Color mixing.

Right now I’m wondering about the practicality of doing a blog post after every time I do something creative…though it is motivational, I guess.

Pyrrol oranges and reds.
Pyrrol colors.

From what you can see on the left, I did some more experimenting with Pyrrol colors, today.

I did take a trip out to an art store, and picked up a tube of Daniel Smith’s Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255), upper left. This is different from M. Graham & Co.’s Scarlet Pyrrol (PO73), lower left. They don’t even use the same pigments (the pigment codes are in parenthesis above; “PR” stands for “Pigment Red,” while “PO” stands for “Pigment Orange”).

What I already had which it is closest to, is Winsor Red (PR254), upper right. I suppose I can take some comfort in it not being an exact match…

On the bottom of the above image, you can see that I re-tested Winsor Orange Red Shade (bottom right) against M. Graham’s Scarlet Pyrrol (bottom left). They both carry the same pigment code, PO73. But last night I was talking about backruns and weird textures with M. Graham and not with Winsor & Newton; today I had the opposite happen. I’m now thinking it has to do with the pigment properties themselves.

This became clearer when I tested out DS’s Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255) on the upper left, against Winsor Red (PR 254) on the upper right. Winsor Red is a kind of weird red in that it doesn’t lean either to the violet or the orange side very much; it’s kind of a lipstick-looking red. However, Pyrrol Scarlet is a little, tiny bit more orange. But all of these colors are Pyrrol colors, and from what I’ve seen, they all can do the weird backflow rivulet thing wet-in-wet which makes the paint look grainy. It’s just that sometimes, they don’t.

I’m thinking it has to do with the amount of water that has soaked into the paper (as versus the amount of water still on the surface of the paper), and the amount of time the paint has to spread from the brush onto the paper, as well as the amount of paint in the brush. I originally re-did this test to see if I could get the Winsor Orange Red Shade (lower right) to match the intensity I got out of M. Graham’s Scarlet Pyrrol (lower left), last night. The good thing is, I can; these just seem to be a finicky family of pigments!

Or, maybe I should say that the Pyrrol pigments require some extra skill in handling?

I did do some mixing tests with these colors, but I didn’t get to use the DS Permanent Yellow Deep, which I want to try soon. I think I was using the M. Graham Isoindolinone Yellow Deep, just because it was already on my palette, and it was brighter. The range of colors I got out of that didn’t surprise me, so I didn’t prep a special photo of it for here. But I do want to do some more mixing tests, soon.

Below is a photo of a section of my paper where I was basically messing around with DS Prussian Blue (I kind of love this color, even though it does grey out slightly in four months of direct sunlight), and Winsor Blue Green Shade, that is, Phthalocyanine Blue Green Shade, plus Winsor (Phthalo) Green Yellow Shade. I found that Winsor Green Yellow Shade is more stable under direct sunlight than Winsor Green Blue Shade, for at least the first four months. I’m not entirely certain, why.

Test paper: experimental painting
Playing around on my testing paper.

But I tried adding blue (in the top left, this is Prussian Blue) to Winsor Green Yellow Shade to see if I could shift it bluer — and I can. I can also add Aureolin (the yellow rectangle near the center) to make it greener; Aureolin (PY40) naturally has a green shift to it which causes it to appear “dirty” on the palette. It’s good for incremental hue shifts, though, as it shades greens yellower very delicately.

The major drawback to Aureolin is that you don’t want to get it on your skin for any length of time, as it’s a Cobalt color (this did happen to me at one time, painting in the field; it’s not good, as cobalt is a known carcinogen and can cause skin irritation on exposure. The irony is that I wouldn’t have gotten Aureolin all over my bare hand if it weren’t for a nitrile (or latex?) glove screwing up my grip, causing paint to get all over the tube and all over my hand. As I was outside, my closest options to stop the damage were to wash my hand off in the lake [thus polluting the lake and getting possibly nastier stuff on my hand] or to wash it off in my paintbrush rinse water…or, find a bathroom).

I didn’t get to try Green Gold in addition to any of these colors, but I should make a note that I do want to try it, later. This is another color that there just wasn’t a well for, on my palette.

