I started looking at the color bias wheel for my own tube paints. I have Cad Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cad Red Light. Instead of Rose Red I used Alizarine Crimson Hue.
From then I did lots of mixing and built this wheel.
Amazingly it seems to give me lots of information about some of my tube colors. I’m beginning to feeling more confident that I’ll be able to mix my own Munsell charts. Tomorrow I’ll start down that path…
I learned that every color has a particular bias (warm/cool) and therefore leans one direction around the color wheel or another. A blue will either be a blue which leans toward violet, such as Ultramarine Blue, or it will lean toward green, such as Cerulean. The same is true with red. A Cad Red Light looks more orange than a Permanent Alizarine Crimson which looks more like a blue red. That’s because Cad Red Light leans toward yellow, and Permanent Alizarine Crimson leans toward blue. The same is true for Lemon Yellow which leans toward green, and Cad Yellow Light which leans toward orange.
That’s how I learned to mix bright secondaries: Purple=Ultramarine Blue + Alizarine Crimson; Orange=Cad Yellow + Cad Red; Green= Lemon Yellow + Cerulean Blue
These Value Studies are designed to help my still life paintings improve. I’m finding them quite a bit more difficult than I had thought.
I asked a carpenter friend of mine to help. He agreed to cut up some 2×4 into 2x2s. Only after he did that he mentioned that the only 2×4’s he had came from old wood 2x10s that originally were part of a 3 hundred year old barn! So the cubes had once been part of a tree that was approximately 300-500 years old! It felt like a sacrilege but it was too late.
This turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Two of the cubes are OK, the white-N9 and the yellow-N8 are not too bad.
I’m quite unhappy with the N5 cube and the ground. They were both supposed to be N5. It doesn’t look like it is! So either my Munsell student book N5 chip is really an N4 or my ‘neutral grey’ palette paper is N6!
At any rate, I did learn that I was not able to paint the black dark enough for the shadow side of the N5 cube.
Ok, so we’ve all seen grey scales or value scales. So what’s different here?
Well they’re not really grey! Or at least they cannot be made by combining Titanium White and Ivory Black!
And that’s because Ivory Black is really not black. Rather it’s a very dark shade leaning toward blue.
In order to create a truly neutral value scale the blue tint must be neutralized. The most effective way to achieve this is by adding a bit of Burnt Umber.
I created my own Munsell value scale by first creating a value scale of Titanium White/Ivory Black. Next I created a similar value scale of Titanium White/Brunt Umber. Then I carefully blended a bit of each to get a truly neutral value scale of my own (or a neutral as I could).
I matched each of these to the original Munsel scale from my Student book.
Yes, I’m fully bought in! I am committed to really making my colors realistic. Paul Foxton has convinced me that this is really easy. Right now I’m not so sure that easy is the right word, but I’ll certainly give it a whirl.
This all feels like graduate school and I’m still a freshman. But studying always helped me in the past, so I’ve spent the last week or so just studying more about Munsell.
The 5th edition of the Student Color book only missed a single YR chip. Perhaps I’ll be able to make a replacement once I’ve learned more about how to estimate the missing one.
Over last week or so I’ve been spending lots of time reading. I found some interesting information on Frank J. Reilly on-line. Reilly was a big proponent of using Munsell in painting. One of this students, John Ennis, was kind enough to upload some notes from his 2010 class. You can find the Reilly Papers on his blog: http://ennisart.blogspot.com/.
My apologies for the terrible color of my photos of the Munsell pages. The chips are actually quite right and not at all like these photos…
Ok, the last color charts are now done. Boy that was some undertaking.
But it’s another one I’m really glad I did. What a learning journey!
The way a mid Chroma is altered over the range of Value and Chroma is amazing. To really see how orange becomes brown. To see all the subtlety. To see how nature creates sooo many greens.
It does give me a much more complete conceptual framework for developing the color sense that will be required in the realistic artwork I want to pursue. But this is only putting chips in a book! There will be a endless learning curve in translating the chips into paint and then applying the paint to canvas.
Munsell is a slow but steady process. Just sorting out the pages and chips for this 5Y page took most of the day.
The first first page of the value/chroma chips, the R/Y (normally called orange) had me concerned. Most of the chips are just perfect, but some are stuck and that leads to a few getting the color pulled off. A few are missing entirely, but not too many. Then I found others stuck so only missing one.
I had learned from my fellow students of Paul Foxton’s Munsell color course. They had problems with missing color chips or paint chipping off in the 3rd edition of the Student book. I was worried I was seeing the same thing in my new 5th edition. But I decided to proceed on faith that the company had taken care to fix the problem.
I did get a link to the name and email for their Pennsylvania representative. Once I’ve got all the pages completed, I’ll send a note. Perhaps they’ll be able to replace the damaged and missing ones. I’d also like to see if I can get glossy chips since this book has only matte. Paul says the color is truer on the glossy. But, how obsessive am I really??
These pages took me most of the day and I’ll try to finished tomorrow.
Faith restored! The rest of these pages were fine. I’ll need to go back and look for a stuck chip on the 5YR page later.
I finally took the plunge. I’ve been trying to do color without really spending the time to do it right. It’s been quite a challenge.
Paul Foxton has been really encouraging all of his followers (devotees) to use this book to really nail the color that we see. And then he stresses using bracketing to mix the colors to match the Munsell color chips in this book.
Here’s how Amazon describes this book:
Adaptable to both studio and lecture courses and appropriate for all student levels from beginner to advanced,The New Munsell Student Color Set, 5th Edition, is a complete learning package that offers opportunities for experimenting with color effects using paint, paper, and computers. A full-color interactive and experimental guidebook for understanding color in all its dimensions, it includes 11 Munsell color charts, 15 interactive charts, 12 packets of color chips, and a textbook, all designed to facilitate hands-on learning of color’s aspects and effects. The text provides a complete study of color use and color science, including extended discussion of visual perception, optical effects, and practical application of color phenomena in fine and applied art practices.
I ordered this puppy last week after I completed the Yellow Rose study. It just arrived! And I’m very excited to begin this part of my journey.
So my challenge for the next few days is really learning about hue, value and chroma. Then I will be putting the 12 packets of color chips onto the 26 charts in the correct places.
I’ll let you know how it goes…
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