Thursday, February 21, 2013

Painting Los Angeles In Earth Colors




It is not lost on painters capturing the exposed earth and rocky terrains that define the American West that the yellows, oranges, reds and browns on their palettes are created from the same colored material found in the landscape before them.

This newsletter takes a look at the rich history of the world's oldest group of colored material – earth pigments – and how artists have used these colors for over 40,000 years.


Gamblin's offering of earth colors can be categorized into four groups: natural iron oxides (Ochres, Siennas and Umbers), synthetic iron oxides ("Mars" colors), hydrated synthetic iron oxides (Transparent Earth colors) and modern earth colors (earth colors "boosted" in choma with modern organic pigments).

... The late 20th century has produced the first significant change in iron oxides with the invention of transparent Mars colors for the automobile industry. These colors are made by hydrating earth colors, a process by which opaque colors are made transparent (the same process that turns opaque Chromium Green Oxide into Viridian). As painters we have come full circle. The prized transparent earth reds of antiquity have returned to our palettes.

... A few year back, when Gamblin looked to expand their color offering, a fresh approach to earth colors was taken by boosting the chroma (intensity) of traditional earth colors with modern organic pigments. Gamblin Gold Ochre is a mixture of Yellow Ochre and Indian Yellow to fill an important place within Color Space. Gold Ochre has the appearance of Yellow Ochre in its thicker mass tone, and then the Indian Yellow takes over when it is applied as a thinner glaze, revealing a warm, glowing undertone. Gamblin Brown Pink is a mixture of Transparent Earth Red and Perylene Red to make a contemporary, lightfast replacement of this traditional, fugitive color made from berries.

Even with so many intense colors available today, painters still prize and value earth colors for their beauty, stability and connection to the rich heritage of painting.


Evolving Earth
Gamblin Studio Notes
Volume 20, November 2008




Thinking about painting Los Angeles,
I’m thinking about using earth colors
but earth colors mixed with high-tech pigments
that increase the basic intensity
while staying true to the earth color’s hue.

I’m not thinking, yet, about what to paint.

I’m not thinking, yet, about going there.

But those are things I’ll have to think about.

Thinking about painting Los Angeles,
I’m thinking about using earth colors
but earth colors mixed with high-tech pigments
that increase the basic intensity
while staying true to the earth color’s hue.

Some cave paintings are thousands of years old.

Some cave paintings depict animal hunts.

Some cave paintings depict the artist’s hands.

Thinking about painting Los Angeles,
I’m thinking about using earth colors
but earth colors mixed with high-tech pigments
that increase the basic intensity
while staying true to the earth color’s hue.

Painters have to look at the thing they paint.

I don’t think Los Angeles will notice.

But that is something I’m thinking about.



























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