IDEA: "There is no limitation on creating. The artist belies
the physical scientist's manifesto on the conservation of matter
and energy with its implicit idea that nothing is ever really
created or destroyed. On the contrary, take three artists and
direct them to paint the same still life and you will get three
different still lifes. Put pen, paint or crayon to paper and you
have created something. So all is potential. From that as a starting
point, we can work on professionalism and the quality of communication."
What's the purpose of making a visual statement, a painting,
drawing etc. Is it to tell a story? Propagandize? Communicate?
"Art for art's sake?" Do some thinking about it.
Transparency of a color (how much you can see the paint color
under it through it) and opacity affect the way you use the color.
If you misuse a transparent color, trying to make it opaque, you
will be very frustrated with the results. Watercolors are often
quite transparent. Most acrylics are somewhat transparent (except
for white). Many oils are transparent; others are quite opaque.
Paints which are not very transparent can be made more transparent
by mixing them with a medium and thus making them more transparent.
Examples: Alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, Prussian blue,
burnt sienna, and viridian are highly transparent. Cadmium yellow,
Cadmium red, Indian Red (closest to burnt sienna) are opaque.
Flake white is reputedly more transparent than titanium white.
A comparison of the Winsor-Newton
oil color chart gives us the following basic possible transparent
and opaque palettes:
Cadmium yellow pale
Cobalt blue deep (semi-transparent)
Cerulean blue (semi-opaque
A limited palette with an overall high degree of transparency
Winsor Lemon (a greenish yellow)
Indian yellow (a more orange yellow)
Bright red (an orange red)
Alizarin Crimson (a bluish red)
Ultramarine blue (a redish blue)
Thalo (or Phthalo or Prussian) blue (a greenish blue)
This sort of limited palette is discussed by Michael Wilcox in
and Yellow Don't Make Green. I have substitiuted Prussian
Blue for Cerulean on the Oil and Acrylic palette. Cerulean frequently
contains white, which makes it less satisfactory -- a weaker color
-- on the oil and acrylic palette and wholly unsatisfactory on
the watercolor palette. Also, you may choose to substitute Permanent
Alizarin Crimson for Alizarin Crimson. I have learned that Alizarin
Crimson is less lightfast and permanent -- that is, more "fugitive"
-- than the new Permanent Alizarin and I am currently experimenting
3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."
Exercise: Test the transparency of the colors on your
existing palette by drawing a dark or black line with a permanent
ink on your drawing surface, then laying each color over the line.
Some will obscure the underlying black. Some will partially obscure
that it. Some will not. Also mix the colors to see what shades
the various combinations make.
Advanced: Try one or both of the following exercises:
Make a background of grey tone stripes, running from black to
white. Overlay this with transparentized (by adding medium) colors
to see what the effect is of colorizing a grey surface.
Make a stripe of each of the colors on your palette, running
from full color to very whitened color. Let this dry. Run a transparentized
stripe of each of your palette colors over the underpainting.
This will show you how each color interacts with other colors
painted below it.
What do you think of this? What did you learn?
of transparent colors in GLAZING can help you make your canvases
brighter and more lustrous. In the small painting I did here,
called "Three-fourths still life" I used glazing to
brighten and tranparentize the fruit. Click on the image to see
a larger version.
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