Reminding me: I may eventually want to get a serious metal palette with half-pans that I can easily rearrange and swap out (if that exists)…

Toward the end of my painting session, you can see I kind of got warmed up. I started toying around with Permanent Rose + Permanent Magenta, and mixing that wet-into-wet with Payne’s Grey, in the center bottom of the above photo.

enlargement of section of second image
Can’t remember exactly how I made those squiggles…

Then I started mixing Phthalo Blue Green Shade with Prussian Blue, and blending that wet-into-wet with Perm. Rose + Perm. Magenta, which made these really nice squiggles you can see to the right, here.

I think the noodle below the blue-violet one, going into the lower right corner is Permanent Magenta + Dioxazine Violet, though I can’t be sure anymore at this point. I wasn’t taking notes; this entry is serving as my reminder to myself of what I’ve done!

On that note, I should also mention that I have gotten to the point with these paints where I don’t even know all the time which paint is which. I think I did set up a key, somewhere, which would be nice to find sometime soon.

The major culprits in my not being able to tell which paint is which, happen to be two yellow paints sitting next to each other…I know one is Winsor Yellow. I just don’t recall, anymore, what the other one is. It’s fairly nondescript. I can remember Isoindolinone Yellow Deep, Hansa Yellow Light, and Aureolin. I’ll have to go through my tubes to look up that last one, especially as I have no idea where I saved my spreadsheet of colors…

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Some photos to go with the last post:

Earlier tonight I took some pictures referencing what I spoke about in my last (relatively cryptic) post. To recap, I tested out some differing brands of paints which have similar pigments, if not the same pigment. (They did have the same pigment code.) What I found, was kind of interesting.

My “new” paints were Winsor Orange (Red Shade): PO73, second from the left, compared with M. Graham’s Scarlet Pyrrol (also PO73); and Daniel Smith Permanent Yellow Deep: PY110, third from the left, compared with Holbein’s Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (also PY110).

I also tested out M. Graham’s Ultramarine Violet Deep, though that one…I’m going to have to think on. It’s naturally a very delicate color, especially when compared to Dioxazine Violet (which I didn’t include in these photos). It actually reminds me of amethyst.

I am thinking that Ultramarine Violet Deep may pair well with Payne’s Grey. Possibly the other blue-violets, too (Indanthrene?), and maybe Prussian Blue, but my (Winsor & Newton) French Ultramarine does overpower it, used full strength. Of course, though, French Ultramarine is more powerful than regular Ultramarine.

Below, see an image of the relevant test swatches:

IMG_4054w
Comparison between different brands with similar pigments. The one on the right is just for fun.

It’s kind of faint here, but the Scarlet Pyrrol had a backrun which caused the paint to appear grainy. Winsor Orange Red Shade, however, although it seems a little less powerful in this treatment, is relatively very controlled in its dispersal. I have a close-up of the left two paints:

Two red-orange test swatches of watercolor paint.
M. Graham Scarlet Pyrrol (left) vs. Winsor Orange Red Shade (both PO73)

Hopefully, that’s a bit clearer. The top row is of each paint, wet-on-dry, whereas the bottom row is of each paint, wet-into-wet (I did accidentally touch the two squares). I mentioned quite a while ago that the Scarlet Pyrrol appeared “corroded” in my lightfastness testing, both above and below the strip to block out sunlight. In this test, the water on my brush ran back into the paint and pushed the pigment into what look like little rivulets of more intense red-orange color.

I didn’t obtain the Winsor Orange Red Shade until after the swatches I had made had been exposed to sunlight for four months, so I don’t know how it will fare in lightfastness testing. It does seem a little less intense than the M. Graham, though that could have been because I was using the M. Graham from a dried/rehydrated state and the Winsor & Newton color from a moist state. I also might just not have used enough of the W&N paint.

As for the Daniel Smith Permanent Yellow Deep, I’m very happy with it. It has better dispersal than the Holbein formulation (which just made a line at my last brush stroke), but then Holbein is specifically designed without dispersants. The Holbein is actually noticeably brighter, as well. At this point, I’m not entirely certain how to feel about that…a lot of serious watercolorists do use the more muted colors. (I’d…consider myself a hobbyist, at this point, with the potential for growth.)

mixed orange watercolors
various oranges.

