Australian Fine Artist

Archive for August, 2017

Secondary Colour Bias or Base Colour

What is Colour Bias or Base Colour?

You may have noticed that when colour comes straight from the tube in oils, or other paints, that they may have a ‘look’ that may tell you what colour they have as a base. By this I mean that some blues for example may have a red base, others may have a green base, so they will naturally complement other colours with a similar base colour. A green based blue will sit nicely next to another green based colour if you want your painting to have colours that all work together and ‘relate’ to each other.

When mixing colours it is important to remember what colour base each one has so that you have a better idea of how the resultant colour will look. If you want to avoid a dull greyed off result, this is especially important. Also if you mix more than two colours together, then add white to lighten the tone, mixing the wrong colours will end up with a ‘muddy’ result.

Some effective experiments are to try mixing red based colours like Cadmium Red with Ultramarine Blue (remember that there are different Ultramarines available), you will get a brownish mix when white is added. Then try mixing Lemon Yellow with Prussian Blue as they have a green base, then a little white to lighten the tone.

As you experiment with your colours you will gradually learn that each colour fromthe tube, especially in oils, has a base colour that can be exploited. If you are a tonal painter, learning to control your colour mixes will help in creating beautiful tonal effects, and a huge variety of ‘greys’.

For more information about colour bias or base, look at the short video from Winsor & Newton at the following link, and happy painting.

http://www.winsornewton.com/au/masterclass-video-secondary-colour-bias

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Mixing Greys in Water Colour

In my last blog I talked about mixing greys with acrylics and oils. I also mentioned in passing how to gain the best results when mixing greys using water colours.

In this blog I will address water colours and add a few more ideas for you to experiment with.

The same principle applies to water colours as it does to other mediums. By mixing opposite colours on the colour wheel, each will effectively knock out each others intensity, creating a grey. How much you mix of either colour will change to temperature of the finished grey.

The great thing about mixing your own greys is that you can make a range of cool or warm greys, or greys that hint at one of the colours you have used to create it.

Water colour painters during the last two centuries have experimented with greys as they produce a better dark than black, which is often too dark or deadens any colour it mixes with if the wrong black is used. This brings the point of different blacks as well, so if you want to add it to your palette, check with your supplier for the best mixing black if you want to try blending it in with other colours.

Returning to the greys, you will find that there are a few premixed greys on the market and they will also mix with your blues or reds to produce wrmer and cooloer versions of either the grey if only a touch of colour is added, or a coller version of your colour if a touch of the grey is added to it. Please note that each premixed grey has a colour base to it. This means that a colour like Paynes Grey will have a blue base, and others like Davy’s Grey have a green base, so you need to consider this when mixing. Winsor & Newton also have a colour called ‘Neutral Tint’ which is a great colour to use instead of black, and mixes very well with most colours to produce tints and tones.

Remember that mixing with white with water colours will take away their natural translucent effect, so if you want to lighten your grey thin it out with water allowing the white of the paper to come through and lighten it. White is avoided by many water colour painters, and some think it should not be used at all. There are different ‘school’ of thinking about this, but the safest thing to do with a white with water colours is to leave it until the last thing and you have the painting fairly dry to just add a few highlights here and there. Even better would be to cool it off or warm it up with just a dash of colour that you have used elsewhere in the painting so that your highlights will relate to the rest of the composition.

If you would like to leave white areas in your painting another method is to us maskign fluid. This will require planning ahead so that you can mask out the white areas in advance, but I highly recommed using it, as it will guarantee crisp white areas when it is removed, after the painting is absolutely dry. You can also remove it as a layer of colour dries so that you can paint a wash over it. This leaves a clear and clean layer of colour in the area you have had masked. This is also another method of making sure that any grey you have mixed will stay the same tone as what you have mixed when it goes onto the painting.

To see more examples of how to mix a variety of greys visit the Winsor & Newton web site at:
http://www.winsornewton.com/au/masterclass-video-mixing-water-colour-greys?utm_campaign=AU_MASTERCLASS_VIDEO_33&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=

Until next time, happy painting.

Janice.

Mixing Greys

A basic lesson that any painter needs to know is how to mix a variety of greys without having to use a blend of black and white, or Paynes Grey.

Greys are a very useful tone when painting “tonal” paintings, or for creating atmospheric perspective.

The basic method to remember is that opposite colours on the colour wheel will “knock’ each other out creating a very dark grey. By adding a small amount of white the grey will become apparent for each of these mixes.

The great thing about mixing your own greys is that you can make a range of cool or warm greys, or greys that hint at one of the colours you have used to create it. for example you may want a greenish grey, or a warm purple-grey, so you can use a mix of colours to achieve these.

Try mixing a purple with its opposite colour in equal portions and then add some white, or a mix of blue with orange then adding white.

Another mix to try that I also use instead of black, is an equal mix of Alizerin Crimson and Viridian. Together these create a beautiful near black, but when white is added result a beautiful grey. By altering the proportion of one of these colours to the other you can either warm or cool the resultant ‘black’ or grey.

These methods can be used with oil and acrylic paints, and I have also tried it with water colours, but thinned the mix with water to allow the white paper to do the lightening instead of adding white. In the case of water colours adding white will make the paint opaque and ‘milky’ which is not the best or traditional look for this medium.

To see more examples of how to mix a variety of greys visit the Winsor & Newton web site at:
http://www.winsornewton.com/au/masterclass-video-mixing-greys-using-acrylics?utm_campaign=AU_MASTERCLASS_VIDEO_44&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=

Until next time, happy painting.

Janice.

Scumbling with Oil Paints

Scumbling is a method used when painting that I have recently taken up as part of my repertoire for gaining depth and unity within a painting.

It could be compared to glazing, as the use of transparent and semi-transparent paints is involved. The difference however, lies in laying down a darker background, then adding a transparent white, waiting for it to dry, and then ‘scumbling over darker transparent colours to either unite the painting with a similar tone or temperature, or to create a specific colour impression.

One of my best examples of scumbling was used in a very large work over 4 canvasses. I wanted to give the painting depth and pull it together with the use of scumbling with lighter and darker alternate cool and warm tones. This also gave the impression of the metal objects in the painting, which I was very pleased about.

I use a mix of Liquin and Linseed oil to get a little more drying time, but if you want one layer to dry very quickly, use the Liquin on its own. Liquin dries fast, sometimes in a matter of hours, so you need to be sure about what you are doing.

If you want to watch a short video about this method of painting look at:

http://www.winsornewton.com/au/masterclass-video-scumbling-with-oils?utm_campaign=AU_MASTERCLASS_VIDEO_32&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=.

Happy painting!

Odds & Sods. 2015. Oil on 4 90x90cm canvasses. © Janice Mills.