Chasing color and capturing it has in many ways been elusive for many trying to paint. Further it’s been a course of intense study for a very long time including the artistic and science side to it with many opinions. Recently, I came across an old book published in 1895 or so, that was written for teachers on color study. My how the English language has changed since then! Despite the wordiness, it got me to thinking on the subject of color once again and thought I’d share some insights gained from 41 years of painting.
Color is Personal
Color perception and taste is personal. No two people likely see colors in the same way and artists have their favorite paints and often no two have the same exact palette. Color preference is seen in other areas. As an example, take shopping for a neck tie. Pick any tie and someone will love the colors in it, while another wouldn’t want to be caught dead wearing it. Yes, color is personal. Likely you can harmonize your tastes in clothing and its accessories and even in your home furnishings and decor. So it goes with painting. Artist’s works can often be recognized by their use of color, not just technique or subject matter. Someone may like the color scheme chosen, while others hate it. That’s how it is. What’s important for an artist regardless of preference is simply to learn to mix and duplicate the appearance of colors they see and then put them in the right place in their painting.
We really don’t need to know the science of how we see color. Be happy that you can, even if your vision isn’t the same as others. It brings variety, but you can develop your color sense to a higher degree through practice and careful observation.
Paints to Mix By
First you need a set of colors that will give you a good vivid representation of the 12 hues on a color wheel. For that I list the following as primary colors.
- Yellow: Cadmium Yellow Light or Pale
- Blue: Phthalo Blue or Winsor Blue
- Red: Permanent Rose or Quinacridone Rose
These colors differ from what one normally considers as primary colors because those do not produce a full spectrum. The above colors are similar to the hues of printing inks of yellow, cyan and magenta. Although these produce a fairly vivid color wheel when mixed, we need to remember these are not inks being printed which are made up of little dots and visually combined to see a color. Therefore, I prefer to have tubed colors that approximate the secondary colors.
- Orange: Cadmium Orange
- Violet: Dioxazine Violet or Winsor Violet
- Green: Permanent Green ( This can be found in Winsor Newton Brand )
Using a tubed color instead of mixing a secondary color will give a more intense color and it will also give more intense intermediate colors when mixed with the primary colors. To lower the brightness of a color, instead of using its compliment you can mix a gray of roughly half black and half raw umber. To tint the color add white. For further explanations you may wish to read my other article on how to choose a color palette. Hope these suggestions will help in chasing color and capturing it.
Speaking of Color
Here’s a variety of paintings up for auction on eBay featuring different color schemes.
Morning Light at the Pond 10×8 oil by Byron
To have a chance at placing a winning bid, first sign into your eBay account and then visit my profile page. You’ll see what other paintings are also available. Auction end dates are variable.
Another way to find my listings while logged in, is using eBay’s search feature and typing in “Nature landscape oil painting” in parenthesis and it will likely return results for my work.
Colorful Creek 8×10 oil by Byron
Color in the Canyon
Arizona Vista 8×10 oil by Byron
Thanks for reading!