Continuation: lightfastness chart photos

Thinking back on it, maybe it would have been best to delay gratification and combine this post and the last, into one. 🙂 In any case, I do now have photos.

color chart (aided by Photoshop)
I used Photoshop to cut out the two empty rows on the left, between the reds and blues.

I’ve opted for a more natural look to this, instead of trying to make the white of the paper as close as possible to the white of the screen, which distorts the colors a bit. There is a brightness adjustment added to this, but that’s all.

I’ll be identifying the colors by Row (top to bottom) and Column (left to right), for my international readers…I realize this might not be immediately apparent.

I also need to let you know a bit of errata: Viridian (Row 4, Column 5) isn’t a cobalt color, it’s a chromium color. I have a pattern of confusing one for the other…

Last night, I was also mistaken in saying that Vermilion Deep was the only paint in which I got brush strokes: Raw Umber (Row 3, Column 6) did it too, but I don’t expect much from Raw Umber, at this point (maybe I should try a different brand).

Anyhow: see that Winsor Orange (Row 2, Column 4)? Gah. It’s just terrible compared to the majority of the colors. Because my Winsor Orange tube also has a cracked cap and wanted to gush when I tried getting the cap off the tube (it was stuck and I had to really work to get it off)...and it grays out really quickly once I try to mix it…I’m not entirely certain what I’m going to do with it. Maybe I’ll go to an artists’ meetup and conveniently forget it/donate it…

blue test swatches

This time, swatching out the blues did produce an effect that is visible on a computer monitor (…I think?). Some of these colors, though…

I was working wet-into-wet, here. With a fully loaded brush, sometimes the paint dispersed immediately to leave the area I intended to mark heavily, leaving mid-range coverage in its wake. With some paints, like Cobalt Blue (second from the top, to the left), the paint actually seemed to try to cover the entire area evenly, instead of in a gradation. This would be a good thing if you were using it for a sky, which this color is almost perfect for (unless you didn’t want a blue sky!).

I had been trying to produce gradations to see what finer applications of the colors might do under sunlight.

One of the things I am impressed with, though, is the beauty of the colors which are more muted, here. I think I started out in class with French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, and Phthalo Blue (Green Shade). Cerulean Blue Chromium, Prussian Blue, and Indanthrene Blue were all later additions.

I’ve mentioned before that I read on handprint.com that indanthrene/indanthrone can be approximated by a mix of Phthalo Blue with Quinacridone Violet (a.k.a. Permanent Magenta, in Winsor & Newton’s range: Row 6, Column 1) — check the notes under PB60 (Pigment Blue 60). I’ve tried this, and it does work, though the mix is obviously going to vary in shade depending on proportions.

I can also see myself working with Prussian Blue more, in the future. I believe I got this to try and mix decent greens…with my memory being unclear on whether it actually helps, though I think it does.

swatches of red paints

To the right, here, are the reds I’ll be testing. The relative character of Permanent Rose does, I think, come through — though this is still a bit of a dull capture. I’m looking at it now under an artificial light and it seems to almost glow. (This is Winsor & Newton’s formulation: different companies have a tendency to call the same pigments by different names.)

The top two, Rose Madder and Alizarin Crimson, are known to change color over time; hence they’re called fugitive pigments. I’m doing the lightfastness test to see how bad this actually is.

Incidentally…those two colors are related. They were originally derived from Madder (a plant) — Alizarin Crimson is one of two components that make up its color…

Anyway, the top swatch is Mijello Mission Gold — I got it as a bonus when I bought my palette. But even here, they acknowledged that it is not great so far as longevity…The second swatch, Alizarin Crimson, is Winsor & Newton brand. I’m not crazy about it, when there are alternatives.

I really like the Winsor Red (fourth from the top), after all this time. This was our “warm” red in Watercolor class (using a split-primary palette), though it barely leans to either a warm or cool direction. (Permanent Rose was our cool red.)

I’m not sure what to do with Vermilion Deep, though as I said last post, I’m going to try and find a better-quality paint. This one had almost no flow, and I’m not sure if it’s due to age (I got it on Amazon, who knows how old it is) or formulation. Maybe the page was just too dry?

