Monday, June 29, 2015

More Fun with Mixing Primaries from Secondary Colors

Salt Marsh Farm - 8x8 oil/canvas
by Michael Chesley Johnson
Available! - $80 includes shipping

I'm continuing to explore some options of mixing primaries from secondary colors.  (See my last post.)  As one of my commentors noted, this isn't really mixing primaries, since primaries are, by definition, pure hues.  These "primaries" are actually tint or shades.  But it's interesting the variety of muted reds, blues and yellows one gets.

My two "blue" tests are on the right.

For this experiment, I started off with permanent orange (Gamblin), thio violet (Grumbacher) and thio yellow-green (also Grumbacher.)  The "red" that the orange and violet gave me was pretty spectacular.  The "yellow" had a definite cool green cast to it.  The "blue" I was very unhappy with, as all I could get was a very dull brown.  The problem was the thio violet, which has a very strong red shift.  So, I added a fourth secondary, magenta violet (Gamblin), which leans more toward the blue.  For my "blue," I used this and the thio yellow-green.  This gave me a satisfactory blue with a green tint.

My friend and long-time abstract painter, John Warren Oakes, recommends a palette of permanent orange, magenta violet and permanent green.  I don't have the permanent green yet, but I am eager to try it.

By the way, tomorrow starts my season of Paint Campobello plein air painting workshops.  I'm very excited, as I haven't taught a workshop in several weeks now, and I'm hankering to get and share some of my favorite spots.  I have a very few openings left in these workshops.  If you'd like to come and paint some of the most beautiful (and unpopulated) scenery of Downeast Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, please visit

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