Sunday, December 18

Red and Green

Several Mixes of Red and Green
Red and green is a very popular color combination in many parts of the world this time of year. Depending on which online site you visit, you get a variety of reasons about the origins of the popularity of these colors. Whatever the reasons, it's clear that over the centuries red and green have come to symbolize a season.

For the artist, however, the combination of red and green can have a different meaning, and not just at this time of year.

For the painter it’s not just the two colors per se, but rather the combination of the two when mixed together.

Because they are opposite each other on the color wheel (with green being, of course, a mixture of blue and yellow), the two colors are considered complementary, which is why together they make a pleasing combination to the eye.

Perhaps even more importantly for the painter, red and green can be mixed to make many “darks” from which the painter can choose, depending on which red and which green is mixed. The number of darks available is equal to the vast number of possible combinations of reds and greens (not exponential but a fairly large number anyway).

Depending on which red and green are chosen, the combination can be a rich, warm dark or a steely, cool dark.  The redder the mixture, the warmer the color will be, and the greener (bluer really) the mixture, the cooler.

In addition, rather than using a tube black, I prefer mixing red and green to produce the warm or cool black needed for your painting. Preferably the black would be mixed from the same red, blue, and yellow in your palette to provide greater harmony in your painting.

Today’s image shows a few examples of the darks you can achieve just by mixing four different reds and greens. With just these four alone, you could also produce 12 additional darks. From top to bottom, they are:

Alizarin Crimson + Viridian

Cadmium Red Medium + Pthalo Green

Carmine + Chromium Oxide Green

Mars Violet + Hookers Green

 Happy Red and Green Painting!

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