Permanent Magenta isn’t showing up in the photograph, all that well…but I just checked another file and it’s similarly distorted. Permanent Magenta is basically a red-leaning violet color, more than a violet-leaning red. There’s an earthiness that it shares with Indanthrene Blue, which one might expect…

When mixing two pigment colors — like Permanent Magenta and Phthalo Blue (excluding fluorescent colors [which absorb light and re-emit it at different wavelengths], duochrome paints [which look different depending on one’s viewing angle] and complex things like dichroic glass [which both transmit and reflect light, though this may be an entirely different animal]) — the result of the mix reflects frequencies of light that have to be reflected by both (?) of the colors which went into it, unless I’m mistaken.

The basis of subtractive color (as used in non-digital painting) is that we perceive color as the leftovers of the light absorbed. The frequencies of reflected and emitted light, taken together, our brains interpret as a specific color. So Permanent Magenta reflects many wavelengths (colors of light), which my brain interprets as predominantly warm violet, with red. And Phthalo Blue reflects many wavelengths, which my brain interprets as deep blue with a hint of green.

When pigments are mixed, what is left over after both pigments subtract what they will of the light present, is the new color. In other words, a color very close to Indanthrene Blue is the light which was not absorbed by both Permanent Magenta and Phthalo Blue. Magenta absorbs some of what Blue doesn’t; Blue absorbs some of what Magenta doesn’t.

The forward result is a deep, inky blue with both violet and green tones supporting it, closer to black (black means no light is reflected), which makes sense…though I’m not sure I could do the math now to support why I think it does make sense. The following is just hypothetical:

On a scale from white (100%) to black (0%) — we’re talking about value, now —

Some light is subtracted from 100% with Magenta (Magenta would have a negative value); and more light is subtracted with Magenta + Blue (Blue would also have a negative value; the addition of a negative value is the same as subtraction). Even though this is not simple subtraction (after all, we are talking about many, many frequencies of light which are being tweaked individually), if Black = 0% and both Magenta and Blue subtract their part from 100% (white light), it seems feasible to state that:

close up of Permanent Magenta, Phthalo Blue, and Indanthrene Blue in greyscale

Magenta + Blue < Magenta, and

Magenta + Blue < Blue.

Wow, that was hard to get out. And I might be wrong, or maybe I should go into Chemistry + Optics…

There is the remaining fact that my Phthalo Blue swatch is indeed darker than my Indanthrene Blue swatch. I’m thinking that this has to do largely with the density of its application, not to mention the intensity of Phthalo Blue pigment, which has to be severely diluted to get to the point where we can even see that it’s blue. I do see that Indanthrene is grayer, though, and I wonder if that matters…

I’ve just looked at the image in greyscale, but I’m not sure that helps…

It doesn’t help, either, that my camera didn’t totally pick up the intensity of the Phthalo Blue application. I’m not sure why.

To get back on track, then…there are the yellows. I kind of am irritated at myself for not planning their placement out better, and it’s to the point that I don’t want to cut them out and rearrange them on Photoshop. But if you scroll back up to the top of the page, or better yet, if I re-post that image below:

color chart (aided by Photoshop)

…you can see that Isoindoline Yellow Deep (PY110), Indian Yellow (PO62, PY139 — just realized that this is a mix of Winsor Orange [!] and a different variant of Isoindoline Yellow), Winsor Yellow Deep (PY65) all look very similar.

For the cool yellows, Winsor Yellow (PY154), Hansa Yellow (PY3), and Aureolin (PY40) are hard to tell apart, here: but it’s not so bad in person — at least, when the sun is up!

Then there are the oranges, neither of which I’m too fond of, but Cadmium Orange Hue did save me from having to mix orange from the limited pigments we were allowed, in Watercolor class. It’s possible that the intensity of Cadmium Orange just can’t be gotten out of the colors we had. Maybe I should stop looking toward the yellows for the source of the problem, and try mixing more with an orangish, warm red, instead of a middling red.

At Green Gold (Row 3, Column 4), the yellows start morphing into greens. I feel the need to suggest that perhaps what I had mentioned before about mixing an alternative in acrylics from Bronze Yellow + an Earth Yellow + a blue, may have been off point. You see, Green Gold doesn’t look like it’s meant to be used on its own, but rather sparingly, to do things like warm up greens. It looks fairly horrific on its own and in high density, but look at this:

monstera-3

This is something I was playing with, a while back (hence the example number, I just pulled this from my archives): apologies for the lack of realism (it wasn’t the point of this exercise). Green Gold is what I used to heat up the right side of that leaf. It’s also transparent, so it’s very suited for this.

