Class Notes: Seeing Color, Mixing Neutrals

It has been awhile since my students have seen this white cup; not everyone's favorite. It has a few quirks I still wrestle with: the ellipse at the top and red painted rim, the rolled metal handle, etc. . .
This week it served to help us see and mix "grey's" or neutrals.
I have been trying to stop using the terms "grey" or "brown", because they are useless descriptors, giving no real indication of the character of what you are seeing or mixing. Instead, I want to learn to see color,
say color, paint color.
See it, give it a name, such as a warm neutral, or to get more specific -
a red, pink, or orange neutral; conversely, a cool neutral, such as a violet, blue or green neutral. In reality there is very little absolute neutral grey, (a black derivative) in nature.
In the case of this white cup on a white cloth the challenge was to see the whites as color. The enamel cup has a very warm cast and the table cloth took on a cool cast. Before mixing that ubiquitous GREY
try SEEING what you think is just grey, as a color and mix accordingly. Your work will take on a much more colorful life.

ps. I once asked Eldon Warren, one of my favorite painters, how he managed to paint so many wonderful, vivid and sophisticated greens. He told me that as he drives, he looks at the greens he sees and names them to himself: a gold-green, a red green, a silver-green and imagines how he would mix them.
He SEEs them, he names them, he paints them. Check out his website by clicking here.


tagskie said...

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Coni said...

Hey, Thanks - C

Coni said...

I think that cup is tilted - oops! -C