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  1. #1
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    Jul 2009
    Charm City: Baltimore, MD
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    [ALL]: Materials: My Colors, the "What & Why" (part 1)...

    Hello, all!

    This is a brief post to tell you which colors I use, why I use them, and how I arrange them on the palette. When I give a mixing example, they're simply highlights--you need to experiment and mix anything with anything to understand their interactions!

    WN=Winsor & Newton Artist's Oil Colors
    Winton=W&N's lesser grade
    Liquitex=No longer makes oils

    • WN Bright Red: A solid, "pure" red Red. Not chalky. Mixes well with Cadmium yellow & white for peachy fleshtones. Makes a purer violet when mixed with Ultramarine than the oranger Cadmium Red. Pretty useful for knocking greens back, especially in landscape painting).

    • WN Cadmium Red: Rich, slightly-orange tending red. Chalky. Good for knocking greens down (chalkiness/orangeness makes for a less violet-y desat green), and good for knocking back blues (orangey, complementary-wise). Lower key violets when mixed with Cobalt Blue or Ultramarine).

    • WN Alizarin Crimson: High-tinting, "acidic" (high-key) red tending towards violet. Mixed with white or yellows will give you rich, higher-key colors simply not possible with either of the two previous reds. Will "electrify" mixtures: with Viridian=deep, purplish tones, with Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, or Indigo will yield very true violets. *Great* for glazing. If you need real magenta, you'll need to use this or Permanent Magenta (imagine that! ). Otherwise you'll hafta fake it with reds, blues and some optical trix, such as complementary color bordering-patches.

    • WN Transparent Red Ochre: Just bought it for the first time to see what I can do with it. Seems like a less chalky Terra Rosa.

    • WN Cadmium Yellow Medium: THE yellow to use if you have just one. Slightly orange, chalky, deep, beautiful. Mixes with greens & reds particularly well.

    • WN Aurora Yellow: Tends towards green, not chalky. Good for "truer" green mixes with blues. Nice to have in conjunction with Cad Yell Med.

    • WN Indian Yellow: High-tinting, not chalky. When you need a light--yet rich--yellow, a dab of this with white is gorgeous since to lighten Ca Yell Med enough, you need to add a lot of white which knocks its intensity way down. Experiment with "enriching" red & green mixes.

    • WN Permanent Green Light. High-ish key. Chalkier than Viridian & Pthalo Green, less chalky than Chrm Oxide Green. Good for mixes where you want some acid-greenness, but without the emerald-y, high-tinting strength of either Viridian or Pth Green.

    • WN Oxide of Chromium (Green): Chalky, knocked-back green. You can't mix this, so you buy it. (Reason? To knock the other greens back and chalk them up, you'd have to add a coupla things, plus more white than you'd want--and still not get this.) Great for taming mixes and in landscape painting.

    • WN Viridian: Bluish-emeraldy, deep green, high-tinting. Can (somewhat) obviate need for Pthalo Green in some cases). Good with Ultramarine, Bright Red. Added to Burnt Umber makes a good (color-savvy) substitute for black. Glazey.

    •Utrecht: Pthalocyanine Green. Ridiculously high-tinting, emerald-y green. Use sparingly & with caution! Mixed w/ Pthalo or Prussian blue & white can give you electric turquoises/blue-greens impossible any other way.

    • WN Manganese Blue: Greener blue; saves you from having to insert an extra (and purity-diluting) greening step to Cobalt Blue or Ultramarine.

    • WN Cobalt Blue: Rich, chalky, fairly true blue. Good in skies. Good in small doses to knock complementary mixes back (like fleshtones). Can be used to glaze.

    • Liquitex: Ultramarine Blue: Solid, deep, all-purpose blue.

    • Utrecht Prussian Blue: High-tinting. Electrifies blue mixes. Can be used (somewhat) like Pthalo Blue. Can glaze.

    • WN Indigo: I use this all the time. Rich, darkish, low-key blue-black. Great for underpainting. Mix with Burnt Umber for colorful black substitute. Darken & desat colors--plus cool them down--without using black. Can glaze.

    • WN Permananent Magenta: Just for fun. Like a weaker, more violet Alizarin Crimson. Can glaze. If you need real magenta, you'll need to use this or Alizarin Crimson. Otherwise you'll hafta fake it with reds, blues and some optical trix, such as complementary color bordering-patches.

    • WN Yellow Ochre: Light, warm, neutral-ish color. Don't use it much.

    • WN Raw Ochre: Same as above, but colder and dark.

