Painting with Gamblin Radiant Colors

Gamblin Radiant Colors: (clockwise from top left) Radiant Lemon, Radiant Yellow, Radiant Red, Radiant Magenta, Radiant Violet, Radiant Blue, Radiant Turquoise, Radiant Green

Vibrant. Subtle. Harmonious.

Gamblin Radiants work together as a system of accent colors, enabling artists to easily and predictably punch-up the color and intensity in their paintings. When used in mixtures, the Radiants allow painters to warm-up or cool-down colors without darkening them. Radiants can also neutralize colors into more nuanced mixtures.

Gamblin Radiant Colors are composed of eight intense tints – mixtures of pure color and white, at Value 7 on the Munsell System. In this page, we share how the Radiant Colors came to be and we showcase how painters utilize Radiant Colors in their work.

Development: a Radiant collaboration

Wolf Kahn’s Studio

Gamblin Radiant Colors were developed out of Robert Gamblin’s friendship with painter Wolf Kahn. Wolf’s landscapes are spoken in the language of pure color – the natural world is expressed through a vibrant palette and bold shapes. Wolf is just as fluent in working with soft pastels as he is in oil paint. As pastels are a “dry” medium, one would have sticks of pure pigment (Ultramarine Blue, for example) plus several tints of that pigment at different values. Wolf took the same approach to his oil color palette – incorporating pure colors from the tube alongside lighter tints. Robert worked with Wolf in developing the eight intense tints that became known as Radiants.

Wolf KahnA Brook Flows By It, oil on canvas 36″ x 52″

Modern Tints

Each of the Radiant Colors are tints of modern organic pigments. The one exception is Radiant Blue, which is a tint of Ultramarine. Modern organic pigments retain their intensity in tints in mixtures, which is the reason the Radiant Colors maintain such a high chroma at their light values. It’s also worth noting that these modern organic pigments are transparent in nature, yet the Radiant Colors are all opaque, due to the addition of titanium white in their formulas.

Radiant White: the brightest of whites

Gamblin Radiant White

Gamblin Radiant White is pure titanium dioxide bound in safflower oil. Radiant White is the brightest white oil color Gamblin makes. Safflower is paler than linseed oil which means that Radiant White is not only brighter, but it is more neutral in temperature compared to linseed oil-bound whites. With its high load of titanium dioxide, Radiant White reflects back 97% of the light that falls on it.

Without modification, Radiant White is Gamblin’s most brushable white – meaning it has the least amount of resistance under the brush or painting knife. Radiant White is also slower drying than other whites, making it useful for painters who wish to work wet into wet or otherwise desire more open time.

Techniques for painting with Radiant Colors

Lori Putnam

Colored whites

Radiant Turquoise, Radiant Violet, and Radiant Blue have become my first “go-to” colors for lightening values when cooler colors are needed. Rather than heading straight for my Titanium White, these colors serve me better because all three are cool, very light, and intense and they help with neutralizing colors. For example, if I am trying to neutralize Napthol Red and do not want a dark, warmer color (as I would get if mixed with its complement, Green), I add Radiant Turquoise. The result is a rich, cooler, mid-value color.

Napthol Red mixed with Radiant Turquoise:

Similarly, I can get a more natural violet by mixing Radiant Blue with my Napthol.

Napthol Red mixed with Radiant Blue:

Mixing with Radiant Turquoise vs. Titanium White:

By lightening Quinacridone Violet with Radiant Turquoise instead of Titanium White, I will get more nuanced color mixing. The mixture of Quinacridone Violet and Radiant Turquoise passes through the blue section of the color wheel, yielding beautifully subtle mid-value blues. When Quinacridone Violet is mixed with straight white, the corresponding tints remain in violet hue family.

Here I use mixtures of Quinacridone Violet and Radiant Turquoise in this painting of snow on a sunny day:

Lori PutnamBlurred Lines, oil on linen, 28″ x 36″

Warm and cool Radiant mixtures

Try this: mix Cadmium Orange with Radiant Turquoise in one pile and with Radiant Violet in another. These two greys will be the same value, but one will appear cooler and the other warmer. When placed next to one another in the distant landscape, the beauty of a late afternoon mountain comes to life.

