Seeing red

July 9, 2010

Well, OK. Since I started documenting this current production series with the yellow level, I thought I’d continue with the red. Usually, when I trace the development of a painting through its different stages, the thread is the image. But this time the common denominator is color. So, its a different focus, a different challenge. Comparing chromatic qualities instead of developmental ones.

The Sint AnnaKerk piece is shifting towards purple now. This seems to be due to the combination received through the massive amounts of warm gray tints that I worked into the crimson lake (red) tint. The church was a lovely yellow but I decided it needed a darker more massive tonality in order to provide enough contrast and mass for the strong highlights on its right side. I used clear glaze to eliminate the red tint from most of the green areas. The composition does not have a lot of strong color statements, so it’s interesting to attempt to pull out whatever is possible.

The Predijkherenrij Grande has a strong value composition containing a lot of colors. The red level was a marathon session of 14 hours, working the paints in before the medium dried. Applying the tint, erasing the same from the highlights and some greens and then building up the masses with (mostly) semi-opague tints of warm gray and lead white. Strong reds, yellows and oranges were restated with emulsified pigment. It feels quite hot now, doesn’t it?

The concept for the Kruispoorte Grande was simple. Could I take the process-color studio painting technique out into plen air? The yellow level had worked out great. But the red level presented challenges because the composition itself doesn’t have a lot of strong reds in it. I found myself making choices between value (warm gray tints) or hue (yellow) statements: always keeping the overall composition in mind. Still, I’m not at all sure this will be a successful approach. Time will tell.

Stay tuned for the next episode…

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3 Responses to “Seeing red”

  1. Vonie Says:

    I know this is going to seem a really stupid question but how do you make a glaze and when is the time right to put it on and what do you put it on with/ Thanks. also you seem to know the results before you apply it is this based on the mix red with yellow you get orange theory. Thank you, Your painting is beautiful


    • Hi Vonie,

      Well, it’s not a stupid question because I did not explain it in that post. Basically I use a “medium” for my glazing. I put in on at the beginning of a painting session. The painting has to be thoroughly dry already. The medium is created from mixing 1 part stand oil to one part damar varnish to one part turpentine in a jar. I pour a small amount of that out into a cup and dip my brush into it and then into the pigment that I want to use – in this case Crimson Lake in order to dilute it. The brush is a bristle brush 2″ wide and flat. I spread/rub the medium all over the surface of the painting and after about a minute, I wipe it back off. This leaves a thin, tacky, tint-like varnish to the painting, which I then paint into wet on wet. Every color I introduce is affected by the red coloration of the medium, so I have to take that into account somehow.
      Yes, the color theory is very much based upon the primaries of red and yellow creating orange, but it is even more specific and relates to the pigments/colors used in process colors for commercial printing. Does that explain it a bit?


  2. […] of colored glaze when developing an image chromatically. For examples see: I am curious yellow, Seeing red, and I’d rather be blue. But in all previous attempts, I did not introduce tempera white […]


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