I’ve just prepped an image of what PO73 + PY110 look like together, and it’s relatively pleasant! It’s just a little duller than Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue, but I found that the latter actually fades relatively quickly and significantly…which is something to keep in mind when painting florals.

Both orange squares to the right are mixes of PO73 + PY110, while the vertical and horizontal lines are Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue. I’ve altered the Exposure setting on this image to try and undo some of the low light conditions, but it feels pretty close.

I forgot to take “After” pictures of the lightfastness swatches I worked, I just realized; something I should likely record. (They were sitting in the window fading for four months, which showed me which paints not to use. Since then, I haven’t put them back up, pending photographs.)

I’m also seriously and sort of stupidly wondering if I do want to get a tube of Quinacridone Coral, now: I am going to try and get rid of my Grumbacher Deep Vermilion, which leaves a gap in the orange-leaning reds. (The majority of my reds lean violet, which is a pain when I want to paint something red-orange or any kind of warm orange color! [Violet-leaning reds typically don’t yield intense oranges.])

There is a hidden assumption here, for those of you who are new: I’m avoiding cadmium-based pigments (particularly, red, orange, and yellow). Hence, the hunt for safer alternatives. Pyrrol Orange is definitely one of those, as far as I can see, but it has a peach bias.

I’ve found that at this point, there are a number of colors I want to avoid using for serious work. The Grumbacher Deep Vermilion is one of those. I might use it out of its well just to avoid wasting it, but it’s terrible for wet-in-wet work, and it greys out a bit when exposed to direct sunlight.

And for regular blog followers and botany enthusiasts; I have more recent pictures of my succulents, but I’ll put them in another post. 🙂

Toying with new paints

I only have a few minutes to write. I wanted to mention, though, that I was able to get back to watercolor painting, yesterday. A blog I follow had mentioned the Daniel Smith color, “Quinacridone Coral”; this is a Quin Red which looks like it leans orange. It reminded me of the colors I recently bought but had not yet tested; I have been looking to find something with which I can mix a decent, fade-resistant orange.

So last night, I tested them. I also played around with a bunch of other stuff because my paints were dusty and I was taking the time to wipe off the fuzz (so I said to myself).

I found that Winsor Orange Red Shade is noticeably smoother than (I think) M. Graham Pyrrol Scarlet, even though they use the same pigment. Also, I tested Daniel Smith Permanent Yellow Deep, against Holbein Isoindolinone Yellow (unless my memory is mistaken), with the Daniel Smith dispersing better but being a little duller. I’m pretty sure both the latter paints also use similar pigments.

Also, Perm Yellow Deep mixed with Pyrrol Scarlet makes a nice orange!

It was relatively refreshing to break my pattern of not dealing with the paints, to get back to them. I didn’t even mind the cobalt colors, this time. 🙂 I might want to wash out all of my brushes, though (they’re dusty)…

And I might want to get back to working in my art journal so that I can generate ideas. I found myself wondering what to paint, and I think if I were regularly journalling, I’d have an idea…

School-life tension? :P

All right, I’m set to go out tomorrow and blow $30 on some paints. 😛 (I feel silly going all the way out to the art store and spending $5. Even though that may be the sensible thing to do.)

I’ve checked: I have more weeks in the semester than I expected! So now I for real have three weeks left of classes! And I should get started on my peer grading.

I think Database Management will be…manageable, given that the work I’m doing for the last group assignment seems easy enough. Then there is the Final, which…I’m not really sure I’ll do well on, but I think it will be OK (as a co-worker of mine is fond of saying). I have a tutoring session scheduled for tomorrow morning; I’m hoping that this will make the Final easier.

And then there is improving on my Instructional Design proposal, and dealing with the Research Guide for my Reference course. Not really liking that last class, right now (perceived interpersonal friction because I was stressed, and now the Prof thinks I don’t care; and I’m wondering if I care enough to explain to her what was going on, which isn’t her business), but I might be able to do something with the last project which will make it worth my time.

The other day…I did get out my colored pencils. Like the archive of colored pencils going back to 1994 or whatever…

They work well, still; they just aren’t suitable for reproduction work (which is why I started in with the watercolors in the first place)! I have found, though, that some of these pencils are actually using pigments which appear very similar to what’s in my paints (like Cobalt Turquoise).

