I often explore the capabilities of my art materials. I’m also interested in how they are made and where they come from.
One of the things I have always been concerned about since starting my business around fourteen years ago has been customer satisfaction. I will leap through hoops to make sure my clients are happy with what they pay for – it is a lesson I have learnt very well having spent even longer in customer service. This has not changed now that my focus is my artwork. So one of the first problems I was faced with when starting to paint to sell, was how to find the right equipment and materials to ensure that no matter the skill of my art, the actual physical piece would be good quality and finished correctly. I may not be Da Vinci or Michelangelo, but considering the products they had to work with versus what I have access to, I expect my final product to at least last a lifetime.
The Munsell Color System was created by Professor Albert Munsell in the early 20th century.
Recently, greys have been a little baffling for me. Grey has always been a mix of black and white, but for anyone who has been looking at colour theory, as I have, will discover that the theory says that if you mix complementary colours (those opposite on the colour wheel) you will get a grey.
This is news to me. I’d always considered those colours to be browns, often very useful browns, but the literature says they are greys (or grays if you prefer the traditional American spelling).
I have to say that the title of this post is a little creepy. But no, we are talking the colour of flesh, one of the most challenging colours to create, particularly if you are painting caucasian.
When I was a kid we had some friends who were building a house not far from an old quarry. Being kids we played in the quarry which was literally dripping with clay deposits (it was winter, there was rain, and can we say mud?). Little did I know that I was playing with the raw ingredients of the paints I would end up painting with as an adult. There were several different colours and I had the time of my life getting myself coated in them. The quarry is gone now, eaten by housing estates, but it would be fun to go back and look at those colours and wonder.
When I first threw Dioxazine Purple into Google I was very surprised at the lack of information that popped up. I was thinking, hey, this is my favourite purple, a stunning purple beloved by many artists, why isn’t there a chemical breakdown or a hazard report or a history of the chemical? What the heck is dioxazine?
Cadmium is an element and a metal that was discovered in the early 1800s by two German scientists. It wasn’t developed for use as a pigment until the mid 1800s, but has since proven itself to be a strong vibrant and reliable source of yellow through to red pigments.
Blue is the colour of our sky and our oceans, both calm and turbulent, often streaked with grey or white, it envelopes our planet and gives our astronauts a blue marble to admire.
In the foreground above you can see my Matisse Brilliant Alizarin. In the middle you can see my Golden Alizarin Crimson Hue. The colours are not the same. The equal to Golden in Matisse is the Deep Rose Madder that I have equally fallen in love with. My watercolours by Windsor and Newton have followed the Matisse preference for colour. So which of these is truly Alizarin?
The biggest thing for me that I’m learning at the moment is to trust my skill. I have to believe that no matter what I do it will work out somehow. It may look like crud at some points, but if I keep going, I can make it work. I’m an artist, I can do this! (This is my mantra…and it is working :D).