Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Color mixing target

Okay, here it is. This target is slipped under a piece of plate glass, usually in a masterson palette box. The values can be matched to the "piano keys" on the bottom. This way my students can easily mix up their color strings.


John said...

This is great! Thanks for posting this!

ewschott said...

Oh it just brings shivering fears! :)

What a mastermind!

Scott said...

Absolutely fabtastic! Do only your students get to have one? Are they for purchase?

nystudios said...

Marvin, while you are a far superior painter than I have a hard time seeing where this won't get people into trouble unless this is just a starting point. The Jpg. was really small, but I think that it was a line of neutrals along the top flanked by both black and white correct? Then a line of yellow, yellow-red, and red in nine values. Is this correct? On the right side are permanent alizarin, ultramarine, viridian, and burnt sienna.

While I agree with the values steps for these colors it doesn't do much for the would be or aspiring painter to understand two of the factors of color, namely Hue and Chroma.

I understand this maybe just the first step, and later you address these problems. If so forgive me.

One of the most enlightening things about Graydon's whole munsell approach is that you always determine the precise value first. Then you think about Chroma, and finally and lastly you think about hue.

I am assuming that this is a version of the Reilly palette that you are using? If so I can assume that the reds and yellows if following the method would be based on yellow ochre or Cad. yellow and Cad. Red lt. The problems with those colors is that chromas are so high. Therefore, I assume you use the neutrals to "neutralize" the chromas for the resulting mixtures, but that doesn't account for hue shift.

Since you have been working with Munsell for a long time, I know you know of the hue shift and peoples inability to hit precise values without some sort of normalizing reference.

This is where Graydon's method is so exacting and liberating. You could tell me over the internet what the local of an object is, and the nature of the lighting, and I can tell you exactly what color the highlight, light-light, dark-light, light halftone, dark halftone, dark shadow, light shadow, and the reflected light are going to be in Hue, value, and chroma taking into account color shift do to light source, intensity, and hue. It is amazing!!!

But, better yet, I can mix up all nine of those Hue,value,chromas and paint that object without ever seeing it (say a sphere or cube) and get it exactly right. And, if I desire I can compose my composition in color as well, and push certain effects like the chroma in certain key elements, objects, reflected lights, sections of a painting...whatever. And, it is repeatable. But most importantly for me, since I am still learning, is that it allows me to take on one thing at a time. Composition, then drawing, value, chroma, and finally hue without having to deal with all of that at one time is a welcome relief!!!

Please forgive me if I sounded confrontational, that isn't my aim, I am just trying to help people come up to speed with the gravity and the nature of Graydon's system.

Scott said...


There are a few of us who asked Marvin to post this. He complied. It is excellent. There is SO much more to what Marvin does. He is fully aware of the Chroma that Graydon is teaching. From viewing his work, I think it is something he does without all the work we are doing with our charts. I think that once you get to know him, you're going to learn even more. You are an excellent painter, just like your dad, Neal. How lucky you are to have both Marvin and Graydon, and your dad to learn from!

Thanks again for posting this, Marvin! You developed a beauty! It gives me an idea of how to make up a chart for the different chroma steps.

BTW, Neal...take a look at Marvin's work....oh, yeah...he's awesome like nobody's business. Beth studied with him, too.

nystudios said...

I just went and re-read my post. If it came off confrontational please please forgive me. As I said at the very beginning, I realize that Marvin is an amazing painter, and has probably forgotten more about painting than I will ever know.

However, this doesn't negate the fact that Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ocher, Terra Rosa, Indian Red, Cerulean blue, ultramarine, viridian, and alizarin all have high chromas. And, those colors need to be neutralized for 80-90% of the time. And using a neutral, white, or black will still cause color shift.

This also doesn't negate the fact that for a beginning student (although I really appreciate the compliment-I know exactly where I am and it isn't up to Marvin's snuff) dealing with everything at once in a picture is extremely extremely hard.

But, I am tremendously excited about the thought of being taught and being able to glean information from all the amaaaaaazzzzing painters here!!!

Rich said...

Marvin, thanks for posting this here. I'd love to hear more about how it is employed.

graydon said...

I have stated elsewhere that there is nothing wrong with this approach. I used something very similar with Aviano. We made two to three strings of earth colors, and a neutral string. Our hue choice was similar as well.

The problem is that this palette is still hard to control, and as the painting is refined, one still has to make more precise mixtures. I found this out when I was painting my 9-11 painting. Why not zero in closer to the start? Making strings of consistent chromas and hues is an improvement and aided every decision I made. ( Areas practically painted themselves) Again, I used something very similar in the past, and I guarantee that when it comes to doing something complex, where consistent color is valued, making chroma strings is a huge help.

This is not to say that Marvin's palette is wrong. It can't be because it covers the hues needed for flesh, albeit a bit high in chroma. However this palette shifts in chroma, and likely hue. The values are the only thing consistent. When painting from life, when one can look at every inch of the model and compare it to what one is painting, then it might not matter. However, most art of the past idealizes nature to a degree...even Courbet. When wanting to change nature, one can either do it by instinct or by reason. Keeping a more controlled palette than the one Marvin has developed assists in idealizing nature logically and with the utmost facility. Moreover, it offers the highest control of locals. One can easily mover higher or lower in chroma, adjust the hue without worrying about changing the chroma, and, change values without changing chromas.