OK, let’s recap. In my first post on color, I concluded that the standard three-primary color wheel is not useful for learning about using and mixing color. In the second post, I briefly reviewed the Munsell color system as a means for describing color and for identifying visual complements. In the third post, I talked about the difficulty of developing a simple system that could adequately provide a method for artists to mix color.
Getting the Value Right
Overall Value Range
On the dark side as well, the blackest black on your palette reflects a lot more light than a really dark shadow does. So there are times when you need to compress the lights in order to show a full range of contrasts in the shadows. Of the painting media, by the way, oil paint has the widest value range, particularly in terms of really dark darks. So it’s easier to create believable three-dimensional form with oil paint, and that’s one reason why it’s so popular.
Light and Shadow
White and Black
So, if we need to be careful with white for lightening and if black is of limited use in making colors darker, how do we manage value? Carefully.
It is also the case that, for many cooler colors like blues and violets, mixing with a small amount of white will increase the chroma. For example, in oil paint, ultramarine blue with a bit of white added is more chromatic than plain ultramarine. But adding a lot of white decreases the chroma. Warmer colors are tend to be at their maximum chroma straight out of the tube.
The easiest overall mixing situation is when you are trying to reduce chroma at the same time you are adjusting value. If the color has a mixing complement, then, typically, that color will reduce value and chroma at the same time.