Color Science (Part 2)

Today I decided to try out a cool color palette. At 6 am this morning, I pulled out all my acrylics, and discovered that I didn’t have a cool blue in my stash. But I did have a cool dioxazine purple. Since it was 6 am, I decided to go with what I had. I used Cadmium Yellow Light, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple, and Paynes Grey (for black), and Titanium White. What I forgot to look at was my Golden Fluid Acrylic colors. I have Manganese blue in those and I could have easily used that for a cool blue. Hindsight is 2020.

As I began to paint, the first thing I remembered was a little dioxazine purple goes a long way. When I took my acrylics class at UVU, one of our assignments was to mix a little bit of the same color into every color we painted with. It was a trick you can use to make sure all your colors are in the same color family and therefore look good together. I decided to use dioxazine purple. Richard Hull, my instructor, raised his eyebrows and tried to hint that it might be a challenge. I felt up for the challenge though and went ahead.

Fortunately, the assignment was to paint a bottle of green grapes. And dioxazine purple mixed with yellow makes some really great olive green colors.

My work in a UVU class taught by Richard Hull probably 2017.  I used dioxazine purple in each color to tie the colors in the painting together.  As Richard Hull would say, I have a few drawing problems.

My work in a UVU class taught by Richard Hull probably 2017. I used dioxazine purple in each color to tie the colors in the painting together. As Richard Hull would say, I have a few drawing problems.

I decided to abandon purple as the “blue” in the set and rely on Paynes Grey as my blue. I remembered another assignment from my acrylics class. We used the Zorn palette: yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black and white. I learned in that assignment that you could make some blues from the black. While the blues were technically grey, they have tints of blue in them. Next to the red and yellow, it looks blue. Not a vibrant blue, but blue.

Since Paynes Grey (a cool grey) was my black in this palette, I mixed a bit of white and a little bit of the other colors trying to coax blue out of the palette. I also ended up with some nice muted reds.

The colors I got out of this palette had a lot of purples. I only used one squeeze of purple for all of the colors I produced here. All of the other colors, I needed at least one more squeeze to help tame down that strong purple. The blues you see here come from paynes grey.

Color palette: Cadmium Yellow Light, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple, Paynes Grey, Titanium White

Color palette: Cadmium Yellow Light, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple, Paynes Grey, Titanium White

If you remember in Part 1 of this experiment, I wanted to know if using all warm colors would produce more vibrant colors than using all cool colors. My hypothesis was warm colors would produce more vibrant colors than cool colors. Here is the result:

The colors on the left are from the cool palette and the colors on the right are from the warm palette

Reds, Greens, Blues . Left side is cool palette. Right side is warm palette.

Reds, Greens, Blues . Left side is cool palette. Right side is warm palette.


Overall, a warm palette does produce more vibrant colors than a cool palette.

I’m thinking the next experiment should be a study of the effect that warm or cool blue has on a color palette—or a Study in Blues.

 

Leave a comment