The Power of Red
~Understanding the Reds~
The color red is associated with extreme emotions and
aspects of physicality - fire, heat, love, passion, fiery sunsets,
blood, etc. Red is the most
dominent and captures our attention like no other color can.
Smart Gallery owners will
often display paintings containing red in their front windows - it
draws in potential customers. Artists will often display paintings
showing red forefront in their exhibitions.
Egyption artists were the first to introduce this color. They made
the pigment from Cinnabar (Vermillion) and Madder root.
Available in different qualities of intensity - light, medium and dark. It is opaque
and very strong. I suggest not mixing it with metallic colors, as
the mixture tends to blacken.
This is a transparent color - it's cool and dark. An artist often adds
this color to other reds to darken them. Alizarin is excellent for
glazing, as it is very transparent - it adds depth to your subject
without obscuring details.
If you wish to make a brilliant purple, this is the color to use.
Simply mix with Ultramarine Blue. To dull the purple, mix in a bit of
Paynes Grey. This hue is also known as Red Rose, Permanent Rose and
This is a warm earth red - sometimes used in landscapes. It's
an "orangy" red.
This pigment is expensive. It's bright and intense. The downfall
is that it is prone to turning black in sunlight, so I suggest not
using it at all.
This is offbeat and transparent. It's made from rose madder root and
is also known as Madder Lake and Madder Pink.
This is a cool red... leaning towards blue. Mixtures are cool
with this color.
Earth reds are often used in landscape painting - I use the umbers
and siennas quite often. The earth reds include Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Mars Red, Red Oxide, Red Earth, Red Ochre,
and Terra Rosa.
Remember that the color complementory to red (green) will intensify
it when placed side by side. Reds will appear to advance, while
greens and blues appears to receed. Do not use white to lighten reds,
unless you're attempting to create a pink mixture. Instead, use
yellows or ochres. White removes the vibrancy of a color (one
must develope color mixing skills). Adding white as your lightening
agent will result in a painting with a "washed out" look.
When darkening reds, don't use black! Use it's complimentory
color - green, or perhaps a neighboring color. Using black will
produce a muddy / dirty look.
Take some time to experiment. Try making mixtures to lighten and darken colors without destroying its vibrancy. If necessary, use the aid of a color wheel.
Use quality paints. Quality artist paints cost more, but it's worth
it! The pigments are more permanent and less likely to fade when
exposed to light.
| Optical Mixing
| Translucent Water
| Color Contrasts
Hue, Value, Intensity, Color Temperature
| Brush Care
| Book Excerpt
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