Colorful Fridays–Soapy Violet Make-up

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“A color is as strong as the impression it creates.” Ivan Le Lorraine Albright (from Susie Gadea)

Organic mineral compounded Manganese Violet is short on talk from artists.  Few have much to say about this rich reddish purple and direct compliment of Chromium Green. Manganese Violet has been around since 1868 where it was first discovered in Germany and called Nuremberg Violet.  Winsor Newton introduced it to England in 1890. This purple hue is non-toxic and shows up in a number of unusual places.

Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 8.46.48 AMVasari Colors rates Manganese Violet as “Gemlike in mass tone” and “makes pinkish violet tints when mixed with white.”  Gamblin’s website says Manganese Violet is, “ a moderate purple that is redder and duller than Heliotrope, bluer lighter and stronger than average amethyst, bluer and stronger than Cobalt Violet, and bluer and deeper than average lilac.”  Holliday Pigments gives Manganese Violet a good semi-transparent rating.  According to Cameo.mfa.org, Manganese Violet, “has poor hiding power and has not been widely used.”

If you don’t wish to make use of your Manganese Violet pigment in paintings, it can always be used to make a nice non-toxic eye shadow.  No eye shadow?  Well, the pigment is also good for tinting hand made soap.  Gardeners will find Manganese Violet is a vital mineral in the diet of African Violets but it’s not for the color of the blooms.  Manganese Violet is essential for the healthy green color of the leaves of African Violets.  Maybe African Violet leaves are Chromium Green.

Here is a demonstration of a Manganese Violet wash:

Colorful Fridays–Transparently Healing White

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“The first of all colors is white … We shall set down white as the representation of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for earth, green for water, blue for air, red for fire; and black for total darkness.” Leonardo Da Vinci (Squidoo.com)

Many artists’ paints must be used with caution because of the potentially toxic properties of the pigments.  Not so with Zinc White.  Not only is Zinc White not toxic, should you happen to get poison ivy while out doing a little plein air painting, you can reach into your paint box and pull out your handy tube of Zinc White.  Slather it on and continue painting.  Suppose the sun is beating down but just a few more minutes and the painting will be complete.  A little Zinc White on the nose for sun protection and carry on.  And that Zinc White comes in mighty handy if you are looking for transparent lightening of the paint without the heaviness and chalkiness of Titanium.

Winsor Newton states Zinc White is “cold white” in appearance and “is particularly suitable for mixtures with cool colors and for glazing and scumbling techniques as it does not over power other hues.”  Golden Paints states Zinc White has “1/10th the tinting power of titanium white,” and “Zinc White is the best choice for use with the highly transparent hues”.  Golden Paints also states, “with Zinc White you have more control.”  Zinc White won’t take over the paint and turn it into a pastel quite so quickly as the much stronger Titanium white.

Artist’s experiments have concluded much the same thing.  A Blog Related to Art finds Zinc White has a cooler and bluer effect on paint mixes with greater transparency and states, “you can more easily make small adjustments to a paint’s lightness without accidently making it too light.”  On her blog, Lezley Davidson says, “skin tones are great ideas for Zinc Oxide when you need a white.”  Samantha Dasilva makes a comparison of Zinc White and Titanium and concludes Zinc White “slightly effects the value of the color” and is “highly transparent” and “great for glazing.”

With Zinc White, the tinting is mild and won’t affect the basic value of the paint.  It is excellent for transparency and glazing, particularly with the effects of skin tones.  Zinc White is the best choice for light airy whites and those with a bluer or cooler look.  Zinc White won’t give that thick opaque look that Titanium White is well known for.  If you don’t want to overpower your work with white, then go for the Zinc.  And if not, you can always add it to your First Aid Kit.  Along with poison ivy and sunburn, Zinc White is great on that diaper rash you got after wading through the poison ivy to reach that sunny spot you sweltered in all day while painting your fabulous plein air creation.  The things we do for art!

Grumbacher demonstrates mixing with Zinc White:

To buy pure zinc oxide pigment go to Amazon

Colorful Fridays–“Green” Rose Brown

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” Sir Frances Bacon (from the Painter’s Keys)Screen shot 2013-10-25 at 10.50.11 AM

Mix cinnamon, ginger and chocolate and you will come up with a color very close to Burnt Sienna, (not to be confused with the rock band, Burnt Sienna).  However, you may not want to paint with this mixture.  For paint, you will need iron oxide and manganese oxide.  Then you will have to set it on fire, unless or course, you are looking for the more yellowish Raw Sienna.  In that case, leave off the fire.

Burnt Sienna is an old paint color dating to early cave paintings..   The rose brown of Burnt Sienna was originally called terra rossa or red earth in accounts from the Renaissance period but later came to be known for the Italian city of Siena where the minerals were first mined.  Today it is mined on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, in the French Ardennes and American Appalachians.

Rembrandt favored Burnt Sienna as is evident in the warm rosy glow so characteristic of his paintings.  Burnt Sienna is favored in most Renaissance paintings as well.  Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro was likely achieved with the liberal use of Burnt Sienna in the rich deep shadows that became his signature style.  Burnt Sienna was a popular paint of many of the old masters and continues its popularity to this day.

Most makers of Burnt Sienna today give a light fast rating of one as extremely light fast.  Golden classifies it as semi-transparent.  The Gamblin Company states today’s Burnt Sienna is more opaque than 200 years ago and recommends Van Dyke Brown or Gamblin Earth Tone Colors as better choices if seeking greater transparency.  Daniel Smith, speaking of the watercolor, says Burnt Sienna combines well in glazes as a semi-transparent pigment that won’t “sully or stain the other pigments” in your glaze.

Artists seeking to become more earth-friendly in painting can buy natural pigments of Burnt Sienna for home mixing from EarthPigments.com.  If you would like to be more “Green” with your browns, try mixing your own earth tones from actual earth pigments.  What could be more natural?

Order natural pigments from Earth Pigments here.

Burnt Sienna, the band, talks about their music on You Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulMrP5tyn30

Experimenting Experimenters

Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 9.07.17 AMLet us see how high we can fly before the sun melts the wax in our wings.”         Edward O. Wilson (from The Painters Keys)

Many artists are experimenters who constantly search for new ways to express themselves through their art.  They look for new techniques.  They try different media.  Some even come up with non-traditional materials not generally thought of as art making material.  Others look for new uses of traditional materials.  Still others seek out new and different subject matter.

The UK’s Daily Mail has an article focused on artist Gerald Toni and his use of coffee and tea to paint beautiful life-like works of people and objects set in coffee houses.  He uses various blends of coffee and tea from all over the world.  The amazing range of color values in his paintings come from years of experimenting with the different coffee and tea blends.

Watercolorist Carrie Lin, as told by Margaret DeRitter of Michigan Live has developed a unique method in her paintings using different papers such as yupo and rice paper.   For the rice paper work she uses a crinkle technique perfected with years of experimentation.  In the yupo paintings, she applies ink, allowing it to slide over the slick surface of the paper.  Lin then uses both techniques as the background for her beautiful abstract paintings.

If you are in the mood to try for something new and different, Amiria Robinson has outlined techniques, methods and materials to try out in a series of articles for Student Art Guide “Entitled Beyond the Brush.”  You might try painting with a mop or maybe your feet.  You could experiment by painting with a rag.  How about turning things around and dipping the paper or canvas into the paint instead of the other way around?  Robinson described a number of lively suggestions worth trying just for the fun of it.

In the process of experimenting, artists are forever evolving and changing the way people view their world.  This constant evolution brings color and expression to our lives.  I wonder what the next development in the art world will be.  Artists are always bringing new things to life.