I don’t think that a mixture approximating what one sees in the tube or applied heavily, really gets close to what one would use Green Gold for. As I said a while back, Green Gold is a very expensive pigment. But I can see that a little goes a long way.

It wouldn’t have come to me so soon, except that in my latest play, I rinsed the Green Gold watercolor paint off of my palette and saw it form an almost neon yellow-green color in high dilutions in the sink. This isn’t something that’s meant to be used as-is, but rather combined with other colors.

I also really want to get into trying to mix more greens, so I can stop dealing with the question of how to create a yellow-leaning green. This is part of why I got Sap Green, unless I’m mistaken (I think the only green we were allowed in class was Viridian…which at the time, I hated. Not so much, now).

Speaking of Viridian, I’ve been advised not to let it dry long-term on a palette. I took this advice and kept it out of my Mijello palette; however, this also means that it goes forgotten, a lot of the time. But I don’t want it to become like Burnt Umber and just become a free-floating rock whose composition I have to guess at. (Burnt Umber still rehydrates beautifully; it just rattles around as — well — a rock, in dry form.)

three granulating green to green-blue pigments

I have an appreciation for Cobalt Turquoise now, that I don’t think I could have predicted. These two colors — Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Turquoise Light — are heavily granulating colors. I’m not sure if I’ve played with them too much, but the three pigments to the right are ones that are relatively intriguing for me, right now.

Particularly, it may be possible to get a more vivid range of greens by starting with a lighter-valued intense pigment like Cobalt Turquoise Light.

Also: Indigo and Payne’s Grey…are two colors that kind of wow me, now. Payne’s Grey is a cool-toned color which is almost, but not quite, black. If black brackets one end of a color range, Payne’s Grey would sit between it and Indigo.

The Indigo color I have is Winsor & Newton, and it isn’t actually true indigo dye (as real indigo is fugitive, this being why jeans fade).

Aside from this, I feel the need to mention, if briefly, Dioxazine Violet (Row 2, Column 5)…which is probably not a necessary color on this palette, now.

Earth tone paint swatches

And the entire column to the left of this passage, including Payne’s Grey, is composed of earth tones. The only one of these that I’m questioning the utility of is Raw Umber, because what I’m seeing in my photos and on my paper is what I’d consider, fairly…well, bad. I’m not sure if it’s me or the paint, or the amount of water on the paper…but I think it’s the paint. This is Winsor & Newton, as well.

The thing about Raw Umber is that I’ve been looking at paint swatches of different brands online, and they don’t all look alike. I’m not entirely sure…what causes that? but there are definitely versions which are bluer than others. In Color Dynamics class, we made a mixture of Ultramarine plus Raw Umber to produce a blend which could dull down colors without causing them to lose their essential character (or “hue,” if you would like me to be direct). 🙂

And in Watercolor class, we didn’t even use earth tones; we mixed them by utilizing a strategy of mixing across the color wheel (as I’ve mentioned [somewhere] before, this will result in muted colors, ranging into chromatic greys). I’m really not sure if anyone liked doing it. 😉 But earth pigments are a nice shortcut if you don’t want to mix skin tones out of three primaries. 😛

The nice part about mixing watercolors is that if you use a white palette, you can see what color you’re coming up with before you ever put it on the paper (though that can’t always be exactly accurate — I’ve seen artists online make test marks on the edges of their drawings. I used to make test marks on the facing pages of the sketchbooks…).

After all of that — unless my light, here, has already faded some of this, I should be moving on to putting black strips over the faces of the swatches. I’m probably also going to be doing some cutting in the process…which will likely be at least a little nerve-wracking, because I haven’t completely gotten the hang of not having my knife veer off course, yet!

Anyhow, that’s for another day…

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Finally done filling the palette.

