Sunday, August 26, 2012

Materials Selections

Having been trained as an architect, colors and textures of materials are very important.  Represented colors and textures in catalogs, photographs or computer screens give a general idea. To actually see the product live it is necessary to get a sample of the real thing or visit a building which uses that material.  The technical reproduction of reality is not reality.

I have file folders and 9" x 12" notebooks filled with samples of colors, printed and real as well as a varieties of papers and canvases for testing and recording. shows a color study of oil paints made for my observation of the real thing.  Below is the color sheet by Gamblin showing these colors.  The printed page is an idea of the colors but my sample board is the real thing.  Note: My photograph of the color study board is no better the Gamblin's printed brochure.  You must really see it live.
This image is a computer representation of a printing press image representing the real colors.

At one time during 2000 to 2002, Winsor & Newton sent actual painted samples of watercolors and gouache to see the real colors on real paper.  Luma also sent real samples of their liquid watercolor. You can ask.
When you see the real thing you will notice the difference.
The resolution of the computer screen just cannot do it.

 Pastels are the same if you ask the right vendor.  Dakota Pastels will send you all of the colors of a brand that they carry (very many) for a small fee.  I make my own samples of pastels that I use as the paper labels eventually come off or are removed to use the last nib of color.  Other brands carry a small embossed number on the stick. I prefer to have real samples so that I can buy items by the individual piece and not an entire set. 
My pastel color samples of real pastels are on the left, Dakota on the right

Getting real samples is not very difficult.  I sent Dick Blick a note asking for samples of Canson Mi-Teinte paper colors.  They sent a pack of 3" x 4" samples of all of the colors with labels on each one.  I use it to this day to order and get the correct color.   Another good place is New York Central Art Supply for actual samples of paper and canvas snips.  They carry a vast number of papers and will also will identify a sample of paper or canvas for you if they carry it, and they usually do.  Learning about the various materials will help for working on a particular project.
Test pieces of different makes and types of paper with various media samples.
I have about 20 paper samples like this.
I also like to see the effects of various colors on different background colored papers.  This is especial good for skin tones contrasts and brilliant flowers.
Similar pastel colors on various background colors.
Using a darker background helps for the bright sunlight illumination on the flowers below.  Note that all of the pastel values are either lighter or darker that the background value.
Prince Maximilian Sunflower from our garden
Experimenting with various materials will open new ideas and means of expression for your work.

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