Monday, June 28, 2010

Watercolor Tip #2

What colors make up your pigments?
Pigments are almost always made up of more than one primary color.
For the purposes of this article please understand that all my color observations refer to Winsor & Newton  artists quality paint.  This is important as even though many manufacturers give their pigments the same name, they often have different compositions.  Now having made this stipulation let me talk more about what I meant in my first paragraph.
Well, for example, French Ultramarine, if you have a close look at it, has a very slight tinge of red to it in addition to its predominant blue color.  Alizarin Crimson on the other hand, has a slight bluish tint, in addition to its predominant color of red. For this reason, when you mix these two colors you end up with a nice bright purple color. 
However, if you mix French Ultramarine with Cadmium Red (which has a slight yellowish look) then the result is a more dull looking purple color. The reason for this is because in the first example only two primary colors were involved in the mix (Blue and Red) while in this second example all three primary colors were involved – Blue, Red and a little bit of Yellow.
Whenever you mix the three primary colors together you end up with a color leaning towards a grey or even black.
So, you should be able to see from the above that no only should you know which primary colors create which color but also which primary colors make up each pigment!

Happy Painting

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