Thursday, September 27, 2012

From Old Holland - Pigments


 September 21, 1993


Before starting to write about brushes, canvas, paper, mediums or colours (paints) I start with the hart which is the pig­ment.

By adding different liquids into the same pigment you obtain: watercolour-eggtempera-oilcolour-postercolour or gouache-poly­mercolour-alkydcolour-acryliccolour-soft pastel-oilpastel etc.
The quality of the pigment and the quantity of cheap fillers on one side and the kind of liquid indicates the type of colour mentioned here above. And that colour has more quali­ties as classic, artist, student and schoolquality.

The pigments can easy be divided in two sections:
1. organic pigments: chemical complexes
2. anorganic pigments: elements from earth

The chemical complexes are created during this century and carry names such as: pthaloblue, pthalog­reen, azoyellow, naphtolred, quinacridone-rose etc. These colours you find be labeled under fantasienames as
Old Holland blue, Winsor blue, Grumbacher red, Scheveningen rose, Rembrandt blue, Hortensia blue (LB) etc.

The elements form earth carry names as cadmium, cobalt, iron­oxide, chromium oxide, zinc, lead, manganese etc. Those co­lours carry names as cadmiumyellow, cadmiumred, cobaltblue, cobaltvio­let, cobaltgreen, marscolours, persian-indian-en­glish-venetian reds, chrome-oxidegreen and viridian, zincwhi­te, lead- or Crem­nitzwhite, manganese blue -and violet. If you see a label with one of the above names followed by imitation or hue it is allways a cheaper replacement for the good pig­ment.

After we know now the two basic sections organic and anorganic, the quality of the pigment is next. Pigment-manufacturers can deliver the SAME shade $ 6,00 and also $ 70,00 a pound. Why­??
The difference in price is caused by the next six points:
1. lightfastness (no colourchange in the sun by ultraviolet light)
2. colourpower or tintingstrength (a lot of white with a little bit of colour)
3. brightness (the colour stays clean even mixed with a lot of white)
4. intensity (the deepness of the colour close to the flo­wer)
5. coveringpower (pure cadmium must cover at once even you paint thin)
6. filler which is already in the pigment (decreases the co­lourpo­wer)

Cadmiumpigment can be obtained from the pigmentfactory pure or mixed with bariumsulfate which is a cheap filler like chalk. If this cadmium contains 50% filler the name is cadmium bari­um. This gives no guarantee for the label in your shop. I have tested tubes of cadmium barium which contained more pure cadmium as tubes with the name concentrated cadmium.
How is this possible? The manufacturer used 10% pure cadmium and added the filler by himselves and the truth is "he used concen­trated cadmium". To solve this problem for the artist the most easy way is to compare the different brands cadmium bij mixing into the same white by volume. The deepest is the most powerful. Fillers are bringing all six above mentioned properties DOWN.

In TEACHING LETTER 2 I will explain the different liquids added into the same pigment to get different kind of paints.

Please keep this and the following letters in file,
so you build an extraordinary serie of professional art advices.

Prof. Th. de Beer

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Landscape notes

The following sentences were taken from a recent workshop given by James Richards in Tucker, Georgia. 

James Richards Workshop Notes
 Composition/ Value

     Composition is the abstract arrangement of dark and light masses.

     Value is the lightness or darkness of a color.

     A landscape painting needs a center of interest which dominates the rest of the painting.   This area is enhanced by the following:
       - most detailed drawing
       - sharpest edges, strongest contrast
       - most saturated colors
       - addition of manmade structures, animals, or people
       - complimentary colors
       - should not be placed in the center of the canvas.

     Make your single statement clear and forceful.  Don’t try to say too much.  Many paintings are ruined by this.

     Create at least three planes: foreground, middle ground, and background.  Each has its own dominant value.

     General rule is that there are four planes in a landscape and their value is relevant to their angle to the source of light.  The sky(source of light)- is the lightest.  Ground planes are next lightest.  Slanted planes are next.   Upright planes are darkest.

     Keep your value range tight.  Holding back on value and color creates a certain power in a painting

     It is upon sound values that a picture depends for its solidity and convincing power. 

     Try to visualize the finished painting before you begin.   Do several thumbnails and value studies to help develop a strong idea and design.
Keep it simple.

     Don’t be afraid of editing and moving objects around to help emphasize the main idea.

     Try having a rest area in front of the center of interest.  This allows for some breathing room and really helps set the stage.

     Make sure you use horizontals, verticals, and diagonals, and that one dominates.

     Lean objects inward not outward.

     Try limiting your painting to seven or fewer masses.

     Try to find a way to connect all of the lights or all of the darks.

     Relate every value to one another.  Value relationships are the most import thing in making a painting read.

     Within each mass in a painting, keep the values closer together than what you actually see in nature.

     Remember that the closer together you can paint your lights and shadows in value and still distinguish light from shadow, the better you are as a painter.

     The one unbreakable rule in painting is unequal distribution.
          -of masses
          -light and shadow
          -warm and cool colors
          -soft and hard edges
          -thick and thin paint
          -horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines

Common errors to avoid

- Lines that come from or go to the corners
- Parallel lines
- Repetition of the same size mass
- Dividing the canvas in half
- Kissing edges
- Too many sharp edges
- Equal spacing between objects

Light, Color,  and Atmospheric Perspective

      Light and shadows are opposite in temperature.  Temperature is relevant within each painting.

     Yellow is the warmest color.  Also the first to drop out as you recede in distance.

     The darkest darks are dark and warm up close.  They then lighten, purple, and blue off  as they recede.

     Colors lighten and cool off as they recede.

     It’s good to have one color dominate.

     Compare trees to trees and trees to grass.  You don’t want both the same color.  Nor do you want all of your trees to be the same color.  Look for variety.

     Texture comes forward and thin paint recedes.

     There are subtle temperature shifts within just about every mass.



     An edge is formed where two colors, values, or objects meet.  An edge is either sharp, soft, or somewhere in between.

     Sharp edges can be used with great effectiveness in leading the eye around a painting.

     The strongest contrasts are found up front.  Contrast decreases with distance.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gray - The base for everything

     One of the building blocks that I've been working on with my art is in mixing grays to use in a number of different ways to make the more vibrant colors sing.   Generally mixing  complimentary colors together to get the grays work.    More often mixing ultramarine blue with either burnt sienna and white or raw umber work for a soft gray but vary the gray in your painting by adding some yellow or oranges to it and work the values.

    Always mix a puddle of the colors used in your painting  together  and see if it leans to the cool side or the warm side before adding white for your final gray and again... check your values.   You may need a warm gray or cool gray, darker or lighter... you are the artist.  You choose what is best for your painting, your inspiration, your view, your song.