I wish I had the skills to make a graphic which would provide tooltips on mouseover.  It would just make things so much easier!  In the meantime…the palette is filled…just…OUT OF ORDER!!! D:  😉

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Blues and greens, starting at top right, and moving down:  Cobalt Turquoise Light, Cobalt Turquoise, Indanthrene Blue.  Middle row:  Winsor Green [Yellow Shade], Winsor Green [Blue Shade], Sap Green.  Left row:  Indigo, Prussian Blue (Daniel Smith), Cerulean Blue Chromium (Daniel Smith), Winsor Blue [Green Shade], Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine.  Payne’s Grey is also in there with the Earth Tones and Blacks.
These are the colors that I…FINALLY…put in the freakin’ palette.

The right side of this set of swatches is at the top of the photo…after I started getting “weird” colors (like those), things really got interesting.

For some reason, I have less of an aversion to Cobalt colors than I do to other toxic colors (particularly the Cadmiums).  Maybe I’m just familiar with Cobalt through my work with glass beads…(Cobalt provides a rich, deep violet-blue in glass.)

Right now I’m watching out for this, but mostly the routes of cobalt uptake seem to be through ingestion and inhalation — neither of which, I have to worry about.  (I’m relatively fastidious where it comes to after-work cleanup, and I don’t use an airbrush.  If transdermal exposure were more of a risk [there is still some risk], it would be different.)

I do have a large number of Cobalt colors here.  It’s a mystery to me just how one can get so many different colors out of the same metal.

(Cobalt colors range from Cobalt Violet, through Cobalt Blues, Ceruleans, Teals, and Turquoises, to Aureolin, or Cobalt Yellow.)

I am right now just hoping that I can keep all of these straight…I’m getting kind of tired of painting color chips.  I can see why people use the modular pan setups, now:  because sometimes you really want to shift the placement of colors around, after the fact.  Ideally, Indanthrene Blue would go in between Dioxazine Violet and French Ultramarine, here; I would put Indigo over with the Earth Tones on the right side; and Winsor Green [Yellow Shade] would switch places with Winsor Green [Blue Shade], so that the Yellow Shade would be closer to the other yellows and further from the green-blues.

I’d still be at a loss as to where to put weird colors, though (like the two Cobalt Turquoise paints).  🙂  I got those because I wanted to be able to paint warm greens, as versus cool ones:  I think I’m off to a good start on this.

And…yeah, I did break down and get Indanthrene Blue (Winsor & Newton).  I mixed up a batch of Phthalo Blue and Permanent Magenta, as suggested on handprint.com, but I think the fact that I had Phthalo Blue [Green Shade] (as versus [Red Shade]) caused my mixture — a nice, inky blue-violet — to dull a little.  The Indanthrene here is slightly more vibrant than what I mixed, that is.

The Cerulean Blue Chromium is actually a really useful color — I used it a bunch in my last still-life study.  It’s blue, but not violet enough to take the life out of greens.  I also ended up using Hansa Yellow Light and Deep to good effect, in the last still-life.  From before, I remembered to dull colors with their complements, so violet would grey out yellow, for instance.  And then there were the highlights (save the white space) and the shadows (add an adjacent deeper-valued color).

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I think it’s time I get some rest.  But before I go, I wanted to mention one thing that I need to remember, the next time I fill this palette:  stir the paint with a clean toothpick until it’s smooth, before it dries.  I stirred a few of these, which universally look better than what I did not stir.  In particular, Vermilion Deep, Prussian Blue, and Burnt Umber all cracked pretty badly as they dried, with Burnt Umber actually separating from the well — see below.  (Burnt Umber was, I suspect, the first color to fall out of the lid of my Mijello Silver Nano palette, prompting me to get a palette where nothing was stored in the lid.)  I think that if I had stirred these paints to evenly distribute the gum arabic and release air bubbles before they dried, I would not have had this problem.

Above, I didn’t stir any of these paints except for Burnt Sienna, in the lower right corner, which had separated.

Another problem I’m having is dust and lint collecting on top of the paints when I leave them out to dry after a painting session.  I’m not sure what exactly I can do about this — I don’t want my paints to mold, but getting lint stuck in them is also not ideal.  Maybe if I used a piece of paper as a permeable membrane…

AND…the Mijello 33-well palette is, I’ve found, prone to getting stained, as regards the removable white tray.  I have modded mine to make the wells easier to lift out (tabs of Artists Tape will do the trick), opening up a potential mixing area in addition to the lid and the removable tray, but I haven’t yet tried to mix on anything but the latter.

