthy" and natural looking in landscapes. The neutral colours are the perfect foil for our brighter local colour, making those hues seem even more vivid.

However, knowing HOW to get the colour we want means we need to understand the hue, chroma and value of our pigments. While pure colour theory doesn't necessarily condone the use of "temperature" as an adjective to describe our colours, it can be a visual aid.

I have downloaded a colour wheel from Bruce MacEvoy's website, Handprint. This may help you. I urge you to visit this site and read through his sections on mixing colour. Additionally, Hilary Page offers excellent information in her book about developing your own colour wheel.


You will note that (as an example) cerulean is placed closer to the green pigments than ultramarine which resides closer to the red pigments. Therefore, you can now "see" that cerulean has a green bias. Mixed with a yellow that has a red bias, such as quinacridone gold, your resulting green will be somewhat dull. That's because the bias of both colours act as mixing complements and will ultimately neutralize your mix.

Phew!

So... I suggest that you print the wheel from Handprint's site. Circle your own colours on the wheel, and then make up your own personal wheel. It will be much easier for you to visualize your warm vs. cool hues. I hope this helps with your confusion.

Your art is growing in leaps and bounds. This is only going to make your work that much better!
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:39 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I quite understand Marisa's question about "warm" and "cool" colors. I just couldn't "see" the warmth or the cool. It's easier to understand conceptually. And I can see the difference when I mix colors. Your suggestion to personalize the Handprint color chart is a great one.

Love those fluffy leaf clumps in your landscape - some of them have flat bottoms and rise up like cumulus clouds.

Thanks for sharing all your hard work.

Jeannine
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:25 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

This is really getting interesting. I must admit I have left Dobie's book aside while I delve a bit deeper into the Handprint site. And I did make another chart based on his very helpful color wheel.
I have a few greens to add, but I think the big blank area where the greens ought to go is a good indication that they are problematic, so it is worthwhile to study them. In fact, McEvoy devotes a good amount of time to discussing greens and specifically mentions the Dobie exercise. See what he has to say about the behavior of yellow and it starts to make sense.
Even though the chart is specific to subtractive color mixing, I still find it helpful for visually mapping how different pigments relate. I've made three of these so far, and quite a few abstracted ones. If nothing else, I'm memorizing my pigments! I do recommend trying to place your own paints onto this format. It's surprisingly helpful.
Thanks for keeping the very lively discussion going!
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:42 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Thank you Char, the fact is this subject ain't easy at all, I think it'll take time to metabolize all this!
But waiting for the darks next week! ;D
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:34 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Yes, thanks Char, this is indeed a wonderful thread. I read and enjoyed very much the book Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green and found it easy to understand and apply to my sort of painting. I only use a very limited palette normally, so it is easy for me to mix my colours. The more colours you have on your palette, the more complicated it gets, and I find myself going for the same 3 or 4 colours all the time. You really can make a lot of lovely colours with just 3 or 4 good clean colours to start. I looooove your landscape as well. Thanks for all your hard work (or is it hard play).
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:20 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Hi Jeannine... I know exactly what you're saying... try to visualize the colour bias in each of your pigments. Put a dab of cerulean blue right next to a dab of ultramarine blue. It becomes pretty darn clear which of them has a more green cast. If you do the same thing with your yellows, you'll realize their biases as well. If you placed a dab of hansa yellow right next to a dab of quinacridone gold, you're going to see which of them has a reddish cast.

It takes some time to learn to *see* these tendencies... but you will... and it will make your decisions concerning your green mixes, or any other mixes for that matter, much easier.

hugon0... I have been making so many charts... and the truth is, I'm not getting tired of them at all... partly, I think, because I'm trying to put this information to practical use. So, every time I study a new concept, I draw up a composition and paint it. It's helping me, I think.

I'm going to be making up these Hilary Page charts, too... I like what you're doing. I realized the other day that the pigment numbering made sense as I moved around my chart! Those numbers really do have some logic...

We should probably have kept the Octanic Colour Thread running, but mixing colour is mixing colour regardless whether their greens or anything else!

Marisa, you're doing great... you've made more progress in just the few months that we've *known* each other than anyone! Letting this information steep awhile is a good thing.

Hi Nola... What's really interesting is that I have all kinds of beautiful tubes of paint that look just exactly like the mixes I've been practicing! I can truthfully call myself a colourist and have never been so much of a purist that I wouldn't buy convenience colours. What I'm finding, though, is that I can make my own... and still love all that colour!!!

I started my reading with the Michael Wilcox book. As I type these threads, I'm using the Jeanne Dobie book as a roadmap. But, there are five books on my work table along with Handprint at the ready on my computer. I've also been visiting our Colour Theory Forum getting help from the knowledgeable folks over there.

So... it's time to talk about the next Chapters in Jean's book. Don't worry... you can continue to talk about mixing stuff because it all flows into each of the topics I'm exploring. Yes, her book definitely has "flow"...

I skipped the exercises in the next two chapters and moved on to mixing the Darks. But I'll talk about the Push-Pull of Warm and Cool along with the Push-Pull and Turn in creating form... I'll be back in the morning to give you my condensed version of what's going on... Then... we'll be making up some gorgeous, rich blacks!!!
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:54 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Still trying to absorb the colour concepts, especially for mixing greens as well as octanic colour, I made this chart.



The above was modelled roughly after the Artists' Value Chart that can be found on Handprint. I'm beginning to *see* the applicable hues, intensities and chroma... It's a long jouney.

Ok... just a few notes before I share my next charts...