Anna Rose Bain

More than Radiant

When I started experimenting with Gamblin’s line of Radiant colors, I expected they would end up in the “occasional use” drawer. To my surprise, I found myself employing them in nearly every painting—especially figurative works—with Radiant Green and Radiant Turquoise claiming permanent spots on my palette. Some of the others (like Radiant Red and Violet) join the party almost as often. Whenever I teach or give a portrait demo, the first thing people ask me about are “those bright colors” on my palette and how to use them.

I find Radiant Green and Radiant Turquoise particularly useful in adjusting the hue and/or temperature within a painting, while maintaining light values. Others in the Radiant line, such as Radiant Violet and Radiant Red, are almost impossible to substitute. The Radiant Violet is very cold in color temperature. I’ve seen nothing else like it on the market. Depending on the nature of the light source, Radiant Violet and/or Radiant Red are often the perfect choice for painting the brightest highlights on a model without having to default to titanium white.

In this passage of a recent alla prima portrait (below), you can see a subtle light blue along the temple area and around the eye socket. In those areas where there is a plane change, gradually turning away from the light, the color becomes cooler, but not necessarily darker. This was a perfect opportunity to use Radiant Turquoise.

Anna Rose BainKat Profile

In addition to creating luscious skin tones, the Radiant line is great for nailing local color. The little boy in this portrait (below) was wearing a white and sea-green shirt, and sat outdoors on an overcast day (so cool light). Instead of mixing white with Phthalo or some other darker color, I was able to use Radiant Green almost straight out of the tube for that shirt. Additionally, you can see passages in his face and throughout the painting (leaves, stone steps, etc.) where I mixed the green and turquoise in, creating an overall harmony for the piece.

Anna Rose BainSimon
Anna Rose BainSimon (detail)

In this portrait of Colquitt (below), I used Radiant Violet all over the background (in front of a light transparent wash of ivory black), and for the bold highlight in the middle of his forehead.

Anna Rose BainColquitt

Radiant colors are invaluable for cooling down a color mixture without getting a darker value and for obtaining bright highlight or local colors without having to use a ton of white.  Whether or not you are painting from life, the Radiant colors are wonderful shortcuts for all of your “high key” needs.

Featured artists and contributors:

Wolf Kahn

Lori Putnam

Anna Rose Bain

The Mind of Watercolor w/Steve Mitchell

Watercolor can be one of the simplest mediums to use, but it does seem to have a mind of its own at times, giving it the reputation of being fussy and unforgiving to work with. In this four part workshop Steve Mitchell gets into the mind of watercolor and see what makes it tick. Success with watercolor depends greatly on discovering and anticipating how it reacts in real painting situations.

Pendulum Pours w/GOLDEN Color Pouring Medium Matte & Gloss

GOLDEN Acrylic Colors – Pendulum Pours w/Color Pouring Medium Matte & Gloss

Here’s a new way to do acrylic pours – with a pendulum! We are most definitely going to try this at home! GOLDEN Color Pouring Medium Matte (CPM Matte) and Color Pouring Medium Gloss (CPM Gloss) are new and exciting products for 2019. Have you tried doing an acrylic pour yet? So much fun. Unlike most acrylic mediums that develop an initial “skin” when drying, this medium avoids skinning over and is resistant to “crazing”. This process also allows for air bubbles and tool marks to readily disappear.

When it comes to acrylic pouring, craze-resistance is mucho important and muy practical – it allows more freedom while painting. You do like freedom, don’t you? In any case, CPM Matte and CPM Gloss levels well, creating smooth, uniform paint layers. Blend the medium with Heavy Body, Fluid, or High Flow Acrylics as desired, although we recommend starting with relatively low levels of paint (around 10% color) until you gain some experience with the product and its mannerisms. Then you can, and should, go crazy.