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… 😉

Yeah…a bit scattered…

I was looking around for information on techniques for filling palettes, and found a number of interesting statements.

  1. Apparently, Viridian (true Viridian, that is) doesn’t re-hydrate well, and I should avoid putting it into a well so that I don’t waste it.
  2. I will want to roughen up the inner surfaces of my palette with either baking soda or a scrubby sponge, before filling the wells.
  3. I’ve heard that M. Graham watercolors (like my Hansa Yellow) never completely dry and may move when held vertically because of it — but that information is disputed online.  Just in case, I will want to fill that well in stages in order to see how well it is setting.

I’ve also been looking around at information on fountain pens and Bullet Journals — the latter of which may enable me to keep track of school assignments and my presently-nonexistent Japanese study (which I keep forgetting about, due to the fact that my books are all neatly and unobtrusively stowed on my bookshelf).  I do have a dotted grid notebook suitable as a Bullet Journal, but it is stowed along with the Japanese-learning materials.

I also read not to use linocutting tools (I assume they meant Speedball knives with interchangeable blades) for woodblock prints, as the blades would dull.  I do have some tools to sharpen my old knives (aluminum oxide waterstone in coarse and fine grit, ultra-fine grit wet/dry sandpaper), but I don’t have the stones right now to hone the insides of my gouges (which would save me from having to buy new gouges).  I’ll stick with linocutting for now, though.  I’m pretty sure the Japanese carving store near me should have the stones available, or I can find them online.

I did look through one book on printmaking techniques, which reminded me of what I had been doing before I derailed myself into watercolors.  (Today I went through everything that I had checked out from the library, and made a pile of things that can go back.  Financial liability is not a good thing.)

Also, I realized that the entire set of my newer watercolor paint samples had been made out of the same sheet of paper; meaning that what didn’t settle roughly on the rough paper (as in the last entry) either must be inherently very smooth, or have contained less water/paint in laydown.  As a further note on that entry, I can now see texture in certain paints and not in others.

I’m also amazed at how many people are using Mijello palettes (or palettes that look like them), though that may be neither here nor there.

And I found out that D didn’t really lose my master tracing/final design for the flower linocut; I just never actually cut it off of the tracing paper (the only reason I know this is that I expected to see a missing square on the sheet, and did not).

In addition, I completed the major reading for this week on Monday, having started on it Sunday night.  My reading speed in English really is getting faster, or the book I was reading was very good at being clear (probably a bit of both).

So tomorrow, what can I do?

  • Go to dentist for cleaning and ask about the craze lines on front teeth
  • Return library books
  • Clean office
  • Clean bedroom
  • Prep loose trays in Mijello 33-well palette with baking soda scrub
  • Take a look at Beginning Japanese by Kluemper et. al and/or Elementary Japanese by Hasegawa.
  • Review kana.
    • Hiragana first
    • Katakana second
  • Shower, please

In the future,

  • Learn more about Bullet journaling system
  • Practice mixing greens, with awareness (and record!) of what color was used where (I think I experimented with Cerulean and Prussian Blue last time, but can’t be sure of the yellows) * — I may want to do this BEFORE filling the palette, — * as I’m not sure how many greens I can actually get out of this, without Viridian.  But I suppose I do have Aureolin, Hansa Yellow, Hansa Yellow Deep, and two different Yellow Ochres (I believe this is natural vs. synthetic), so it’s worth a good shot.
    • Practice mixing with watercolors in either scales or grids
      • Fill palette with watercolors
  • Transfer flower pattern onto new linoleum block
    • Practice with new X-Acto blades on linoleum sheets
    • Carve new linoleum block
    • Draw prints (in different colors!)
  • Draw gingko leaf design and puzzle out how to best work with that in a print (mixed warm [yellow, orange, brown] inks, white space for veins of leaf?)
  • Draw more than one ginkgo rendition, so as to create a falling-leaf image on bookmarks?
  • Straighten hair, trim off obvious damage

And I’ve got to remember I have both an eye appointment and an ultrasound coming up.