The major issue I have and have had with these is that it’s difficult to cover the paper 100%. The workaround I found for this is to paint the paper first, then color it with the pencils, so that what shows through is not white, but something else that adds some kind of depth or contrast.

I mean, that’s old news, but if you haven’t been following this blog for years, you might not have found the information. (I need to work on my organization of past posts.)

I also have too many colored pencils. I need to choose one or two of my repeat colors and then give away (or at least put away) the rest. It’s just annoying when I’m trying to match a color and I have more than one that look very similar…

…and I should aim to get rid of the older Prismacolors, first (some of which may be older than some of my readers).

Hmm. Well, aside from that, work was…tiring. And I still have yet to decide on my topic for the Reference Guide.

I’m thinking that color dynamics aren’t an “academic” enough topic, and that I would be better off going with something like an Art History angle where it comes to Japanese woodblock printing. I mean, it’s niche enough that I probably wouldn’t have to worry too much about narrowing my search…whereas color dynamics would have me sorting through masses of shallow books.

They’re not all shallow, just most of them don’t touch on what I want to know. At all. Like, I don’t care about interior design…or picture books…I’ve tried researching this before, but maybe my mistake is trying to use my home library system instead of one that has an effective OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog).

On the other hand, I’ve been reading handprint today…and that site has a wealth of information on watercolors. I’ve mentioned it before, but I haven’t until now just read it for kicks. But if I did want to do some work on pigments and watercolors as regards a Research Guide, I think there is a page there somewhere with an annotated bibliography, from which I could start.

Actually, that sounds a bit too hard to risk an assignment on it.

I’ll think about it.

Recap of the past three days

I’ve been told to go to bed, but I know I won’t remember what happened over the past three days, if I don’t record it. I’m pretty sure I made the last post in the early morning (i.e. after midnight) on Tuesday.

I think I was able to go to the Japanese market for foodstuffs that day (soba noodles, senbei)…I know Wednesday, I worked and went out later. I also started designing quilt layouts.

Thursday, I saw a professional in the morning and then…either Tuesday or Thursday, I went to the fabric store, and either Tuesday or Thursday, I went to the produce market. (It’s all kind of blurring together.)

Today I was mostly asleep until evening, but I have started working on assignments, again.

I also did check that lightfastness chart on Tuesday, but I haven’t made photos yet. There are about 6 or so paints that I now know fade after about 4 weeks of direct sunlight, and a few others which are also starting to do so, but it’s only barely noticeable. (On the other hand, the difference between Winsor & Newton Yellow Ochre and Yellow Ochre Light has been magnified: Yellow Ochre Light is yellower and less red than regular Yellow Ochre!).

I need to re-swatch Scarlet Pyrrol (from M. Graham & Co.), because it looks like it has been altered, but I don’t know from what; if memory serves, it is different underneath the covering paper, as well as on top. This could indicate heat or atmospheric influence, or some kind or corrosion, as versus just light…it looks grittier than I remember.

Of course, no one hangs their paintings in the window in direct sunlight, but it’s meant to replicate advanced wear.

Aureolin is still holding up fine (surprisingly, given its reputation), as have a range of pink-magenta-red paints. I may want to go and get W&N’s variant of Scarlet Pyrrol (it’s called something else, like Winsor Orange Deep, but I’d have to look at my archive or look it up online to be sure what it is). [EDIT: It’s called “Winsor Orange (Red Shade)”.]

Okay, I need to brush my teeth before I totally conk out. But yes, apparently I’m doing very well right now…

Painting things, and new-semester jitters.

First, the art stuff:

Yes, this is a bit out of my comfort zone! Just a bit, though. 🙂 I went back to a sketch of a monstera deliciosa leaf that I had started a while back. I had a couple of drawings which were relatively ready for color, and this one was least intimidating. 😉

Of course, at the point at which I rejoined the conversation (between the drawing and I), it was just a line drawing. I erased the pencil lines behind the inking and knew that something was missing. I then went back in with hatching to better enable me to see what things might look like with value contrast:

sketch of a monstera deliciosa leaf, black and white

To the left is an image of what that looked like (likely a bit distorted by camera angle). I think that the fact that its shape recalls a human heart (and is called Monstera) is not coincidental. Nor was it intentional.

