Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Palette: Part 2

So to finish off what I started yesterday leading up to my palette, I'll list off the colors in the in which they appear. Here's the image again as a reference:

I'll list them and explain certain groupings as I go. Initially my palette was just all the colors on the outer edges starting with white + yellow ocher (a color that no longer appears on my palette). The reason for the ridiculous amount of pigments you see piled on here is because once at Dorian's house for life drawing, Chris Pugliese made a guest appearance and he brought along his palette. That guy has a lot of paint on his palette, probably double what I have. So I went ahead and busted out paint tubes I hadn't used in years, and in some cases that I never even opened. In my ignorance, I would buy tubes of colors that appeared pretty in my eyes. "Oh look! Egyptian Violet, what a lovely color. I'm sure I'll use it!" sucker cost a lot of money. Never used it. While using this mini-beast of a pigment confetti fiesta I learned, or rather I RE-learned, why it is using less colors is somewhat better. For me at least. With so many colors to choose from, the amount of mud I create is staggering. Mud is good, yes, but maintaining a proper color harmony gets tricky when there's more than four or five pigments in any given color mixture. So now it has pretty much served as a major experiment in determining which colors I use the most and which ones I can remove.

So that I don't repeat myself in every color, I strive for the highest lightfastness level in my colors. Lightfastness is a color's endurance to light exposure as well as its inherent fading properties. Certain pigments fade after several years with or without any exposure to light. Those colors do not appear on my palette if I can help it.

1 and 2: Blue Black and Mars Black. Yes, I added black to my palette because sometimes I need a really dark value and mixing it myself doesn't always cut it. As is the case with the majority of my colors, they are a cool and warm of the color. Blue Black as replaced Ivory Black because it is more permanent and won't crack as much with age. Mars Black is the warmer black, and a really lovely color to use actually. Winsor & Newton and Williamsburg brand, respectively.

3: Titanium White (right now experimenting with Permalba white), and sometimes mixed with genuine Old Holland Flake White and made brighter by grinding Titanium White pigment into the mix. I do the latter when I want a super opaque, blindingly bright white. White is probably the most important color on any realist palette.

4 and 5: Burnt Sienna and Transparent Red Oxide. I reintroduced burnt sienna because its just an awesome warm color. I don't use it as often as the red oxide, so I prepare a smaller pile of it. The red oxide is more transparent than the sienna, so it's great for making luminous glazes. I haven't quite settled on a brand for burnt sienna, but Rembrandt for the red oxide.

6: Cadmium Red or Vermillion, depending on what I need. Both are permanent, but cad red has much more covering power. Vermillion is slightly warmer and perfect when you want subtle temperature shifts. Holbein for vermillion, not settled on cad red but using Winsor & Newton at the moment.

7 and 8: Quinacridone Red and Permanent Rose. These two reds are very transparent and more importantly completely permanent. I started using these two after reading James Gurney's post on pure Alizarin Crimson's instability http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2010/04/lightfastness-and-alizarin-crimson.html. I may give the color itself another try in its permanent or hue form, but for now these two make me happy. Quinacridone red, when mixed with certain greens, makes luscious browns and amazing flesh tones. Haven't settled on any brand.

9 and 10: Cad Yellow Light and Lemon Yellow. Slowly finding little use for the first color, but lemon yellow is wonderful! Holbein.

11 and 12: Cinnabar Green Light and Viridian. The first is a opaque, warm green that makes beautiful browns when mixed with transparent reds. Viridian is a gorgeous cool green that lends to some beautiful mixtures when used. It doesn't overpower the other pigments, but it has presence. Holbein and Rembrandt, respectively

13 and 14: Cobalt Blue and Manganese Pthalo Blue. I used to hate Cobalt, now I can't live without it. All purpose blue pretty much. Makes great flesh tones, blacks, browns, you name it! Manganese pthalo blue is a ridiculously transparent color. Since it is a pthalocyanine pigment it tends towards the greenish side. Low tinting strength, but easily shifts to warm or cool. Holbein and Rembrandt

15: Magenta. This is regular magenta, so it isn't permanent but it will soon be replaced by permanent magenta or perhaps quinacridone magenta. Its a beautiful warm color, great for flesh tones. Also a very transparent color so it makes great glazes. No brand preference.

So that's my original palette. Now all the add ons...

16: Brilliant Pink. I think I saw it on Chris Pugliese's palette, or at least some similar color. I hate it. Not gonna use it anymore. No tinting strength even though it is semi-opaque. Even though it is bright and festive, it muddies my mixtures.

17: Golden Ocher: Haven't really given this color a fair run yet.

18: Cadmium Yellow: Possible replacement for Cad Yellow Light. It's warmer and I've found myself dipping the brush in there a whole lot more. No brand yet.

19: Yellow Ochre Light: new permanent addition to my palette, replacing traditional yellow ochre. It is lighter in tone, which I personally like a lot more. Mixes easily, permanent, and great covering power. Rembrandt.

20: Naples Yellow or Jaune Brilliant, or occasionally a mix of both: I have a lot of naples yellow leftover from art school, so I thought I'd give it another chance. Still don't like it.

21: Greenish Yellow: This little gem... oh man how I love it. Beautiful transparent green, when mixed with quinacridone red makes a heavenly golden brown glaze. Nuff said! However, I don't know if it is permanent since Holbein colors are hard to read since they're in a different language and there's no visible markings for lightfastness. Cinnabar Green Pigment is it's permanent (in the color sense) replacement until I find out.

22: Turquoise: Gorgeous color, but not very useful in regular painting. Nice accent color though. Holbein

23: Pthalo Turquoise: Same as above. Rembrandt

24: Pthalo Blue: The mother of all tinting colors. This mofo will get into every other color even if you don't put any on your palette. But my Lord it is a beautiful color. Warmish blue, superior tinting strength, beautifully transparent, and photographs like a champ according to Donato. I don't use it often, but it does make occasional appearances when I need a blue that wants to be noticed. Williamsburg

25: Ultramarine: It was on my palette in place of cobalt for a while and has found its way back. I love this blue. Transparent, warm but can be cooled easily (temperature is really all relative anyway), makes beautiful darks and great glazes. Williamsburg and Rembrandt

26: Egyptian Violet: I have absolutely no use for this color as of now, but its a Williamsburg color.

A and B: MUD! At the end of every painting session, I scrape up and mix all the mixtures I used. It it is dark, I put it in the A area, if its lighter it goes in B. This mud gets used constantly to alter and knock down the chroma of a certain mixture. Or I can use as is in many cases. I don't like wasting paint.

C: Transparent Red Oxide + White. Its just a tint. I use it so often with white mixed that I figured why not save myself the time and just mix a pile of it to start with and run with it.

So that is my palette right now. I plan on downsizing it to a more manageable number of colors, but this'll do for the time being.

As far as brands are concerned I don't attach myself to one. Each brand has their own pros and cons. If I could afford Old Holland paints, I would buy them since they are ground in natural cold pressed linseed oil and not alkali refined oil, tothe best of my knowledge. But they are no where near my price range. Until then I PREFER transparent colors from Winsor & Newton and Rembrandt and opaques from Holbein. I also use Williamsburg which is a step down from Old Holland. They're not as expensive, and their colors don't always mix nicely, but they do have some gems like Ultramarine Blue and the Cadmiums.

Tomorrow I'll discuss the Old Master palettes that influenced me the most; Rembrandt and especially Bouguereau. Thursday will be devoted to the contemporary masters who really got me thinking about color in a different way. And Friday will be first friday self-portrait day :)