Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Fun With Color Charts

"Take time learning new skills and principles... Knowledge acquired quickly, flies out the window. In art the tortoise wins.
                                                                                                         ~ Harley Brown

Color chart using Napthol red as the base

I added a new color to my palette recently: Napthol red. I needed a warm, bright red to go along with my workhorse red, Alizarin crimson. To explore how this new color would interact with the rest of my colors, I painted a color chart for reference. Starting on the left, I used Napthol red mixed with Yellow Ochre and then added white in increasing amounts as the column goes down. I continued to do the same thing across the chart with my other colors: Azo Yellow, Chromium Oxide Green, Phthalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, and Burnt Sienna.

This particular type of color chart is based off of the color charts in Richard Schmid's book Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting. If you don't have the book, David Gray has a video on YouTube that will take you through the process. I know some people find making color charts boring and tedious, but for me it's like playing.

After I completed the color chart, I saw a lot of colors I was itching to use in a painting. I had a little antique Hall teapot - creamer? hot water? I've read a lot of different identities of this piece - that seemed the perfect subject to try out all these new red colors on. What fun!

Still Life with Hall China - 5" x 7" oil on canvas board

- Argh! I misspelled "naphthol" in this post. My apologies.


john said...

A lovely teapot painting. I had never even heard of that shade of red before. I wonder if I can find it in acrylic?

Gabrielle said...

Hi John,

Good question! I did a quick search and it looks like Utrecht, M. Graham, Winsor & Newton Professional, Golden, and Liquitex Heavy Body all offer something they call "Naphthol red" in acrylic. Of course I don't know which one would be closest in actual color to the M. Graham Naphthol red oil paint I'm using, but might be fun to pick one and see what you think of it. Let me know if you do.