Karen’s High Chroma, Luminosity-Loving Paint Color Palette

Note: Page may be subject to updates.

My Directional Force — Indirct Painting With Glaze layers


Sfumato indirect painting technique
, here I come! I expect to do inital layers of a painting in acrylic and some glazing layers in water soluble oil paints (Winsor & Newton Artisan), for starters. That’s why my previous entry was about water soluble oils.

I also want to try to do the indirect method from start to finish with artist grade acrylic paints. And some wild and crazy experimental Alla Prima.

karensfourthsunblackandwhitetonal

Black and white of Karen A. Scofield’s anthropomorphized sun. Tonal.

 

I’ve only completed 5 paintings thus far, you see a B&W of my fourth, above. These are my notes in preparation of pushing harder and farther, way out of my comfort zone, if I have a comfort zone. I don’t know where my zone is. Yet. But I’ve dug for years now, into paint pigments, direct vs. indirect, sfumato techniques, and many artist materials … in preparation. And I liked it. I am a digger and I tend to over-prepare anyway; it’s very much deeply in my nature.

Note on Paint Brands Used Until They Are Gone

Overall, I am using mainly artist grade paint with the occasional use of some hues or somewhat informed alternative color mixes, wet and layered. Acrylic mediums will help with the sfumato technique. The brands I have include:

  • Golden Acrylics (artist colors heavy body, Open, or Fluid)
  • Liquitex ( heavy body, soft body, spray paint, acrylic ink)
  • Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics.  I have a lot of da Vinci fluid acrylics because they were cheaper, but they  are in some cases made of combined pigments instead of using pure pigment … so this should be interesting. It’ll mess up value ( how light or dark things are in grayscale) a bit and may make me cringe sometimes especially with the yellows.

I will just have to be aware of that, for instance, Cadmium Yellow Light Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics, specifically, might have a lighter value because it includes titanium dioxide. I’ll just have to deal with that because I have mostly, by volume, 16 ounce bottles of Da Vinci Fluid acrylics, as far as the fluid acrylics I have are concerned. (I have the paints I do because I got them after my mom died. I miss her so much!)

A Happy Medium: Making Golden Acrylics Have More Open Time and Act Kind of Like Oils

This happy medium is one suggestion that appeals to me. Not sure if it’ll work as well with regular heavy body colors or fluid acrylics, but it’s worth a try in the upper layer(s) of an indirect method acrylic painting. Do studies first. Read the bottles and manufacturer’s information online. The Golden Paint  Company has an absolute wealth of product and technical information on their website. And as always, remember you can always add more of something but once it’s mixed in then it’s in there.

  • Open Flow Release — a bit
  • Open Open Thinner — a bit
  • Open Gloss Gel — mostly

Paint Palettes: Color Theory, Sfumato, My Own Extended One

In the future, I probably will gravitate towards more Golden Open artist color acrylics?

6 Color Golden Acrylic Artist colors (not including the whites), the palette would include: 

  1. Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) 
  2. Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) 
  3. Anthraquinone Blue (PB 60)
  4. Hansa Yellow Medium 
  5. Quinacridone Magenta 
  6. Napthol Red Light 

The 6 main colors in bold can yield an amazing array of colors. See https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo_mixguide and https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo_faq_xv_colorwheel

Studying color theory with Golden Open paints in these colors in a rapid Alla Prima style, I’d put down the basic colors and then create tints of about 5 shades, laid out in rows, using Titanium White and/or Mixing White, and begin to paint. Or so the theory goes.

Additions to the 6 Color Paint Palette (above)

In practice, I’d probably end up slipping in a little:

7. Quinacridone Red
8. Yellow Ochre
9. Mixing White
10. Titanium White

My Main Sfumato Color Palette

This palette would be assisted by the above 6-color mixing palette. The color choices between the two palettes are are my amalgam of pigments traditional and modern — influenced by what Leonardo da Vinci reported using and by my own research on making/using modern equivalents. (Colors are some form of Golden Acrylics artist grade paint unless otherwise noted.)

