Playing with Color

Posted on November 18, 2010

Color mixing swatches

Color mix swatches

For Untitled #5 I set myself the challenge of working in a high intensity red range. Partly because I want to see what effect the color and intensity change has on the transparent veils I paint, but also because red is not my favorite color to use. It’s good to shake things up a bit!

Since I was less familiar with these colors and their potential in mixes, I spent many happy hours playing with color swatches resulting in all those red swatches in the photo.

A lot of that time was spent to figure out four starting points that would result in transparency mixes that a) the viewer can distinguish and b) I can actually mix. I started using reds as my base colors but that gave me too many indistinguishable mixes which I felt would result in confusing transparencies.

Mix pyramid

Color mix pyramid

My final color choices and the approximate mixes became those in the mix pyramid. These were small quantity mixes to help me find a starting point. The next step was to start mixing up enough of each color and each mix to finish the painting. This is when I get out my transparency grids and have to be very, very picky about the color. A couple of the mixes – the more extreme, like purple and yellow, and the closest, like purple and magenta, took multiple tries to get right.

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