I should probably get going.  Sorry for the word count on these things…it’s even hard for me to go back and read this stuff, honestly.  Maybe I never grew to question the, “longer is better,” stuff I learned in high school…on the Web, at least, “briefer is better (so long as it delivers the required information),” may be more true!

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…

Finally…I’ve finally got a palette layout I’m good with.

Apologies for not having posted sooner; I have a feeling that I’ve been fighting off some sort of infectious microbe.  😉  I’ve been playing around with color chips for the past couple of days, and had to stay home today for a phone appointment, so it was a fairly good study time where it came to colors.

My last post got into the beginning of this.  In the meantime, I’ve been toying with layouts and reworking swatches (my original set were not all that great, as I wasn’t using enough color).  I still haven’t worked gradient swatches, but that wasn’t the point, this time.  Using up the dried paint in my preexisting palettes may have actually been the point, but who can say?  😉

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Trial One
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Trial Two
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Trial Three (1)

I have a feeling these may be basically self-explanatory.  The previous photo, “Trial Three (1),” is missing the two swatches of black pigments which I didn’t notice were missing until very late in the game.  These are Ivory Black (Cotman) and Lamp Black (Holbein), which have slightly different overtones.  (Ivory Black is less blue than Lamp Black.)  I have a photo with a Levels adjustment, here:

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Trial Three (2)

I’ve tried to render these as well as I can, but to be honest, reflected color changes depending on light quality…and the light quality isn’t so good right now!  But in particular, I tried to match up the white of the palette to the white I recall.

I’ve included some paints in here that I normally would not have — for example, Winsor Orange (Professional grade), which is slightly duller than Cadmium Orange Hue (student grade, Cotman) and seems not to mix as well.  But maybe there will be times when I’ll need one or the other of the mixing properties, and they won’t be interchangeable.

(While I don’t know that I’d actually need something to mix in a dull manner [it’s possible to do this just by adding a complementary color to neutralize aspects], I opted to include it.  I don’t have that much experience with it, because I utilized Cadmium Orange Hue instead, in Watercolor class…but I still have a nearly full tube of Winsor Orange.  I discovered this on going into my art supplies to look at all the Cotman tubes from vintage 2009.)

This is the same reason I’ve included Viridian, above.  My parents were nice enough to snag a W&N Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) for me, which is like Viridian Hue in Cotmans (they use the same pigment), but I’m hoping it handles better.  (I got some weird unintended effects — I think they’re called “backruns”? — with the Viridian Hue, but not with the professional-level Phthalo Green.)

Now, I normally can’t stand Viridian — I can’t get any concentration out of it — but there is a chance that I’m going to need a green like it, and Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) may not mix the way I need it to.  It may be that Viridian works better in mixes than on its own, that is…but it’s basically a Chromium Oxide green…which I don’t even like unaltered in acrylics (it’s dull — the color of a pool table — and I don’t know why we were told to get it:  Emerald Green is much more favorable to my taste), but Chrome Oxide Green can make interesting mixes when combined with unexpected colors.  I’m hoping that maybe Viridian will turn out the same way.

What I did unapologetically cut out was the Aureolin.  I really don’t like that pigment (it’s a green-leaning, pale, dullish, expensive, toxic yellow with low tinting strength which has been maligned online for low lightfastness), and with a light Hansa Yellow, I don’t believe I’ll need it.  (The Hansa is far right, middle row on the previous image).

And while I was talking about not needing the full spectrum because things can be mixed, it’s really apparent that I was drawn to the warm spectrum, here.  I am not entirely certain how such small differences in color can add up to such large differences in the quality of a mixed paint, but I know that differences in yellows are fairly consequential.  I included what I had, regardless of student or artist quality.  I’m not planning on my work lasting through the next two empires, that is, and I’ll likely need to refill the palette and mess up my color scheme anyway, so…

What I am amazed at (slightly) is how many different colors of red, there are.  I tried to concentrate them to one side of the palette, though the overall numbers (breaking into three relatively cohesive sections) helped.

The two colors which I have thought of to add if I ever come to care that much (seeing how many colors of red and yellow I have, and that I have three blues), are Indanthrone Blue and Prussian Blue.  I intentionally haven’t added the latter because of stability concerns…which I won’t go into, but Indanthrone Blue is one of those that just kind of makes me go, “ooh.”  Prussian Blue tends to be muted and greenish, Indanthrone looks dark violet-blue.