    • WN & Winton: Burnt Umber: You could make a career out of this and white. Rich brown. Underpaint with turp, knock any mix back, add to dark colors for great black substitute. Glaze-worthy.

    • WN Zinc White. Slightly less opaque than Titanium White (which I forgot to add to my palette at the time of the pic). Experiment with whites in mixtures, BUT, BUT, BUT: Always use a color and intensity when you can since white may lighten, but it also dulls. Add white *sparingly*. Too much white-mixes kill a lot of paintings.

    NEXT POST: the "How" of these colors--basic (basic) mixing.


    p.s. 2nd pic is a limited, more stripped-down palette with about half the colors. You can't do all of the intensities possible with the full palette, but you can still paint *anything* (with certain modulation and good decision-making), so it's all good!
    Last edited by rusko-berger; December 13th, 2009 at 07:58 AM.

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  4. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    In my own thoughts.
    Thanked 561 Times in 256 Posts
    You might want to make a thread in the lounge announcing that you're giving all this information away. Since people tend to miss this subsection quite a lot, but everybody watches the lounge.

    Thanks for doing these btw.

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  6. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Virginia, USA
    Thanked 2,185 Times in 755 Posts
    What Hyskoa said. I suspect people don't know that these exist. And you've got a wealth of information here that people would probably be eager to devour. Keep it up!

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  8. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Sunshine State
    Thanked 226 Times in 174 Posts
    Man, thanks for all of this. I'll be watching these.

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  10. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Santa Clara, CA
    Thanked 142 Times in 115 Posts
    This is exactly the information I've been looking for to get into oils. Thank you so much!

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  12. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Charm City: Baltimore, MD
    Thanked 108 Times in 43 Posts
    Lady & Gentlemen (Arenyth, squidmonk3j, drd, Noah, and Hyskoa),

    I very much appreciate your replies and thanks.

    It's funny: I've been meaning to teach (on top of all the other things I do) for a number of years, and it was only once I decided to really get involved with CA did it all come together. Within the last few days I figured out why. It's because CA *feels* like a community. CA has the breadth, scope, membership size, and quality that reminds me of the last time I felt that, which was 18 (unfortunately long years ago)--my last year in college.

    And while CA is certainly Virtual (and therefore, arm's-length/not exactly personal), it still has a nice feel to it.

    I gladly take your ideas about promoting my painting series in the Lounge. Any other promo ideas/ideas to promote within the Lounge are most welcome. Please feel free to spread the Word to anyone you think would dig this...and I'm just getting started--there's a LOT more in store!

    Again, many thanks.


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  14. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Darwin, Australia
    Thanked 279 Times in 179 Posts
    I'm really looking forward to geting started on my first piece done in oils but unfortunately with my tendonitis I have to wait about 2 weeks But I am stiill happy and assured knowing that I can get hepful advice and feedback from you. Thanks Rusko.
    I bought a full spectrum palette. I've done alot of acrylic, watercolour, gouache and digital painting. But I'm just wondering, do you think I should still start in baby steps i.e. My first piece just black and white, then when I'm comfortable with how the paint is applied move onto monochromatic, then like a Zorn palette, and so on?
    Also I bought the winton brand, and using an archival fat medium.
    Last edited by Cam Sykes; October 12th, 2009 at 06:08 AM.

  15. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Charm City: Baltimore, MD
    Thanked 108 Times in 43 Posts
    Heya, Cam--

    Lordy knows you can (and should) explore what you think is best/find interesting.

    However, in this series (when we get to it--soon), I'll be having people think about paint color in a Holistic manner (i.e. as local color/hue, value, and temperature). In other words--all at once. The benefit of this approach is that it doesn't relegate Color (hue & temperature) to a secondary role. This strengthens the painter's approach both concretely (by giving you experience in translating and creating appropriate mixes) and mentally (by not thinking of color as something "only" added to value).

    When I was learning to paint, sure, sometimes I had to do paintings that were value studies. But on balance, they were very few, and I didn't get a lot out of it--hence my approach here. 80-90% of the time I see value painting studies, people get *so* wrapped up in translating Value that they seem to completely forget about paint application and start drawing with their brushes. What follows becomes an unpleasant un-learning process.

    Now don't get me wrong--every painter MUST have a good grasp of value to paint well. That being said, I think grayscale drawing media (charcoal, pencil, intaglio printing, conte, chalk, etc) are naturally geared towards understanding value. Additionally, it also helps your eye/brain axis learn good value, yet not compartmentalize it; you train yourself to use all you know about value in one area (drawing) and translate it into another (paint) without creating "media barriers".

    So again: do what you need to do, but I'm not going to be doing that here.


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