Pigment Wonderland

Pigment Wonderland

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Is color important in a work of art? Most would say a loud yes! However, look at the wonderful work of the great, late artist, Andrew Wyeth. The feeling that he puts into his work reaches out and grabs one’s soul. So obviously, “color” is a personal matter.

Garden Pond by Robert Reynolds, 29 x 19, watercolor painting on paper.

For me, my interests in color have fluctuated over the years and my watercolor painting palette has changed in many ways during that time. For example, I used to include ivory black in my basic palette, but today I rarely use black mainly because it doesn’t produce the lively shadow tones and low intensity colors that I now create with other pigments. I also rely less on earth colors such as burnt sienna and burnt umber, because they seem too “heavy” in capturing the light and the airy feelings of sky, clouds, fog and mist.

But I do love these pigments and use them quite often in my watercolor paintings, just not for atmospheric effects. In fact I’ve had the privilege of watching them being made during the two times that I visited the Windsor/Newton factory located in Harrow, London. If you are ever in London, take the tour of this famous fine arts paint factory. You will be in pigment wonderland!

My basic watercolor painting palette.

My basic watercolor palette adds up to about 15 colors, and I do add other colors when I feel the need to do so. But in general, whenever I paint, I simply try to be conscious of which colors are staining colors. For example, at one time I relied on a mixture of hooker’s green dark and alizarin crimson when creating the effect of tree foliage. The interplay of both colors did create beautiful foliage. However, the colors seemed to lock themselves into the paper. It was difficult to remove the mixture colors from the paper, which I do quite often.

Because of this issue, I began to use mixtures of blues and yellows to create my own greens. On the whole, however, there’s no reason to avoid staining colors. They pose no insurmountable difficulties for experienced watercolorists and can be quite useful when an area needs to be glazed with a second color without lifting the first color in the process. Quite often, for example, I’ll use alizarin crimson as a glazing color to unify a number of elements in my works. More soon,


Watch the video: Wonderland (July 2022).


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