Friday, July 13, 2012

A Little Dab'll Do Ya - Managing Your Phthalos

On my oil palette, I usually include a phthalo color.  Why?  Because phthalo blue and its cousins, phthalo green and phthalo emerald, possess high chroma and a high tinting strength.  It has such a high tinting strength, in fact, that one little tube will last years.  It really only takes a speck to make a difference in your paint mixtures.

Phthalo is the painter's equivalent of nitroglycerine.  You should probably need a permit to use it.

When I tell the students who've not used it before to add just the tiniest bit, they usually scoop up  a three-month supply on their brush.  The results are disastrous, of course.  Unless you're skilled enough to use a single hair of your brush to pick up the phthalo, you're better off using a knife.

For those of you who have trouble managing phthalo, I include the following illustrations.  The first photo shows a pinhead's worth of phthalo emerald on the knife.  The second photo shows that pinhead's worth mixed into white.  The third photo shows a second pinhead's worth mixed in.  It's pretty dramatic.

By the way, I've set up a coupon that will give you $1 off my $10 online video course, Plein Air Essentials - Oil Supplement.   This course includes not just several mini-videos but also a 30-minute oil demonstration.  The coupon code is PAEOS and is good only until July 21.  Go to this link for the course.


Elizabeth said...

Well, that explains a LOT! I didn't realize these pigments were so intense. I shall have to make sure I identify them on the palette much better from now on. For some reason it had not clicked that these were the ones that I was overdoing.

Daniela said...

I love phtalo green, I mixed it with dioxazine purple and got the sea, but then I found Winsor and Newtons Manganese Blue Hue which is a dynamic sort of high chroma color in between phtalo blue and phtalo green, only much much stronger than if you mix these two lots of "nitroglycerine", except, the phtalos lend themselves to mixing, better than this lovely W&N color.