Mixing greens, and experimenting with camera settings…

Well, I got two things off of my list.  Everything else had to wait until after watercolor experimentation (hey the sun was up!).  😛

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From top to bottom:  Lemon Yellow (Hansa Yellow Light)/Prussian Blue, Lemon Yellow/Chrome Cerulean (Daniel Smith), Winsor Yellow/Chrome Cerulean, Winsor Yellow/Prussian Blue.  In these tests I made a near-middle green first, then extended the color into blue going down; and yellow, going to the right.

I’m in the middle of relearning that in art, most skills and techniques can’t be learned unless the artist goes out of their way to try it themselves.  Learning about it in theory, or learning about it secondhand, won’t suffice.  Thus, listening to other people say what can and can’t be done, or will and won’t work, isn’t entirely productive.  Those other people may not share your conditions (as, say, maybe M. Graham paints do actually never dry, in tropical conditions; but maybe I don’t live in tropical conditions).

Today M stated that if I went to the art store again, I couldn’t go back for a week, because I was addicted.  *^_^*  I opted not to go and to save that trip for a later date, even though we were right there.  I knew that if I could first practice with the paints I have, I would then have a better idea about anything I needed, as versus something I might need but was not sure about.

What I can tell, though:  15ml tubes are probably about the right size for intense color.  I have a bunch of tiny tubes (5-7 ml), but really those are great for testing colors…not for being mainstays.  And I’m not sure if I want to keep to Winsor & Newton, now that I have had a taste of other brands (particularly:  Grumbacher, M. Graham [I really love their Hansa Yellow — it disperses beautifully — I haven’t tried it wet-on-wet yet], Daniel Smith, Mijello).

Of course, though, it’s necessary to be a smart consumer and know what you’re buying before you buy it — there have been a lot of complaints that I’ve seen about Mijello Mission Gold brand being “mislabeled,” but it really seems that “mislabeling” is industry-standard and that companies telling you the actual pigments they’re using is a mark of quality.  I don’t think they’re required to do so, unless the paints contain one or more ingredients requiring a carcinogen warning under California Proposition 65.

I’ve just been learning things piece by piece, and each new bit of information makes me want to experiment, more.  Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately), there are no decent art stores in my area…and waiting at home encourages research

Anyhow, I’ve also been experimenting with camera settings.  The two photos I’m showing here were taken on the “Tungsten” lighting setting on my camera.  Although I was under fluorescent lighting, these images were the closest I came to what I had seen while the Sun was up (though they didn’t capture everything:  for example, M. Graham Hansa Yellow [I tend to just call this Lemon Yellow, as versus Hansa Yellow Light, or Pigment Yellow 3 {PY3} or Arylide Yellow, but in the spirit of accuracy…] and Winsor Green [Blue Shade] make a nearly fluorescent green combination when combined, seen below left).

(I tend to work by the edict that a color can be neutralized and thus dulled down, but the amount of light it reflects cannot be made brighter than it initially is…though that thought has been questioned by those around me…possibly because warm and fluorescent colors can appear psychologically brighter than white?  I don’t know.  I’ve noticed that I have a relatively high-key palette, though, and that is for this reason.)

Anyhow — every other camera setting cast a brownish tone over the entire image, which I knew I would have to edit out in Photoshop.  Turns out, it’s much easier to take the photo correctly, the first time.  😛  I also realized that I could alter the white balance on these images directly in my camera, instead of applying filters after the fact.  (Both of these images were taken with the white balance shifted a bit brighter than the light in the room.  Which, like taking the photo under the “Tungsten” setting even though I was under warm fluorescent light, did help with color fidelity.)

There was no processing after-the-fact (post-processing?) I knew how to do that I could do here, that would have helped — other than a judicious applying of the Skew tool to unskew my camera positioning.  But I thought that would be a little much.

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Top to bottom:  Lemon Yellow/Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Winsor Yellow/Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Lemon Yellow/Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Yellow/Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Aureolin/Winsor Blue (Green Shade).  For newbies, Winsor Green and Blue are both Phthalocyanine colors, with Winsor & Newton branding in these particular names.  Aureolin is genuine Aureolin, PY40.

What I found is that I get some **** clean colors out of Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), when they’re combined with the lighter Hansa Yellow (which is a cool, delicate, light yellow, often referred to as “Lemon Yellow”).  Phthalo Blue (GS) combined with Aureolin also makes really bright, pure, strong mixes.  I will indeed be sad if Aureolin does discolor with moisture and/or light…

…and I’m thinking of going over some of these swatches again with glazing in their original color mixes, in order to deepen them.  (I’ve already done this on maybe 3 or so squares, where I used too much water.)  It will be easier to see differences in hue, that way.

Prussian Blue and Chrome Cerulean (1st image) also make decent mixes with Lemon Yellow; in addition to Prussian Blue mixing well with Winsor Yellow (according to Blick’s website and handprint.com, this is a benzimidazolone [or Benzimida, I’ve also heard it called] yellow; and I’ve just manually checked it:  it is Pigment Yellow 154 [or, PY154], which concurs).

