[Scriptoris] MIxing hues-was: questions on colour

Elaine Crittenden letebts at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 9 06:19:44 PST 2005

The cheapest way would be to buy a beginner's set and fill in the gaps with
separate tubes purchased additionally. Don't forget to pick up some
distilled water for adding to the colors and for rinsing your brushes. I am
not saying that to be an artistic snob: the city water has God-knows-what
chemicals added to it, which might influence the long-term effect of your
paint's hue.

I use mostly Winsor-Newton and oddball brands I have picked up through the
years, including some imported grind-it-yourself Japanese sumi colors.

I would suggest that to have a complete choice you have a neutral, a warm
and a cool version of each color.

For black, you could go to Jet Black for the neutral, Ivory Black for the
warm, and Lamp Black for the cool.

Your whites should be those for mixing (Zinc White) and those for single
usage (Permanent White--can reduce the permanency of other colors it may be
mixed with).

For red, you can use Cadmium Red Medium or Spectrum Red for the neutral,
Scarlet or Cadmium Red Light for the warm, and Alizarin Crimson for the

And so on and so forth.

Keep in mind you can get off-tinged colors such as French Ultramarine, which
is a more purple version of Ultramarine, and that will influence your
The following is a post I sent to the list called "Scribes"
<scribes at castle.org>.

I have been a traditional (transparent) watercolorist in the modern world
since the early sixties, so have plenty experience with mixing colors. My
two farthings' worth:

You have to know if your hue leans to one side or another. For example,
is your red a clear red or does it have a tendency to go orangy (scarlet) as
opposed to bluish (alizarine crimson)? Even Ultramarine can have a purply
tinge if you are using French Ultramarine. Those side tones can really
influence the mixing's outcome.

If you mix red, yellow and blue, you get "mud." What if you mix an orangy
red with a purply blue? You are not only mixing red and blue, you are adding
tinges of orange and purple, which are mixtures themselves, of course.

Mixing yellow with black results in various olives, did you know, depending
on which yellow and which black?

We professional watercolorists used to get together for on site painting and
laugh about using "mother color" (our brown rinse water) to tone down colors
that had too much intensity (were too "bright"). So, you see, "mud" *does*
have a purpose and doesn't need to send you into an artistic depression!

Rebecca's suggestion as to gradually changing Color One by adding bits of
Color Two is right on the money. It works especially well if you are trying
to get tints of white mixed with a strong dye color such as Alizarin Crimson
or Winsor Blue or Winsor Green (phthlocyanine colors). Only a tiny dab can
"infect" the white.

Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna, depending on the proportions will give you a
warm black (my preference for cream papers) or a cool black (my preference
for brightwhite papers). You can, by changing the ratio of one to the other,
influence which you want. Talk about having a sense of control!!

You might also want to experiment with correcting the goal color from mixing
One and Two with a third color, especially if it is a particular brown,
anyway. One recent modern calligraphy commission that wanted a chocolatey
brown had me mixing one drop of a strange yellow with one drop of a neutral
black with 16 drops of a pre-mixed off-brown to match the printer's acrylic
ink on the return address. The goal color really *needed* that one drop of
oddball yellow!

Also, keep a record of your "recipe"--I had to mix that recipe from time to
time to get the ink color for over 200 envelopes...and some that showed up
at the last minute a couple of weeks later...This is where the ringbinder I
am so famouw for nagging people to accumulate comes in. Mine's a

Guess I have run over the two farthing limit. Here's an overdue extra two
farthings for the above.

HL Lete Bithespring

>From: Hillary Greenslade <hillaryrg at yahoo.com>
>To: "Scribes within Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <scriptoris at ansteorra.org>
>Subject: Re: [Scriptoris] questions on colour
>Date: Tue THOct 18,2005,2:28 PM

> --- nweders at mail.utexas.edu wrote:
>> If I were to go to the store and get tubes of paint
>> what brand of paint, type and color would I get?
>> I'm asking for is everyone's favorite.
>> Clare
> I feel like this is somewhat a trick question, since you've been a scribe
> for a long, long time...
> hum!
> These are the colors I've been taught are the suggested standards for
> Ansteorran scrolls.  Other
> paints can be added or substitued as the artisan prefers, but this is the
> list to get started
> with, basically primary colors. Colors wanted in between these basic colors
> are mixed, such as
> orange.
> The standard paint preferred in Ansteorra is Gouache, with Windsor-Newton
> the preferred brand.
> Some will use acrylics if they have them. Watercolors tend to fade over
> time, so are not
> recommended.
> Windsor-Newton Designers Gouache:
> Permanent White - for white line work
> Zinc White      - for mixing with other colors
> Ivory Black
> Spectrum Red
> Golden Yellow   - a solid yellow, good as an Ansteorra yellow
> Mistletoe Green - often needs mixing with a bit of zinc white, else can be
> Ultramarine Blue- Navy blue
> Cobalt Blue or Azure Blue - light blue
> Raw Umber       - brown
> Purples are very suspect, here are some suggestions:
> Parma Violet    - reddish purple
> Spectrum Violet - bluish purple
> For gold, I prefer:
> Holbein Designer Gouache, Pearl Gold or Brilliant Gold
> Or
> Schmincke Gouache, Gold Pearl.
> Cheers, Hillary Greenslade
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