Friday, January 18, 2008
Value Board - Subtle Grays are not Mud
I love playing with color. On my palette I have a limited number of tube colors, but from these I can mix endless varieties of subtle grays. Some of these mixes can be classified as blue green, reddish purple, salmon, mauve etc. Others are harder to name. Because I mix my colors like this there is a harmony even among all these subtle grays.
Each of these subtle grays has a hue ( what color it is) and a value ( how light or dark it is). They also have chroma ( the intensity of the color).
As I paint, my palette fills with leftovers from my color mixes. To keep my mixing area clean I occasionally scrape leftover piles of similar color together and save them along the top of my palette. I'll use these grays to tint my new color mixes. (I'll write more on that and my palette in a separate post).
I have a little 6x8 board in my studio that I have been playing with. At the end of the day I'll take some bits from these piles of grays that are left and place them on my little value board. There is no real method to this madness, I am just playing. I want to practice matching different hues that are the same value and at the same time play with new color combos and see how they affect each other. I have been trying to place them in a kind of value scale from light to dark. It is not something super serious like mixing color charts. Sometimes I get them in the right spot, other times I really miss. It may look like a certain value to me when it is on my palette knife, but when I place it among the other colors on my board, it looks different than I thought it would. You see value is all relative. It all depends on the other colors that are surrounding. Sixty Minute Artist, Jerry Lebo, has great posts on relative value and learning to see values. If you are interested in learning more about this you should read what he has to say.
Some of these grays have a high chroma or are "purer" and others are "duller" or more neutral. when a high chroma color is placed amongst the "dull" ones it really pops. Like that orange one on the middle left or those lime greens along the top or that red on the top right. When seen in the black and white image they fall into place value wise. If I were to put a pure color straight from the tube imagine how it would look compared to all of these grays.
Along the bottom of this board I mixed a simple scale of ten values from black to white. My subtle grays are placed from light to dark in the opposite direction. There is no reason for that it is just how I did it. I have shown the same board in black and white so you can see the values without being distracted by the color. The ones I got in the wrong place really stand out huh?
I'll be writing more about my color mixing and limited palette soon.