Celebrate World Watercolor Month: Sketching & Journaling w/Gay Kraeger

Capturing your world through art in a journal is a low-tech, highly rewarding experience, but you don’t need us to tell you that. In her friendly and conversational video workshop, Gay Kraeger guides you through learning watercolor one step at a time: the basics, quick sketches, page design, lettering, and watercolor techniques needed to create illustrations of your life in the form of an art journal.

These are Drying Times

Check out this video where Richard and Darin of R&F Handmade Paints talk about things that affect the drying rates of R&F Pigment Sticks. Probably one of the most frequently asked questions we get about Pigment Sticks is, how long they take to dry compared to oil paint out of a tube. Don’t forget that R&F Pigment Sticks are ON SALE at 15% OFF during our MOVING SALE.

The Importance of Blue: Artist Pablo Ruben

Daniel Smith presents watercolor artist Pablo Ruben and “The Importance of Blue”

Undoubtedly blue is the essential color in my palette and I have up to six spaces reserved in my usual work zone for them. My works are characterized by cold and grayish ranges, so the blues are completely irreplaceable. The blues that I use the most are: Indigo, Indanthrone Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue Chromium, Lavender, and Cobalt Teal Blue.

Diagram of the colors used for “Fuente de Castellar”

When mixed with different earth tones (Burnt SiennaBurnt UmberSepia, etc.) I get infinite ranges of grays for all types of planes (background, middle ground and foreground). Mixed with a single yellow, I get a great variety of greens, as I do not usually have greens on my palette.

Pablo Ruben’s DANIEL SMITH Watercolor mixes for making grays

In the reference work “Fuente de Castellar” (Castellar Fountain) the blue is the essential protagonist of the work since the source is the main element of the work. To achieve the main gradient, three blues interlaced and fused with the proper density are necessary to produce the depth effect.

“Fuente de Castellar” by Pablo Rubén

Pablo Rubén has been painting since he was a child, and the last 18 years working as a professional artist. President of the International Watercolor Society of Spain, he has joined in many of the most important watercolor Biennials all around the World: China, Korea, Thailand, India, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Italy and has been awarded in International competitions such as American Watercolor Society, San Diego Watercolor Society, Slovenia International Watercolor Society.  He is a passionate artist of “Plein Air” work and has more than 400 awards in this kind of contests in Spain and France. As a watercolor instructor he has given workshops in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Russia, Canada, USA, Brazil, and Mexico; being very appreciated as an art teacher. An avid traveler, urban scapes and all sorts of water reflections are the main subjects in his work, playing with aerial points of view to make original compositions. 

Pablo Rubén paintings demonstrating the Importance of Blue

“Pilar de la Horadada” by Pablo Rubén
“Alovera” by Pablo Rubén
“Membrilla” by Pablo Rubén
“Blue Bridge” by Pablo Rubén

R&F Pigment Stick Video Tutorial w/ Charles Forsberg

R&F Pigment Sticks Video Tutorial with Charles Fosberg

Charles Forsberg demonstrates how Pigment Sticks by R&F Handmade Paints are both a drawing and painting medium like no one else. He frequently returns to drawing, forcefully striking marks into the heavily manipulated buttery paint, then tearing it apart, alternating in a push-pull sequence of drawing and smearing, scraping back, revealing previous drawing marks, and piling what he has scraped up into thick sculptural mounds.

Painting becomes an amazing and unceasing gestural exercise over many hours, as Forsberg turns the formless ooze he started with into a powerful structure of shapes and sharply accented marks. www.charlesforsberg.com/

As part of our MOVING SALE, R&F Pigment Sticks are ON SALE at 15% OFF, including all R&F Pigment Stick Sets. The 6-color sets come packaged in a 6½” × 7½” cradled Ampersand Gessobord with six (6) 38ml pigment sticks. The 12-color set coms in a 8″ × 12″ Ampersand Gessobord with twelve (12) 38ml pigment sticks.

Experience Green with Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors

Douglas FryerHighway Farm (top), Patch of Sunlight (bottom left), Edge of an English Village (bottom right). http://douglasfryer.blogspot.com/

An Abundance of Green
At risk of stating the obvious, there is a lot of green in the world.

