Saturday, August 28, 2010

Discovering Purple

"Surge" 11x14, oil - SOLD

As my loyal readers know, I use a split-primary oil palette that consists of a warm and cool version of the three primaries. There's no purple on my palette, and if I need it, I can mix a reasonably good one out of Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue.

However, I recently threw a tube of Dioxazine Purple in my kit. I was painting flowers - beach roses, fireweed - and it was a nice cool dark for the flowers in shadow. I came across this purple again when I was out painting a closeup of seaweed-covered rocks and the roiling surf. Hm, I thought, how would it look added to the blues I normally use for painting water?

I tried it, and I was excited how a bit of this purple livened things up. It's far richer than the purple I can make by mixing a cool red and a cool blue. I've always known that if I'm painting gardens, which require high-chroma secondary colors (green, violet or orange), I should reach for the tubed versions. You just can't mix a rich secondary from the tubed primaries. It only makes sense that if I need a nice purple in the water to do this, too.

In the wrong hands, of course, that tube of Dioxazine Purple can turn into tubed nitroglycerine. But it can always be muted or greyed down. It's impossible to go the other way. You can't take a dull purple and make it rich.

In the painting above, I also snuck in a little Viridian, which is a tubed but muted green.

By the way, has now released my pastel video as a download. Click here to preview/purchase. I'm very happy, because now I don't have to worry about duplicating and distributing a physical product! My other video, the one on oil, will be released next month (September 2010.)

1 comment:

Jo Castillo said...

Michael, congratulations on the video! Beautiful painting with the purple. Applause.