Saturday, March 13, 2010

All about yellow . . .

I'd like to take some time to talk about yellows, since they are giving me so much trouble in this new mini.

By the way, here's the next stage of the iris:

Some progress, but it's still been very frustrating to create shadowed areas without turning them into mud.

So I decided I had to do some research. It's too late for this one, but I might be able to learn something for a new attempt.

So, out with the color wheel to discuss some color theory.

On the color wheel, colors that are opposite are complements, and when they are mixed, they neutralize one another, creating, in theory, a gray.

I use this principle all the time in my snowy barns series by mixing French Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Sienna. Those complements, representing blue and orange, create wonderful neutral tints. I can create a rich gray, or shift the balance to make the gray warmer or cooler.

In theory, as can be seen on the color wheel above, purple and yellow are complements. So, they should also be able to create a range of "grays," or neutral tints.

But, it's not that simple, it seems.

Somehow I'm pleased to see that, even on the color wheel, the window showing a mix of purple and yellow (circled in the image above) creates a muddy brown.


Muddy browns are not I'm after in creating the shadows in the iris' standards and falls, But that's what I keep running into as I work through the mini.

First, here's a rundown of some of the available yellows I have. These are all Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colours.

The range runs from cooler colors such as Winsor Lemon, to the warmer Quinacridone Gold. (Note on Quin. Gold -- this is W&N's new formulation which uses several pigments to mimic the appearance of the original one-pigment paint using PO 49. The one-pigment formula was discontinued in 2005, according to Bruce McEvoy's Handprint site.)

There are also two more opaque yellows in this mix, Cad. Yellow and Yellow Ochre.

The yellows I actually have used in the iris are Aureolin and Quin. Gold.

The pigments I've used within those two yellows to create shape and depth are two mixed purples (from the other irises) made from French Ultramarine Blue (PB 29) and Perm. Alizarin Crimson (PR 206). One purple is mixed with more blue, the other with more red. I've also used touches of Pthalo Green (PG 36) and Perylene Maroon (PR 179) as reflected colors within some of the shapes.

Now, if I create a color-mix swatch using all of these options, will I find that some mixtures are more successful than others?

Doesn't look promising. To the two mixed purples, I also included Ultramarine Violet. (To see the chart more clearly, you may have to click the image to see it full size.)

But, I'm going to use this chart for a future iris to help in planning. I hope that will lead to a better result.

In the meantime, stay tuned to see if I can rescue this mini . . .

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