I was going to try and write a SIMPLE paragraph about color. Can’t do it. It is so complex. There is Newton and cones in the eye and the length of light waves and then there’s Goethe and his color wheel, etc. and psychology and chemistry, etc., etc., etc. That’s why I just have hundreds of tubes of paint.
I’ve presented color lessons in the past and I think they are vale valuable, but for now I’m just going to give you these links to 1) a commercial video that introduces Josef Albers – http://vimeo.com/12775814 (a short and sweet version–just a couple of highlights) and 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YpZX0Xj9-Y- (a longer, more academic look at color that includes an iPad “app” and a nervous Yale professor—it’s a little painful, as she is so slow and awkward, but it’s really good stuff).
In addition, at the request several class members, I’m going to list tubes of paint and their makers that I like and why.
These are some paints I can’t live without:
FINITY—Davy’s Grey and Olive green. Finity is made by Winsor Newton and I really utilize it for its transparent characteristics. These colors are both on the warm side of the spectrum, but are neutral. They are great for modulating passages that are already on the canvas that need to get a little darker, but not cool, or grayed-out like black can do. (They dry much darker than when they first come out of the tube, so beware.)
OF COURSE—Quinacridone nikel azo GOLD. This is the “magic” color that makes everything look like a renaissance painting. (Think Rembrandt—yes, do think Rembrandt–always.) Golden is my preferred brand, but the Liquitex Acra Gold will do, especially if it’s on sale.
I like Golden Quinacridone nikel azo YELLOW also. This is very transparent. It is an acrid, yellow green or green yellow, take your pick, that mixes beautifully and stains yellow green. Think intense, low sun, when rolling hills glow. It mixes with Thalo Turquois (or sometimes just known as turquoise) about 10-1, to make a lovely, transparent blue-green
Golden also makes a transparent color that is great for adding soft, warm glow. It’s a pinky, coral, red called Quinacridone, Red, Light. Very different than any other red.
Golden, again, is my favorite for Ultramarine Violet—other companies make similar colors of different names. This is my favorite.
For a ton of fun play with Golden’s color mixer: http://www.goldenpaints.com/mixer But be aware that the colors don’t really look like the colors in real life. It’s still fun.
Liquitex makes my favorite Turner’s Yellow –think Turner—his yellow isn’t too gold, or orange, or green, or lemony or chalky. It’s not intense, like cadmiums or Hansa. Some may think it’s a little gray, but it works well for landscapes. It’s highly pigmented, translucent with a satin finish.
Paynes Grey, a dense, cool, dark blue grey, mixes beautifully with anything and stains to give a beautiful patina to any color already n place.
Indian Yellow – a warm, almost orange dark yellow, very transparent but highly pigmented. I use this color maybe more than any other single color. I buy the Golden liquid just because the pigment is rich and it is transparent—this color will WARM up anything, but is not as dark as the magic color.
Primary Red—reds are so hard to mix and technically magenta is what mixes best, but sometimes you will see this color and that indicates it is meant to mix. It’s helpful to have a mixing red. When you use what looks like primary red, like Napthol, mixed with cyan or ultramarine you end up with a brown. (It will mix with cobalt blue for purple though.) So any color labeled “primary” is designed to mix a clear, “color wheel” kind of result.
Sap Green—This is a fairly dark green, transparent usually, and not too blue, like Hooker’s. It’s closer to olive, but without so much black. Mixed out with white it makes a Khaki green.
Red Oxide—Not every company makes this, I know that Liquitex does. It’s a very earthy orange/red. Oxides come from iron so think “grand canyon” orange.
Lastly, there is a paint I’ve only begun to try. I think I like it. It’s Atelier brand by Chroma. http://www.atelieracrylic.com/atelier-interactive I’ve only bought a couple of these, but the one I reach for frequently is red-gold. It’s a sumptuous, intense warm color that really adds punch. Another color they make is called red-black. You can make this color by mixing, for sure, but oh to squeeze it out of the tube—yummy.
All of this talk of paint makes me want to get into the studio—I’m on my way….