I’m not sure what more to say about that (there is a lot to say about that, but I don’t think now is the time or place).

I did work this largely from memory after checking online to see what monstera deliciosa leaves looked like (though this was a while ago). But it wasn’t from direct reference. Right now I want to work on a more complex arrangement of these leaves…

I’m also not sure whether I should be dealing with the process as is (pencil sketch → inking → value rendition in inking → watercolor), or putting in an underpainting using something like diluted water-resistant black ink, or adding in dark tones at the very end using watercolors.

What I did didn’t seem to work out horribly, though:

monstera deliciosa inked sketch, colored

I used a range of colors, here…and…can’t remember them all…

(I can hardly remember what is what on my palette! I had to get out a card that had swatches painted on it and the color names on top…)

What I can say is that I used Prussian Blue along the left edge of the leaf (which had me wishing I had worked out more of the composition behind and around the leaf, as I wanted to go on), and a mix of Phthalo Blue and Permanent Magenta along the right side. They’re close enough so that the difference is very subtle (with the right side leaning violet, and the left, green).

I also did use Cobalt Turquoise Light in the leaf on the right side, which is why it looks so mottled (Cobalt Turquoise Light is a granulating color). I think it was a happy accident that the paint settled to produce a highlight on the right side. Most of the yellow (that wasn’t pre-mixed) is a light Hansa Yellow.

It would make sense to draw out a full sketch, maybe even in charcoal (or graphite + charcoal), to clarify composition and light source/shadows, and then deal with the painting. I have a feeling the cross-hatching won’t be as simple in that scenario, though, if I hatch at all. 🙂 (:>) (*pip*)

Second: grad school restarts in a week!

In other realms, I’ve actually started to get ready for next semester. I still haven’t worked on arranging my portfolio…but I have started looking back into what I’ll need to know just to be able to access all my materials.

I came to the realization today that grad school is my actual “job,” for now. Yes, I get paid to do something else, but even though it’s related, it’s much lower-tier work. It is, in fact, work that someone without a high-school diploma can do. At work they’re encouraging me to take on a Clerk (1 tier up) or Assistant (2 tiers up) position.  Especially if I want to work on the back end of things (Information Technologist), I apparently need seniority to get dibs on openings. (or maybe I could just look outside of this system?)

The reason I’m not so hot on either of those choices, though, is that school is my top priority. Even though I am only in 10 units this semester (about 3/4 time), one of those classes is Database Management, and that doesn’t appear like it’s going to be a cake walk. Given my previous experience in this program, it will likely be possible to succeed, but that will also take time and a relative lack of frenzy.

I’ve been told that even nine units a semester is a lot to take on, but I want to be done with this as soon as possible. (If all goes well, I can graduate within a year.)

Also, both positions which I can move into deal extensively with the public — about four hours out of an eight-hour day — which is not where I want to be (now or ever), unfortunately.

I wasn’t extensively socialized as a baby because of a rash of kidnappings in the local area around the time of my birth, and the fact that I would have been seen as an “exotic” baby. I think that this led to some neural connections being unformed while my brain was still plastic (meaning that I probably can’t form those connections now).

Though I wouldn’t say it’s definitely the root cause of this, I have been told (by a psychiatric professional) — or rather, my family was told — that I exhibit autistic tendencies, though it isn’t severe enough to be categorized as “autistic.” In relation to this, dealing with people is one of the most difficult things I have to navigate. It’s not really that I have difficulty dealing with people because of autistic tendencies, moreso than knowing I have autistic traits names why I have trouble dealing with people.

It’s also a reason why I’m so much more comfortable dealing with other beings from behind a computer screen, or through text or art, where I don’t physically have to be there. 😉 And that is why I’ve been aiming for Digital Services.

If I were braver, I’d ditch the “service” angle entirely and go straight for Web Programming and Information Architecture, but I’m not sure where I could put those skills to use — especially without a Computer Science background.

I have a Humanities background, though…I wonder where anyone gets the idea that majoring in the Humanities means you like dealing with humans. I like seeing what people make, and engaging with them on the level of text and cultural artifact…it lends me human connection while saving me from the anxiety of actually having to deal with them in-person.

