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Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's A Colorful Life!

Cadmium Yellow Medium

Transparent Red Oxide

Back to business exploring CYM and TRO.  TRO plus LY gave me an excellent skin tone for Max who I didn't wipe out, but then just did.  The kid just wouldn't behave; he had to go. 

The TRO chart bothers me a bit. On this color chart, it showed up how many of the colors on this 12 color palette are transparent--nearly all of them need the addition of white to make them opaque.  The best opaque first mix was Cobalt Blue and Transparent Red Oxide.  They came together to form that lovely gray.

The end is in sight. I've got three more charts to go:  Cobalt Violet and Alizarin. And I want to do a Black added to each of the palette colors then faded out to whatever gray/white they yield. Grays are important to me.  Meanwhile my studio wall is looking like an artist who is very into color works there. I like it.  It makes me laugh when I look at it and recall all the design clients over the years who didn't trust my paint color recommendations and had to call in their neighbors for their advice.  The gaul!  But then color is a personal thing blah blah.

My wall is filling up.  I went as far as I could go with the Cobalt Violet Chart and my tape ran out.
The art supply store is today's errand.  Meanwhile, the electrician still hasn't come so I'm still enjoying
this new wave sculpture taking up time and space.  

This video was sent to me by a friend. It's Rick Sammon telling us all about this wonderful device that will reproduce color absolutely accurately.  the device is called  Color Munki. And I WANT ONE FOR MOTHER'S DAY. IT LOOKS ABSOLUTELY COOL. For more information:

In these days of submitting artwork digitally and selling artwork online, color accuracy is a must.  This little baby might be the device to add to our art studios ASAP?

 ADDENDUM:  A friend recently emailed me this question:

Hi Linda:  just curious as to how you use the color chart.  If you see the perfect color on a chart and you want to use it, does it’s position in the chart tell you how to create it again?
I don’t think I’ll every had such a problem, but there has to be some easy way to recreate a desired color on any given chart, or what’s the use?

MY REPLY (just in case you thought my redundancy was a sign I needed psychiatric help).

Each chart features one color. Today, I was charting Cadmium Red Medium. It's in the upper left square. The squares below it are that red with different amounts of white added. The other colors on the top row going across are that red mixed with each of the eleven other colors on the palette--not in even amounts, but just enough to dominant, not enough to over power. Then each color In that row is lightened  in five steps  (down) with white ending in a row of pastels along the bottom. The idea is to learn how much or how little white has to be added to the mix to get each value. [How much or how little of the second color to add to get the third color]. So yes, charting the colors teaches you how to mix different values or what color plus what color will make what color. The charts give you a closer start to an accurate mix.


Today I learned Burnt Umbra, a paint I always bought by the tube, can be made with Cadmium Red Medium and just a dash of Viridian Green. I don't have to buy Burnt Umbra anymore. That saves me about [money], lightens the weight of my paint box and gives me more mixing room on my palette.  I can also stop buying Cerulean Blue. 


[On the charts] I did five steps, but some artists say there should be more gradations. The photographer's grey scale has nine steps.  I think nine is about right for me, but Schmid thought five was enough and I was following Schmid's instruction.


Each color has different levels of the power to saturate another.  Cadmium Red Medium is very powerful. Just  a little speck turned Lemon Yellow brilliant red orange. I had to use a lot of Lemon Yellow to get the yellow to show it was in the mix. There is no one formula for mixing each of the hues; doing it, you learn about how much pigment to how much pigment [to get the color you're after], the saturation powers of each pigment and how much white is needed [to get the right value]. 




  1. Oh my, those charts are really delicious, aren't they? They are absolutely works of art and and of themselves! wow!

    1. Plenty of errors in these charts, but upon completion of two more, a valuable reference for finding the right family and mixing the right value. Oils are not as brilliant as acrylics. The chemistry holds them back from having the same zing. They are appropriate for traditional painting subjects done in a traditional style. I like them for portraiture and in Rain's case, but for more contemporary subjects like abstractions, acrylics seem more appropriate. I think part of painting is selecting the right medium for the subject. Getting to know the scope of each oil pigment on this 12 pigment palette has been very interesting. I don't think I am a one medium only painter and never will be. Oils, acrylics, charcoal, photography are my mediums of expression. I just can't help it.

  2. So how do you get cerulean? I use that a lot and it is SOOOO expensive!

  3. Si sono veramente belle e ben fatte ! sono attratta di più su quelle del giallo , che gamma di colori ...e pensare , io uso ben poco di quei colori che tu hai così magistralmente creato !
    Cara Linda ,sono passata per un salutino ! Un abbraccio ...

    1. è stato un interessante progetto che ha reso deginitely azzeramento solo il colore e il giusto valore rapidamente. il bonus del mio lavoro è stato un muro molto colorato in studio.

  4. The charts are beautiful, even more so, massed.