Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Essential Colors

My Favorite Things - Part 4

Please pardon the delay in adding new posts - life was complicated for a couple of months.  I fully intend to keep adding new painting processes including recommendations, like this one.

You know I have an addiction to colors - in case you missed the post about my palette, I usually squeeze out 40-50 different colors.  There's no routine or order to them, I grabbed what I want that particular day - maybe different variations of red or blue that I haven't used in a while.  But there are several that I always use and I'm probably on my 10th tube of each of these.  They are my essentials, and I'll tell you why.

Asphaltum is my brown of choice.   I don't have Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna like most prefer,  this brown can be mixed with golds for a lovely bronze tone or a little red for a warmer brown.  I prefer Gamblin as a brand for this color.

I  l-u-r-v-e  Old Holland's Caribean Blue - I just bought this today, it's my 3rd tube in the past 7 years, unlike the others I'll mention, it goes a long way.  Think of Saffron when added to sauce.  It just takes a little bit added to another lighter blue of lighter green to bloom into a rich turquoise color.  I've tried other brands with a similar color but splurged with Old Holland because nothing works as well.

Speaking of blues,  Holbein's Horizon Blue is by far my favorite for mixing for sky and ocean/water colors.  I use it with neutral tones for sand, I mix it with fleshy tones for skin and use it with whites for a cool-white tone.

Richeson Oils are fairly new to me - I'm digging them.  Especially this Ice Blue that feels like the best neutral additive to many colors.  I've heard it's a favorite with portrait painters.

A big favorite of mine, Richeson Oils' Leaf Green - that gold/green that is essential with skin tones, it warms up other greens so beautifully as well.  Old Holland has a green/gold that was as concentrated and vibrant as their Caribean Blue,  this is a great alternative and a tad cheaper.

I love Gamblin's Radiant colors, especially the green.  It tints every color beautifully,  this is probably my 10th tube.   I use it mostly for skin tones to temper the reds and oranges.  Love it.

Indian Yellow is a MUST.   I prefer Gamblin,  I've tried several brands and always return to Gamblin.  I liken it to saffron, as a color - it works as a tinger (if that's a word) and adds electricity to anything.  It will 'stain' a color, make it warm.   I love using it alone on edges, especially shadows.  It's a must when mixing skin tones.   This is probably my 15th tube and I'm almost out of it.

Another must-have is Gamblin's Radiant White.   It's creamy (like yogurt), not as thick or opaque as Titanium White or similar.   But it is the thing to brighten up a color and it doesn't take much.   I'll bet this is my 20th tube.

Last but not least,  I have many versions of black.  I'm on a life-long quest to find a favorite.  For now,  I mix two or three or four different brands and versions together.   I don't believe that you shouldn't use black.   That's just silly.

3 different versions of Torrit Grey

PS -  Any time you're buying oil paints, ask if they have any Torrit Grey.  They're usually free.   They are incredibly useful (I love greys) and every batch is a different tone.   It's made of the sludge at the bottom of the mixers.   It's always a surprise what tone it'll be.  Some lean cold and some lean warm, some lean greenish and some brownish.  Love 'em.  Gamblin even has contests for artists based on the current year's batch.

Hope this is helpful to all the color addicts out there.   What are your must-haves?