In any case, Digital Services and Web Programming/IA overlap a great deal, though at this point I’m kind of wishing I took Digital Preservation last semester, rather than Digital Curation. They’re slightly different: Preservation is more hands-on while Curation is more management-oriented  — which I wish I had known! (if I don’t like dealing with people, why would I like managing them?) I would have known, had I reached out to a counselor, but I just went ahead and did my own thing…which is kind of consistent with my character, actually…

Playing with color mixing

Last night’s project did inspire me to see what kind of a color gamut I’d be able to produce with gouache (opaque watercolor). I also took note of the fact that colors mixed using the same pigments tend to harmonize.

With that in mind, and also knowing that I didn’t know my gouache well enough to tell how each color related to the next, tonight I just sat down and started painting out and mixing colors (without attempting to do anything like the lightfastness chart I completed last night for my transparent watercolors).

prismatic (rainbow) color mixing chart
I seem to have missed an intense red-violet and yellow-green. Right now I’m wondering what kind of muted colors and chromatic greys I can get out of this prismatic range.

It’s probably immediately apparent that I seem to be interested in cool colors more than warm ones. The above chart was made using seven colors, all Holbein with the exception of Permanent Rose and Intense Blue, which are Winsor & Newton brand:

  1. Permanent Rose
  2. Primary Magenta
  3. Ultramarine Light
  4. Intense Blue
  5. Peacock Blue
  6. Lemon Yellow
  7. Permanent White

Pretty much all the colors in the image are mixed rather heavily with Permanent White, so that the colors can actually be recognized. Both of the brands of paint I used here don’t have white as a filler in the gouache itself (neither does M. Graham & Co.). This is a sign of quality. It also means that the paint often needs to be mixed with white for both opacity, and for the color to be visible: I can see that if I use these often, I will likely need white in a larger quantity.

However, I don’t need it yet.

Peacock Blue is the only paint here which contains more than one pigment in its tube (there is some Phthalo Green mixed in there along with Phthalo Blue), and is also the only paint containing a pigment which isn’t essentially a primary color.

I used three blues, here, because I wanted to see what they would do. Intense Blue is a Phthalo color, while Ultramarine Light is…what it looks like. I wanted to see if I could make clear violets out of it, and the answer is apparently yes.

The Ultramarine I had experience with, prior, was Ultramarine Deep — it makes violets so dark (close to black) that I haven’t made the time to properly dilute them to see their actual character. Ultramarine can come with a green or violet bias. It looked like Ultramarine Deep was a violet-bias paint while Ultramarine Light was a green-bias paint, but the latter still works well for violets (apparently!). It just needs a nice violet-leaning reddish color like Permanent Rose or Primary Magenta.

I tried to mix colors which I thought would be adjacent to each other on the color wheel — so, for instance, I didn’t try mixing violets with Phthalo Blue as a component. Not yet.

Something that did surprise me is that Permanent Rose (top left corner) plus Lemon Yellow make a color extremely similar to Flame Red, even though both Permanent Rose and Lemon Yellow are on the cool side of the color gamut for both red and yellow. Flame Red, however, is a warm, intense red-orange. The mixture I’m referencing is in the lower left corner of the image above, and closer in color to Winsor & Newton’s Flame Red than Holbein’s Flame Red.

Given that…I am wondering if I got Peacock Blue because it was close to cyan, or just because it was pretty…the fact that red can be mixed from magenta + yellow is something I had heard about but not experienced, until now. (I’m talking about the CMYK system of color mixing, where red is not seen as a true primary color because you can get red from magenta + yellow, but you can’t derive magenta from anything we presently know of.)

Alright, I’ve talked enough tonight. I’m kind of itching to get back to my planning journal — I’ve been making notes about the content of future posts without the necessity of actually publishing them, yet. The fact that I had discovered that Web Production could be a full-time job is part of what I mentioned last night…essentially it’s like being an editor, but online.

That would be a really interesting outlet, I think! It involves the generation and development of ideas, content, and — likely, if my instruction in Marketing serves — the questions of relevance to the organization’s goals and user base. This would be in contrast to making the website functional (Web Development), or making it aesthetically pleasing and communicate in a user-friendly manner (Web Design).

I generally shy away from being in charge of things, but I could see myself working in a Web Production capacity, especially if I were passionate about the project…