This is true not only in nature, but in science. Residing in the middle of the spectrum of visible light, the human eye most readily sees green more than any other color. With great abundance, comes great variety. Our task as painters to navigate this broad color family comes with many challenges and possibilities – as greens vary drastically in regards to temperature and intensity.

The color green can put our eyes (and minds) at rest. It is the world-wide color of environmental consciousness. Green is a primary of light (additive color-mixing), but not of pigments (subtractive color-mixing).

Navigating Green
We’ve heard from painters over the years that green is a challenging color family to mix within. It is. Not because we don’t have greens readily available from tubes, but because there is just so much darn green to navigate. We are so closely tied to nature, it can be a challenge to our sensibilities to incorporate greens of great intensity into our color palettes and paintings.

Let’s dive in and explore where the greens in the Gamblin palette fit into Color Space:

Mineral Greens
Cadmium Chartreuse (PY35, PG36)  OPAQUE
Cadmium Green (PY35, PG18)  OPAQUE
Olive Green (PBr7, PY75, PB29) SEMI-TRANSPARENT
Terre Verte (PY43, PG18, PBk9) TRANSPARENT
Chromium Oxide Green (PG17)  OPAQUE
Cobalt Green (PG19)  SEMI-TRANSPARENT
Viridian (PG18)  TRANSPARENT
Modern Greens
Green Gold (PY129) TRANSPARENT
Sap Green (PB15:2, PY83) TRANSPARENT
Permanent Green Light (PY74, PG7) SEMI-TRANSPARENT
Phthalo Emerald (PG36) TRANSPARENT
Emerald Green (PG36, PW6, PY74)  SEMI-TRANSPARENT
Phthalo Green (PG7) TRANSPARENT
Radiant Green (PG36, PY3, PW6) OPAQUE
Phthalo Turquoise (PB15:2, PG7) TRANSPARENT

Note that we’ve included Cadmium Chartreuse and Phthalo Turquoise in this mapping, as they sit on the edge of green and yellow, and green and blue, respectively.

Mineral Greens and the Phthalo Boost
Mineral green pigments, such as Viridian, Cobalt Green and Chromium Green Oxide beautifully grey down in their tints and mixtures making them useful when depicting muted greens of the natural world.

To fully capture the diversity of this hue family, greens with greater chroma may be necessary. Permanent Green Light and Emerald Green are ready to go for this. The cool, blue-leaning Phthalo Green and the warmer Phthalo Emerald are both deep from the tube, yet beautifully vibrant in their transparency and tints. You don’t have to use phthalo pigments long before appreciating their high tinting-strength. Another key characteristic of this family of these modern organic pigments is their intensity in their tints and mixtures. Thus, Phthalo Green and Phthalo Emerald are incredibly useful in boosting the chroma of muted greens and pushing the envelope on incorporating “unworldly” greens into our painting.

Mixing Greens

Because green is a secondary color, many painter choose to mix all of their greens. The possibilities are endless. For simplicity’s sake, the examples below are limited to two yellows (Cadmium Lemon and Indian Yellow) and two blues (Cobalt Teal and Ultramarine Blue).

A six-color, “split primary” palette is one popular approach in choosing and organizing one’s color palette. Essentially, it utilizes a warm and cool for each primary. With the mixing of pigments (subtractive color mixing), there will always be some amount of intensity of color that is lost when two colors are blended together. The mixture is absorbing (subtracting) more of the spectrum of visible light, compared to each of the original colors in the mixture. However, the closer any two colors are on the perimeter of the color wheel, the least amount of intensity will be lost. The Cadmium Lemon and Cobalt Teal are both on the green side of their respective color families. Therefore, the resulting mixture will yield the mixed greens with the highest chroma. Cadmium Lemon and Cobalt Teal are also opaque, so their mixtures reflect more light off the surface and result in greens of lighter value (brightness).

Colors that live farther apart on the perimeter of the color wheel lose more intensity when mixed together.  Indian Yellow and Ultramarine Blue is a good example.  Each have a red bias (green’s complement), so their mixture will result in a green closer to the neutral center of the color wheel. Indian Yellow and Ultramarine Blue are also transparent in nature, trapping more light within the paint layer and creating a deeper value.