Jeanne Dobie's observations concerning atmospheric conditions, and how they impact our colour makes for interesting reading.

Push-Pull with Warm and Cool:
  • Pushing colour into a cooler shade causes it to receed while pulling warmer elements forward. Side by side, they do not appear to be on the same plane.
  • The sky colour affects every plane that's uplifted to the sky. Rooftops reflect the colour of the sky. And trees appear to be cooler as they reach toward a cool sky. If the sky is warm (i.e. sunrise/sunset) then, it reflects that colour on those elements.
  • Directly overhead, the sky has the most intense colour and is at its strongest value.
  • Nearer to the horizon, the sky appears greyer because the atmospheric curtain gathers more dust particles and thus mutes the colour. By adding the complement of the sky colour, you can capture this effect.
  • Under a blue sky, the ocean becomes bluer in the distance. As the water moves toward the horizon, its colour takes on more light and atmosphere from the sky.
  • Conversely, in the foreground water where the ocean becomes shallow, it is greener because the sand beneath it reflects into and alters the colour!
BUT...
  • White clouds actually become warmer as they move into the distance. So... as the sky recedes, it collects more and more dust particles in the atmosphere which makes the sky a greyer colour.
  • The purity of the white clouds becomes contaminated as they move into the background and therefore, they actually become creamier.
Push-Pull and Turn:

Believe it or not, you can create the impression of form volume through colour alone. Jeanne's theory is that when trying to model form, we run the risk of overworking our elements with pure washes, to the extent that we may dull or deaden the effect.

It's really important to distinguish between warm and cool passages. From our discussions, I don't believe this process to be as simple as it sounds... And the truth is, I didn't absorb as much as I probably should have from this section. It is Chapter 6 if you wish to read it...

And now... On to mixing the Darks!

Jeanne writes that the function of a dark colour is to complement the light and help it emit a glow. The dark colours we use should provide contrast, but they should also animate the light.

I found that definition to be quite meaningful. How many times have we seen darks that are flat and dull? They don't add value, but definitely detract from an otherwise beautiful subject. So... the challenge is to mix vibrant darks! Darks that are colourful really can remain transparent in spite of their great saturation.

I have found this to be quite challenging and after practicing my charts, I'm still not *there*. While Jeanne doesn't say it, I believe this chapter harkens back to our Mouse colours. Intensified to black, it makes sense that a deep blue dark will enliven an orange-toned light, for example.

These charts are not as successful as they should be and I'll probably do them again...



It doesn't show well, but red over blue or green mingles/mixes differently than blue or green over red. And, the cool red of permanent alizarin has much different effects than the warmer red of napthol.

I had practiced mixing darks some time ago, and this chart may be of value here. The premise is similar to Jeanne's in that I wanted to create more colourful darks that would harmonize and unify a composition... At the time, I didn't even think about the complementary aspect of my darks against my lights.



Creating a velvet black is really as easy as mixing phthalo (winsor) green and permanent alizarin crimson. Due to the fact that both pigments are transparent and staining, you will achieve a lustrous black.

My last thing to do is create a set of Brown charts. I haven't done that yet. I have decided upon a composition to practice all this and already have it drawn out, though!

Let's talk, Painter People!
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:20 AM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

This is a wonderful thread Char, I use Winsor Green + dioxane purple a lot for large areas of flat black.

Doug
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:08 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

Thanks Char for this very interesting thread! This morning I ordered Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green and Making Color Sing: Practical Lessons in Color and Design/ They will arrive in about one month but I want to go deeper in this subject!
Your threads are in my favorites now!
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:29 PM
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Re: Jeanne Dobie's Mixing Greens - and Mixing Darks

I have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger (everyone remembers wall paper, right?... )... So, I have not had a chance to update this thread till now.

Hi Doug... that's a great mix and I've used it myself. I do like to lean the mix to purple because I love the reflective quality of that black.

Marissa! Good on you! You can only benefit from reading those books and working through the exercises.

The truth is that I really thought working all these exercises would be dull and boring. It's not! I have really enjoyed discovering how my paint behaves in mixes on my palette or mingled on my paper.

So... my next step in mixing darks, of course, is to work out some browns. Now... I keep Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber and Raw Sienna on my palette. They've always been my *go to* browns for colour or mixing. So, I didn't feel that I'd take away much of value in this particular study. Wrong again... Wow...

Jeanne Dobie recommends that we first mix up an orange by using one of our reds and one of our yellows. I chose hansa as my base yellow for this particular chart... I could continue on with this, selecting many other yellows and earths. But this chart pretty much demonstrates the point.

Anyway... I also used a couple of reds and an orange to satisfy my own curiosity. I also used only three of the convenience greens that I own. Remember that these browns are generally the result of mixing three pigments. Using anything more than three risks creating muddy, dull neutrals.

I discovered that red needs to dominate these mixtures in order to keep the bias of the browns on the warm side. It's a bit of a challenge to be able to mix up beautiful browns the first time you try it. Keep practicing, though, because it really is worthwhile.

Because the visuals always help me, I placed my three earth colours at the bottom of my chart.



Because of the red bias, then, we can consider our browns to be predominantly warm and they best complement cool light! With this variety of browns, also, they can be warmed up by adding a little more yellow, or cooled down by adding a little more green.

My monitor doesn't really do these colours any justice, but they really do have more "depth" than my tube browns.

Ok... I'll be painting my composition next. And then, we're going to study the next chapter in Jeanne Dobie's book... Making Color Pulsate! I'll start a new thread for that one...
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