I got some really…slightly surprising reactions of the Chrome Cerulean with Winsor Yellow, however (1st image, third from the top).  I wouldn’t repeat the process, unless it were to see if the pigments settled out because of the amount of water in the paint (too much).  This mixture granulated heavily in the mixtures tending more toward Cerulean, in a way that I didn’t really find attractive or currently useful (you might, though!).  However, using less Cerulean and more Benzimida could add a subtle touch to …something.  I don’t know what, right now.

This is as far as I got today before I had to stop.  I was working on cheap paper because I was just doing scales…but I’ve got to say that the Fluid cold-press watercolor paper (second photo) was much more of a joy to work on than the Strathmore 300 rough I was trying to use up (in the first photo).

I’m kind of glad I don’t have any more of it, now… 😉

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Rounding out the palette

Alright then.  Although it was against my better judgment, I did go out and get a Prussian Blue and a Cerulean.  The Cerulean I got, though…may need to be mixed with the Phthalo Green or Viridian in order to achieve qualities that would allow it to effectively tone down very warm colors…I haven’t trialed it yet, and so am not sure.

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Trial Five:  by the way, the increased texture on the Aureolin (Yellow), Cerulean Chromium (Blue), and Phthalo (Blue) colors may be due more to the paper I used than to paint qualities…

I neglected to see that Daniel Smith (the brand I ended up getting, as that was what was available) had more than one variant of PB36 (Pigment Blue 36).  Or, maybe more to the point:  I neglected to see that both PB36 and PB35 were pigments for things named “Cerulean.”  I was expecting something a bit greener, though got scared when I attempted to check the color in the store and felt pressure releasing towards the cap.  Because the people at Blick spent a full 5 minutes (at least) trying to locate what I wanted (and did the research for me), I then was OK with leaving with this.

What I can say is that my “Cerulean Blue, Chromium,” from Daniel Smith is almost brighter than my Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)!  That’s certainly saying something!

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I’ve tried to adjust the colors here to be accurate to what I saw, earlier.  The Prussian Blue is a bit more intense and bluer than Cotman Prussian Blue, but it’s very subtle.  They appear to be the same value when dry, it’s just that one (the Winsor & Newton Cotman [student-grade] formulation) is grayer than the other, as an illustration of the quality differential between student-grade and professional-grade.  It’s kind of a weird thing to try and describe.  Maybe I should take a picture of it…

I believe that the “Cerulean Blue, Chromium,” is PB36…PB35 would have given me something more along the lines of what I expected:  a greener blue-green.  Because of the way this blue looks, though…I might be able to temper it with one of those ugly mostly-green colors with a hint of blue in order to have the color I was originally going for… 😉

I did get the Cerulean to mix greens and dull down colors, though.  It wasn’t something which I was planning to utilize on its own…this is why there is that one gap in my “earth tone” section, in the first image.  When and if I get a gross-looking green-blue to mix with the Cerulean, I’ll put it there.  😉

I think I’m about ready to fill my palette, now…

And…back to reality

It does help to have something to do, that much I can say.

Summer Session 2017 has just started, for me.  In addition to my Vocational appointment, and a medical appointment which will soon be followed up upon (possibly a good thing), I was able to pick up study materials, work through the course intro, my first lecture, and complete one of two readings (it was only two pages long, not a big deal).  It looks like I will be able to make it to the group on Wednesday:  I have three chapters to read (about 55 pages), an introduction, and a Discussion post due by Sunday night.

Tomorrow, I have to get the rest of my bloodwork (blood tests) done (fasting), see my counselor, see my optometrist (I’ve already decided to keep my current frames).  After that, everything else is optional until Friday, except for work.

I’m not sure if it’s necessary to say that I haven’t done any art, today, although I have been curious about the watercolor thing.  And the Notan thing, not to mention that I found photos of acrylic ink swatches last night which I prepped, but didn’t post.  (That would be this:)

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I think I’ve been over this, already, though.  At the time, I was intending to try my hand at comic illustration, and so invested in some muted hues in FW acrylic inks.  From left to right, I’m pretty sure they are:

  • Red Earth
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Flesh Tint (I’m not sure if that is white mixed in with it, to the right)
  • Burnt Umber

(By the way, those are just the names on the bottles.  All of them are convenience mixtures made out of two or more pigments.  Noting that, the original photo of this was so bad that I had to digitally alter the colors so they were visible.  I can see that the background looks a little blue — and dim — from here, though.)

However…maybe I want to try a form of drawing or painting with these that isn’t comic-centered, given that the world of humans can be an irritant to me.  (I wonder if I can work this into printing, or if I just habitually start projects and don’t finish them?)

One thing I do want to experiment with, though, and clearly:  I mentioned in a prior post questions about color mixing; how I had mixed secondary and tertiary colors but — for lack of a better word — had not fully explored muted tones.  A predominantly orange color (yellow + red) plus a little blue, for example, makes brown.  But what about the other mixtures?

How do I even map that out?  I can’t do it in my head:  I’ll have to write it down, then probably copy it over onto good paper and see what happens if, say, I make a color wheel and fill in as much as I can.  But then, what if I start mixing colors which are not split-complementary (like yellow/red + blue are)?

I mean, you can see where I’m going with this?  What about yellow-orange, what is that, “yellow/yellow/red”?  And that then shifts the complementary color towards violet…but again, I don’t have to use the direct complement.

I think I’ve been up too long.  I’m going to bed.