School Me Saturday: Experience RED

It’s time again for School Me Saturday, our informal art school of sorts, and today we’re learning all about Gamblin Artists’ Oil Color‘s range of red oil colors:

Along with black and white, red made up the palette of pre-historic times. The combination of iron and oxygen is not only responsible for the red that flows through us but also the red in the landscape – the latter of which exists on Gamblin palettes in the form of Burnt Sienna, Venetian Red and Indian Red.

“I chose Cadmium Red Light as our company color, after reading Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art, which declares that yellow advances, blue recedes, green is at rest, and red vibrates in place. I saw Cadmium Red Light as vibrating with tremendous potential, which is what I hope our colors do for artists – to give them the potential to be their best with high energy.” — Robert Gamblin 

From valuable earth colors, to bright and opaque Cadmium Red Light, to the cool transparency of Quinacridone, Gamblin Reds vary greatly in terms of their chroma, temperature, opacity and transparency. Below are all of Gamblin’s reds mapped out in Color Space:

Brown Pink (PR101, PR149), TRANSPARENT
Cadmium Red Light (PR108), OPAQUE
Cadmium Red Medium (PR108), OPAQUE
Cadmium Red Deep (PR108), OPAQUE
Indian Red (PR101), OPAQUE
Portland Warm Grey (PW6, PR101, PBk11), OPAQUE
Transparent Earth Red (PR101), TRANSPARENT
Venetian Red (PR101), OPAQUE

Alizarin Permanent (PR177), TRANSPARENT
Napthol Scarlet (PR188), SEMI-TRANSPARENT
Perylene Red (PR149), TRANSPARENT
Quinacridone Magenta (PR122), TRANSPARENT
Quinacridone Red (PV19), TRANSPARENT
Radiant Magenta (PV19, PW6), OPAQUE
Radiant Red (PV149, PW6), OPAQUE
Michael RichDaybreak (detail), oil on paper, 30″ x 22″.

Alizarin Permanent – closer to its namesake 

If we had to consolidate all of the feedback we’ve received over the years regarding Alizarin Permanent, it’s that painters miss the chroma of traditional Alizarin Crimson in tints and mixtures.

Gamblin Alizarin Permanent was a mixture of anthraquinone red (PR177) and a small amount of phthalo emerald (PG36) which was in the mix to deepen the mass tone of the color. It’s such a small amount and this pigment is so sensitive to the pressure of the mill, that we felt that AP was getting too dark, especially compared to traditional Alizarin Crimson. Alizarin Crimson has always been our target for the color of Alizarin Permanent.

So, we moved AP to a single pigment (PR177) formula. Not only does this make it closer to the masstone and transparency of Alizarin Crimson, but it is higher in chroma in tints and mixtures. If you want to match the darker formula, add a very small amount of either Chromatic Black or Phthalo Emerald. 

The Nature of Oil Painting by Gamblin

The Nature of Oil Painting by Gamblin Artists Oil Colors

“There is nothing more natural and enduring than oil painting. Oil painting has been the preeminent medium of personal expression for the whole 600 years since it was invented.”

Gamblin Artists Oil Colors, 1980 Oil Colors, and Mediums are on sale for 40% off during our Back To Whatever Super Sale: Winter Edition! Come get some because the sale ends February 8!

“Colors get the attention, but values do the work”

Portland Grey Value Studies by Ellie Wilson

It’s been raining a lot in Los Angeles, and our grey skies have inspired us, much like the grey skies of Portland inspired Robert Gamblin to formulate three Portland Greys – Light, Medium, and Deep. These three neutral greys were developed to help painters quickly adjust the value and chroma of colors. And until February 8th, Gamblin Artists Oil Colors are on sale for 40% off! That’s right – all the greys, and all the other colors, as well as mediums!  

Munsell Values

Portland Grey Deep, Medium, and Light are formulated at Munsell values 4, 6, and 8, respectively.

How are Portland neutral greys useful?

Out of the tube, these three values of grey can effectively be used to create preliminary value studies. Simplifying subject matter down to three values is an excellent way to organize complex compositions down to larger shapes, as illustrated in the work below by California artist Ellie Wilson.

Ibantik Lake, Ellie Wilson

Wilson explains, “The Portland Greys were used to create two close-up thumbnails in preparation for my painting Ibantik Lake. The Portland Greys are a key step for my process of creating a studio painting.” 

Color mixing with Portland neutral greys

In color mixing, these neutral greys give painters the ability to simultaneously adjust value and reduce the intensity of brighter colors for more natural color mixtures.

The inner circles of the color wheels below show the mixing effects of Portland Grey Light, Medium, and Deep on a palette of Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Orange, Alizarin Permanent, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, and Sap Green.

Another tip for creating harmony in color mixing: consider using Portland Grey Light in place of white for low-light painting situations.

Colored Greys: Portland Warm Grey and Portland Cool Grey

Gamblin expanded their range of Portland Greys to include Portland Warm Grey and Portland Cool Grey, which tilt toward red and blue, respectively. With Titanium Buff added as a yellow-grey, they created a triad of muted primary colors. From these three muted primaries, you can mix a range of muted secondaries.

Formulated to work together, these colors give painters a range of colored greys for nuanced color mixing. Having a complete range of primary and secondary colored greys can be incredibly valuable for figurative and landscape painting. The compressed value range of these colors is helpful in creating atmospheric effects in paintings.

Remember, paintings with the wildest of color schemes can be held together with a strong value structure. And as the adage goes, “colors gets the attention, but values do the work.”