Positioned a moderate distance from each other, mixtures of Cadmium Lemon and Ultramarine Blue, as well as Cobalt Teal and Indian Yellow, predictably fill out the middle of the green hue family- neither the brightest nor the dullest of greens.

“The secret of mixing greens is an understanding of color temperature and value. Every tone and hue must relate to adjacent tones and hues. I prefer to have a large number of colors on my palette, representing numerous points on the color wheel. This allows me greater variety of temperature and saturation in my mixed colors (whether they are light values or dark values) and more options for toning a color if I want to shift or neutralize it. This is especially true for greens. Allowing subtle transitions of warm to cool, dark to light within a passage can make a beautiful statement. Setting a complement like a red, orange, purple or pink next to, or within greens can make all the difference. Additionally, the process of glazing to achieve different greens is important to me.  Sometimes I will directly paint a lighter, warmer, relatively opaque green knowing that at a future point I will glaze a darker, cooler, transparent green (or other transparent color) over it. The two work together to make a new color you can’t get any other way.”
–   Douglas Fryer

Douglas FryerMill Near Sheepscombehttp://douglasfryer.blogspot.com/

DIY Embossing Magic with Excel Blades

Check out this video from Excel Blades where Sam Martin shows you how to emboss vinyl with the Excel Burnisher Set. Not only can you emboss vinyl, but you can also use this stylus on materials like leather, clay, foil, fondant, etc.  

Materials

Process

1.       Grab your tape and tape your artwork you’d like to emboss to the Bristol paper.

2.       Grab your K18 and cut the artwork out; make sure to only cut-out what you want to emboss.

3.       Poke out the cut-out parts of your artwork.

4.       Take off the artwork you taped to the Bristol paper.

5.       Grab your vinyl and place it over the cut-out; make sure the back of the vinyl is facing you.

6.       Grab your stylus and start tracing the cut-out; change out the tips as you emboss to enhance the overall look.

7.       You can use the ball tip to trace the artwork.

8.       Use the spoon tip to emboss larger areas.

9.       Use the needle point tip to emboss the outline of the artwork to enhance the edges.

10.   Fin.

Watercolor Mixing Charts: How to Make Them and Why

Daniel Smith Color Mixing Charts How to Make Them and Why

Why take the time to make watercolor mixing charts? 

Color Mixing Charts (or grids) are terrific tools for learning, for color referencing, an excellent way to understand your DANIEL SMITH Extra-Fine Watercolors, and see some of the range of colors that can be mixed.  For our example, we’re making a color mixing chart or grid with the 6 colors from the DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set.  

DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set with color mixing chart

As a Learning Tool

When you are mixing colors for your chart, you are learning what colors can be made with each color mixed with every other color on your chart, and get an idea of the color range that can be mixed. Without the opportunity to explore (play!) and see what your colors can do with one another, you may never discover some gorgeous color mixes! You can make glazing color charts, mix colors on your chart (wet into wet) or as we’re doing for this article, mixing them on a plate or palette then painting them onto our Mixing Chart. 

While this might seem like a chore to do, it is actually really interesting to see what your colors can do, it is color swatching with a purpose!  We generally try to vary the how the watercolors are painted for each box. For example, a little heavier application on the lower right, lighter at the upper left to show more variation for each color and mixed color in the boxes. Painting them that way allows you to see some of the colors’ properties like transparency and granulation. Every color mixing chart you paint becomes a helpful reference tool, so be sure to keep them and make new ones when you add more watercolors!

DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set mixing chart

How the Mixing Chart is organized

The colors are laid out chromatically in both the horizontal rows and vertical columns as shown in the example below for the DANIEL SMITH Colors of Inspiration Watercolor Half Pan Set.

WisteriaLavenderRose of UltramarineMoonglowShadow Violet and Serpentine Genuine

Photo 1. Colors of Inspiration painted out on labeled mixing chart.

