Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mixing Primaries from Secondaries

Autumn Forrest 24x36"

Clouds 6x8"

I started using a new color on my palette this summer. Violet. In kindergarten we learn that by mixing blue and red, we get purple. You can make a pretty good purple on the palette by mixing a cool blue with a cool red. But, whenever two pigments are mixed, it is not as brilliant or chromatic as a color from the tube. Violet is more chromatic straight from the tube than a mixture of red and blue.

The reason I put violet on the palette was not that I needed brighter purples on my palette. I needed this secondary color to mix lower intensity primary colors.

By mixing violet and green, you can get a lower intensity blue. By mixing violet and orange, you end with a low intensity red that is sort of a red ochre.

If you mix green with orange, you can get a low intensity yellow. If you give it a try, mix more orange than green. Of course, you will lighten these mixtures to get them as light or dark as you need.

It might sound funny, but I've really been excited about mixing secondary colors to make the primary colors. It's the little things that can keep you sparked!

By the way, I got this bit of info from a passage in Robert Henri's book The Art Spirit, which just might be the best book on painting. If you want to read more about color, you could also check out the book Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green from the library.


Contrary Quite Mary said...

when you say violet - what "violet"exactly are you using?

Sergio Lopez said...

Which violet did you add on to your palette? I can't seem to find the perfect violet. Cobalt is great of course but I can't justify shelling out that much cash for it.

Kyle Martin said...

Hi Contrary and Sergio,
I have added dioxazine purple from Gamblin. I shouldn't have written violet, but honestly because I haven't used it on the palette for years, I had to look in the paintbox to see what the name was. It's PV23. The Gamblin site states:
Dioxazine Purple: A cold color with the strongest tinting strength and deepest transparency of all pigments, modern Diox is useful as a high key tint. This purple is so strong that some use it as a black. Diox makes a cold intense tint. Use sparingly.

You could also try the Gamblin 1980, which wouldn't have as much pigment to it.
I use mostly modern organic colors, including the Pthalo's, so the Diox Purple isn't outside of what I'm used to working with. Again, I'm mixing with it mostly, so a little will go a long way, and after ruining a few piles of paint with any pigment, it starts to let you know how much to add at any given point :) I mix with a knife, which I know not everyone does, but for adding small bits of pigment to a mixture, maybe that's a way to go.

The cobalt colors are wonderful, they add a certain quality to the painting that you can't get with any other pigment. I've seen some paintings done with limited palettes of cobalt green, cobalt blue, cobalt violet, and aureolin. I'm not the biggest fan of the aureolin, but, it's been a while since I've had it. Nothing beats the cobalts on oil primed linen :)

On the subject of Cobalt, Cobalt Green by Winsor and Newton is a very nice pigment. The Grumbacher is also pretty good. Check out some swatches with a google search. Grumbacher also has a Cobalt Rose, and that color is great for the springtime. The Grumbacher Cobalts have no tinting strength and are very transparent.

Finally, how about some convenience violets? Kings Blue from Sennelier, and Indigo from Utrecht or Lukas are also fun to add to the palette.

Thanks for the comments,

Sherry Pierce Thurner said...

This painting just shimmers.

Patricia Wafer said...

Love the forest painting!!!! Great colors.