Ah, well.  If I keep painting in watercolors, it’s something to consider.  The QoR brand of Indanthrone looks particularly appealing, though possibly mimicked with French Ultramarine plus Dioxazine Violet (though the swatch at Blick’s website is horrible).  And looking at this, it’s possible Indigo (a convenience mixture from W&N, which I started to play with in combination with one or another Phthalo, yesterday) will sate the Prussian Blue bug.  (Indigo leans greenish, and is also muted.  It isn’t actual Indigo, though, possibly because Indigo dye is relatively fugitive…or so I’ve heard.)

I also added the new tube of Rose Madder (Mijello Mission Gold brand) which I got as a bonus with this new palette:  it is similar to W&N Alizarin Crimson, but redder, if that makes sense.  By that, I mean it looks closer to a straight red.  It’s not really obvious in the photos, but it is on the lower left in the image “Trial Three (1)”.

I don’t know if this can be called a productive day, but it’s been a fun one, at least!

And yeah, I wouldn’t feel bad about filling this palette as it is, and not worrying about having “the right place” for Prussian or Indanthrone Blue.  They can just go in the lower right corner.  🙂  I’ll know what they are.  🙂

Saa, but yeah…I’ve got to go to work, tomorrow.  Yay for earning money!  😉  After next week, I shouldn’t have to worry about any more appointments.  Maybe then I can take on some extra hours…I just don’t want to come anywhere close to burnout this Summer…

Back to watercolors? what am I doing…

The little loose paint chips that I made so long ago out of watercolor swatches have proven useful.  I really am not entirely sure why I got it into my head to play with watercolors, again:  except for the fact that I love color, and they’re gorgeous.

M was looking for a butcher tray, so we stopped off at the little art store to look at the palettes.  There were only two things I could think of which I might have a chance of using in the near future.  The first was a stable home for my watercolors (a Mijello 33-well palette); the second was a piece of basswood, to enable the possibility of woodblock printing.

In a prior relevant post, I mentioned the Mijello Silver Nano 40-well palette, and how for me it has become, in practicality, a 20-well palette.  The dried colors just don’t reliably stick to the upside-down wells when the palette is closed.  It has good space for mixing, and it may just be that the colors I put in there fell out because of the properties of the pigments used (they’re largely earth tones, in the lid).  It’s also possible that the antimicrobial coating on this palette makes it somewhat nonstick…in any case, I didn’t want to put any more of my paints in there after I realized it would be a temporary home for them, at best.

So I basically just bit it and got a palette with all the wells on one side, with as many wells as I could find, in a dust-safe and compact model.  I had been looking at the 33-well palette before, but for reasons I can’t recall (likely having to do with mixing space), passed it up.  What they don’t tell you is that they give you three extra mixing surfaces in this palette:  one in the lid, one behind the one in the lid, and one hidden under the paint wells (though I’m not sure if these are watertight for travel:  the outer plastic is not the same color).  At least in the palette I got, and I’m hoping it wasn’t modded by some prior customer to contain all of this, all these spaces are white plastic, thus you can see the color you’re mixing.

I spent quite a long time poring over and studying the Mijello Mission Gold watercolor paint advertisement which was included, after I got home.  The palette contained a little free tube of what I think was Rose Madder (it was taped to the advertisement, so I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be there!).  What I actually was doing was analyzing the differences in color from the printed swatches (keeping in mind that CMYK printing does not always reproduce colors accurately), and cross-referencing the pigment codes to see what was made out of what.  At a certain point, it became clear that one doesn’t need to buy the intermediary mixes of pigments, if one already has all the ingredients to mix that shade oneself.

The draw to convenience mixtures, for me, has been that the colors are often really beautiful, and I just haven’t discovered how to mix them yet out of single-pigment paints.  And, if doing reproduction work, one might actually need a standard shade — as versus the subtle minutiae of variations that occur in hand-mixed colors.

Then, I started looking at my own paints, wondering how many of them were single-pigment formulations.  Quite a number of the ones I have are single-pigment, actually:  at least that’s what the codes might imply (though some codes — especially in the browner earth tones, and Phthalo colors, carry the same pigment number even though they are different shades).  I have mostly Winsor & Newton colors, as I could get smaller tubes for a lower initial investment (though these are not cheap colors, as I initially thought).