Photo 1. After transferring the lines from the downloadable pdf. (link further below) label your colors as in photo 1., and paint out in the order shown in Photos 1 & 2.

Photo 2. Painting each of the six colors, deeper colors on vertical columns, mid tone on the horizontal rows and light wash on the diagonal.

Photo 2

  • Paint the first vertical column with your colors, we used less water for deeper colors.
  • Paint in the first horizontal row with the six colors, here we did a mid-tone wash.
  • The main diagonal, we painted with a light wash.  
  • Using different ratios of water allows you to see a range of each main color, deep, mid and light. 
Photo 3. Color mixing begins with the Wisteria vertical column and horizontal row.

Photo 3. Now the color mixing begins! 

  • Working by columns painting both down the column and across a row at a time, you can begin mixing your first color in column 1, Wisteria.
  • Mixing Wisteria with Lavender, in a slightly larger portion of Wisteria to Lavender, paint that mix in the box below the light Wisteriawash (that is the Wisteria column) next to the Lavender box on the left. 
  • Take that same mix of Wisteria/Lavender and add more Lavender and paint that mix in the second column just below the Lavenderbox (that is the Lavender column) in the Wisteria row. 
  • Repeat these steps for the remaining 4 colors as shown in the following photos.  
Photo 4. Lavender column and row.

Photo 4. Lavender column and row.

Photo 5. Rose of Ultramarine column and row.

Photo 5. Rose of Ultramarine column and row.

Photo 6. Moonglow column and row.

Photo 6. Moonglow column and row.

Photo 7. Shadow Violet and Serpentine Genuine columns and rows

Photo 7Shadow Violet and Serpentine Genuine columns and rows.

As you paint your way down each column and across each row, it becomes faster and faster until your fifth color, Shadow Violet, only has 2 boxes, and the sixth color, in this case, Serpentine Genuine is finished when you finish the fifth color!

Adding extra colors 

Gray Titanium Mixing Grid with Essentials Watercolor Set.

When you add new colors, it’s a good idea to mix them with your existing palette of colors like the example above, mixing our new Gray Titanium with our 6 color Essentials Watercolor Set.  For this, we used our 6 color mixing chart template, and added a 7th row and 7th column to accommodate Gray Titanium as the 7th color. 

We also wanted to see how colors mixed with the Essentials Set colors look, for example, New Gamboge mixed with Quinacridone Rose, an orange, looks when mixed with Gray Titanium

  • New Gamboge mixed with Quinacridone Rose – 4th box down in the Quinacridone Rose column.
  • New Gamboge mixed with Quinacridone Rose then mixed with Gray Titanium – 5th box down in the New Gamboge column. 
  • Note, all the colors below the diagonal wash colors are mixed with Gray Titanium
  • Those boxes with the 3rd color, Gray Titanium, mixed into the 2-color mix are noted with (plus GT) in the boxes in the 7 color diagram below on the right. 
6 color template and 7 color diagram, adding in Gray Titanium

You can download the 6 color mixing chart template HERE  

The 6 color template was designed to be printed on 8.5 x 11 inch standard copy paper, you can trace or transfer the lines onto 140 lb. watercolor paper, we cut the watercolor paper down to 8 x 12 inches so we would have a wider border.    

Adding more columns and rows is easy, just print out more 6 color templates, cut them up and tape the extra columns and rows you need, then transfer to your watercolor paper.

Color Mixing Chart for the 15 color Ultimate Mixing Watercolor Half Pan Set.

We used the 6 color template as a guide when we did our 15 color DANIEL SMITH Ultimate Mixing Half Pan Watercolor Set Mixing Chart, so you can modify the basic template to accommodate larger collections of colors as well. 

As a Color Reference  

Once completed, your color mixing chart becomes a wonderful color guide to reference when needed. Painting charts like these are also great exercises when inspiration is low and can help stir your creative juices when you discover beautiful new colors. 

Have fun painting your DANIEL SMITH Extra-Fine Watercolors Mixing Charts!

Painting out the Colors of Inspiration Color Mixing Chart.