Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Colour recipe pages and a recommendation

This post is inspired by Maggie Latham and her fantastic series of posts on colour. (The link to the first post is here but do make sure to read the other posts in what an interesting, well researched and very well presented series. I can't recommend them enough, she is so generous with her knowledge.) 

I love colour mixing charts, or as I think of them, recipe pages. If there is left over paint on the palette or sometimes just for the joy of it I'll start playing with mixing the colours. I don't think time spent doing this can ever be wasted and sometimes out of this kind of play unusual and unexpected combinations can be discovered.

The first two images are preparation for a 'Mixing Greens in Watercolour' class that I held a few years ago. Although using colours that I had used lots of times before I remember getting very excited about forgotten combinations.

On the left is a page from my acrylic recipe book. I was thinking about stormy grey colours, looking at different tones and how different glazes would adjust the base colour. I find it fascinating that mixing colours by glazing in acrylic or oils gives such different results from mixing the same colours on the palette. I don't think the photo does justice to the nuances of colour in these different mixes but if you've the time and inclination to have a play with these colours I think you would be surprised by the subtle differences.


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13 comments:

Lydie said...

It's a lots of work to do these recipes but it helps to know our colors. See you soon.

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Lydie, thank you for visiting. Have a great day.

Michael Bailey said...

Excellent stuff, Lisa. You and Maggie have encouraged me to want to make a start on a proper watercolour recipe book now! I tend to just doodle on random pages in one of my books and then forget all the magical combinations that I find :) I'm pretty good with colour mixing in general now but a lot is still chance so my own reference book would be great!
I see you use Daler Rowney. I have a tiny 1/4 pan set of theirs and love them for plein air but I've never tried tubes which I presume you prefer for studio work?
As for glazing in acrylics it's all a black art to me!

Maggie Latham said...

Hi Lisa, Thank you so much for the mention. These are such a joy to look at…I just love looking at and creating colour notes and charts! I love the greens…most people have such a hard time with greens. Also love the acrylic charts...nice idea to think of them as your recipe books!!!! Unbleached Titanium is one of my favourite Liquitex colours…but have not tried Buff Titanium …is it a W&N acrylic colour? Have you tried the iInteractives yet? I’m going to start a chart next week for my Interactives…but a controlled glazing chart on gessoed paper…not really sure how to go about this yet, as I don’t often make charts for acrylics or glazing…

Caroline said...

I am not surprised to see your colour charts here today Lisa, your paintings always have such lovely colours.

Caroline said...

I was going to ask you, do you use a medium when you paint in acrylics? or do you rely on water only?

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Michael, I find my recipe book so useful when I'm looking for combinations that say more about what I feel about a painting than what was actually there. It's especially useful when you get seduced by a new colour at the art shop and need to find out how it fits in with your usual palette. I'd really encourage you to start your own. Just a warning....colour charts are addictive ;o)

Hi Maggie, you are most welcome. Your posts have been really interesting and informative.
I can't remember if W&N do buff titanium, the one I use is Daler Rowney it's a lovely warm neutral.
I'm going to have to wait to try Interactives as I can't justify spending on any more materials at the moment. One thing to maybe keep in mind when you make the charts for them though is to keep a note of the ratio of medium to paint. It can affect the result significantly with normal acrylic I find.

Hi Caroline, thank you. I think the colour recipe book must have paid off as I always relied on tone more in the past.
I very rarely just use water to thin acrylic as I find it just goes to streaky and on gessoed canvas the first layers ball up and resist in a most frustrating way. At the moment I use Liquitex glaze medium as you can get it in large bottles but I've used W&N and Daler Rowney as well and they are equally good.

Caroline said...

Hi Lisa is the medium you mention similar to W&N Galeria acrylic mediums? I have their Matt Medium also bought in a large bottle it was very good for building up thin layers of paint. Have you ever varnished your acrylic paintings I have seen them done but thought the result was very shiny?

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Morning Caroline, the Galeria matt medium is pretty similar. I have tried it before. I think they are all much of a muchness, it's just the goop that they use to suspend the pigments in the paint. (like the oils in oil paint)
The question of varnishing is a funny one.... I know a lot of people do varnish for reasons of protection, and for 'finish'. Personally I find varnished paintings distracting, the strokes of the varnish seem to take away from the painted strokes to me and I don't like the shiny nature of it either. A lot of my work is framed under glass so is protected anyway and as acrylic is vertially indestructable in normal hanging circumstances (providing the support is of a solid nature and properly prepped) I don't varnish. A canvas or board support can be dusted down with a cloth either dry or barely damp with no ill effects. Do you varnish?

Caroline said...

Hi Lisa, I haven't done much painting in acrylics just a few sample pieces and one painting which came out well enough to frame. I have varnished oil paintings in the past those being the more luminous ones yet I don't think they really needed it. I was putting a retouch varnish on some of the oil paintings to protect them during the first six months after painting them but with my expressive winter oil paintings they don't need it. Regarding acrylics I feel as they are plastic and pretty well bomb proof I think they could stand being dusted if they weren't placed under glass. Do you use the throw away palettes or an old paint when you use acrylics? I read in a book that you can soak the plate in a sink of water and it will soften the hardened and dried acrylic paint, is this true I wonder!

Caroline said...

I meant to say a throw away paper palette and an old plate!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Caroline, I use plastic lids from food containers like margarine tubs (the plastic is the kind we can't recycle here so I feel better if I can use them for something before they get binned) I have a melamine topped table that gets used for larger quantities of paint and when it's dried scrapes off quite easily with a scourer and bathroom cleaner, stubborn bits are scraped with a blade. I haven't tried soaking a plate with dried paint but I do know that the chunkier the dried paint the easier it is to pick it off a very smooth surface with a little determination. Thin bits are harder to shift.

Caroline said...

Thank you Lisa!