Tonight, I was wondering aloud if there was a standard palette that was mixed from, to create harmonious color lines in manufactured convenience colors.  M asked me if I wanted to mix colors.  That was a definite yes.  Then she suggested that I write in and ask to tour a paint factory, and that maybe they would even hire me–!

I had been talking about mixing colors which no one tells you how to mix…my intro to this was Phthalo Green + Permanent Rose (in a Watercolor class), which makes a lovely grey with tones of violet, pink, and blue, which can range into green, depending on proportions.  I used that combination here, in the background.  Particularly, the muted violet in the lower left corner and the blue-green in some of the leaves to the right of the rose used this combination:

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(I’m still proud of this one.)  “Rose,” May 2016.

The original post in which I first published this image (in color) is here, though only later did I say that I used Viridian.  I was mistaken.  I used Viridian Hue — “Hue” means that it approximates the color of something else.  In this case, Viridian Hue was actually a Phthalocyanine Green which approximated the masstone (basic color) of Viridian.  However, true Viridian (a chromium-based color:  also be aware that in my earlier treatment of chromium colors versus cobalt colors on this blog, I inadvertently confused the terms) behaves differently in mixes.  In particular, it’s a granulating color (unless I’m wrong and it’s really “flocculating”) — it clumps on the page as it dries, is more muted (less intense), and is not as smooth as any Phthalo color I’ve ever used.  (In particular, it doesn’t do the same thing with Permanent Rose as Phthalo Green does.)

I prefer my paints to flow smoother, though there is undeniable complexity added to an image when the textures of granulating and flocculating paints come into play.  The natural settling of the pigments in…let’s say, the watercolors I (personally) like…add visual texture.  I’m just not terribly fond of visible brushstrokes in areas I want to be smooth.  I know smoothness isn’t everyone’s thing, though.  And my opinion may change after seeing what I can do with dry brushwork — I have noticed the look of it to be visually interesting.

Anyhow, I was able to use my little paint chips to play with the future layout of colors in the 33-well palette.  There are still empty wells, which is likely a very good thing.  I did something different this time, though:  I moved from bright primary color on one side into muted tones, then added in the pinks, violets, greens and blacks on the other side.

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Upon looking at this image, to the left, I’m really tempted to play around more with this, though.  I’m seeing distinct groups or families of colors — I’m not sure if any of you are more familiar with it than I am, as I’ve only had community college and high school training in art — but this is what I’m seeing:

A green-to-cool yellow family (Winsor Yellow and up, on the photo, plus Winsor Blue and down on the photo):  these colors can be used to mix greens…and they have a certain impact on me emotionally which I can’t describe.  But they do make me think of plants.  The Oakland A’s.  Androgyny?

A red-to-orange family (Winsor Red to Winsor Yellow Deep):  all of these appear very warm to me and like they stand out more than anything else.

A pink-to-violet/blue family (Permanent Rose to French Ultramarine):  these four colors could probably be called my home base, I mean, just personally.  Do I know why?  No.  But I know they make me feel some way.  (My brand of) Feminine?

Then, there’s Cobalt Blue, which doesn’t quite fit in for me.  I really don’t particularly like Cobalt Blue, in this formulation, at least (W&N).  It’s great for skies, but in color mixing, it’s weak…and it doesn’t really lean very far toward any other color, except maybe Winsor Violet (Dioxazine Violet) and “Magenta Permanent,” (I can’t remember the formulation offhand, but this was a W&N color), above.

And…I did mention that I had shaded these into earth tones, in the new palette.  I wouldn’t have caught the color overtones of these earth tones without having played around with Pitt brush pens for a while, and realizing that nearly each brown, muted yellow, muted red, or muted blue, had an overtone which made it part of a larger color family.  (There was also a muted violet, and one brown which didn’t lean any one way in particular, kind of like Cobalt Blue in that way.)

I have taken photos of the new palette (just in case a wind blew it all away by accident), but I can’t do the layout justice with nighttime lighting.  I’ll try and post records tomorrow and then — after recording positions — try and play around with the chips more and see how else I can rearrange them…