  1. Primrose Yellow (preferred, expensive, pigment PY35, Golden Acrylics, value 9, chroma 16, tint strength 96.49) or Hansa Yellow Light (what I have now, will use first, value 8.25, chroma 13.8, tint strength 96.31, tint strength is low in practice, pigment is PY3 AKA historical “Flanders Yellow” that Leonardo da Vinci mentioned); both lean toward blue on the color wheel
  2. Cadmium Yellow Medium (Golden Artist Color PY35, value 8, chroma 16.1, tint strength 92.5); or Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue (Da Vinci Fluid Acrylic, semi-opaque, ASTM lightfastness is 1 excellent, uses a combination of PY 73, PY 65, and PW6, not sure of chroma and tinting strength yet); both toward red on the color wheel
  3. Quinacridone Red (preferred, a cleaner red, semi-transparent, PB 209, value 3.25, chroma 12, tint strength 76.49), Quinacridone Magenta (value 2.5, chroma 10, tint strength 73.51) , and/or Quinacridone Crimson (value 2, chroma 6, tint strength 72.39)
  4. C.P. Cadmium Red — Because sometimes you need an opaque that plays well with complementary colors. (Pr 108, value 4.25, chroma 16, tinting strength 73.92, opacity/transparency 2, leans toward orange on the color wheel. May become a permanent addition to my indirect paint palette
  5. Phthalo Blue (PB 15 Phthalocyanine Blue. Intense deep blue in mass tone reddish to greenish bright blue in shades. Semi-transparent. Extremely powerful tint strength, usually extended to some degree. Staining.)
  6. French Ultramarine (Da Vinci Fluid Acrylic PB 29, value 2, semi-transparent, chroma 4.5, tint strength 79.94) or Ultramarine (Golden, also PB29)
  7. Burnt Umber 
  8. Yellow Ochre (mixed bias, co
  9. Carbon Black (has a blue bias)
  10. Titanium White (slight blue bias)

Note: The reds in #3 may be switched out or combined in certain works?

The Sfumato Technique

In case you’re curious, the technique started even before canvas or panel was touched and continued on to the last glaze layer. It went something like this:

  • Do numerous studies from real life; don’t copy other artists
  • Perfect a drawing the size of the final work — on paper
  • Stretch the canvas or prepare the wooden paint panel
  • Apply rabit glue and gesso in the traditional manner; and somehow he got this surface to feel glossy, almost like ceramic
  • Apply underdrawing in outline using charcoal
  • Veil it, not obscure it, with a mix of Flanders Yellow and White — this will be the basis for light areas and the yellow tones of warm sunlight or skin tone
  • “Draw” painting with tone using silk brushes placing shadows while paint still wet or use hard (dry, like hard pastel pencils)
  • Do retouches in thicker laquer (they used to boil turpentine that perhaps had some resin in it until it was thick, is that what he meant?) that remains matte
  • To darken shadows, use laquer plus ink and maybe add some azurite in a transparent mix
  • Highlights in mediums and tints
  • Light veil of cinnabar for portrait
  • Change your mind — be experimental
  • I’m really glossing things over in this description. Colors were layered and the effects of light and shade were glazed. For a blue robe, he might first lay down red and then blue over that. Was that a correction or use of complements, and he did mention using complement colors.
  • He attended to reflective colors a lot, colors from objects close by might appear on the skin and light clothing, and he did suggest models wear light clothing or even a white.
  • Final highlights in judicious smidgens were in white?  I know highlights were made like this by many painters, I sm not sure that Leonardo did this though.

For translating this into acrylics, I might use that Golden Open “happy medium” mixture instead of the thick lacquer da Vinci used.

Temperature Underpaintings (Mostly Golden Open Acrylics)

  1. Black
  2. Titanium White  Also used for final highlights in upper layer, used judiciously
  3. Mixing White (Zinc) — Also for use in some final effects in upper layer. May or may not mix it with other paints, as opposed to optical blends and effects
  4. Burnt Umber/Burnt Umber Light — To be used alone and/or with the Ultramarine Blue
  5. Red Oxide — Because I have to try out aux quatre crayon type of temperature “underdrawing” … in paint! I will try it in dry pastel pencils too.  These works may remain at that stage as finished paintings, rather than all being just the under painting of an sfumato work. I may be intuitively good at colors without trying, up to a point, but I am just now teaching myself to paint in my later 50s, regarding value (that grayscale light to dark). I have a lot of catching up to do. I accomplished value rather well in my (my fourth finished painting) anthropomorphic painting of the sun, but I recognize that I have so much farther to go!

My Golden Acrylics Extended Palette
(for Wet Color Mixing or Additional Sfumato Indirect Painting Effects)

Colors in bold text would be more of a priority in this palette.

  • Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)
  • Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) 
  • Hansa Yellow Light
  • Hansa Yellow Medium
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Quinacridone Red
  • Quinacridone Crimson
  • Napthol Red Light
  • Pyrrole Red
  • Quinacridone Burnt Orange
  • Transparent Pyrrole Orange
  • Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade)
  • Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)
  • Ultramarine Blue/Anthraquinone Blue (PB 60)
  • Burnt Umber
  • Black (used judiciously now and then in small touches)
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Titanium White
  • Mixing White

Additional Colors On Occasion or just for Fun (Optional)

  1. Quinacridone Gold (Nickel Azo) — Because it’s fun for color mixing and glazing.
  2. Turner’s Yellow — Fuuuun!

Note: Since I’m autodidactic, I may pull in more readymade colors at any time when experimenting more wildly. Oh, and if you want to see where your colors lay on a color wheel, go here. I can’t resist paint colors, as much as I love limited palettes and minding my values in painting! Because I must experiment. Life is short. And I bought paint colors before painting anything or learning about limited palettes.

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