Do pigment types make a difference?
If you look at the beginning of my page you will see two watercolors. The top piece is entitled Young Warrior. It was painted on 300lb. Lana cold press watercolor paper. The image measures approximately 19″ x 23″, This piece was painted largely with quinacridone colors. American Journey Indian Yellow, Copper Kettle, Pomegranate, Old Sienna, as well as Winsor Violet and Winsor blue to be precise. Painting number 2 is entitled Dragging Canoe*. It was painted on 300 lb.cold press Lana watercolor paper as well and measures approximately 24″ x 18″. As you examine the two pieces you will see a difference in appearance of color. There are several reasons for that difference. As stated Young Warrior was painted using quinacridone colors almost exclusively. Dragging Canoe was painted using pigments like new gamboge, winsor red and winsor blue. When you compare the two pieces there is a definite difference. Certainly the age of the subjects, the lighting and setting are different. The two pieces were painted several years apart. Considering all that, it is logical that there would be differences. Now look a little closer. The Young Warrior’s color is a bit lighter and perhaps a bit brighter. The older man is portrayed with colors that seem to have more body. Perhaps the proper terminology is to suggest that the first painting has a higher key in its color range. Considering that there was a physical age difference I think the switch in pigment types was helpful. The younger man appears to be almost innocent, somewhat fresher than the older warrior who had experienced a lot more.
Both paintings are transparent with no opaque colors. Both paintings were glazed in sequence over a fairly well defined under painting. Dragging Canoe has a blue under painting, Young Warrior has a lot of violet,. One piece appears to have more substance to its color. At least, I get that feel as I look at them. In this comparison I am trying to point out that your choice of pigment types can make a difference in the mood and effect of your painting.
Some readers who scan pictures and read less have often assumed that I use a large number of colors in a painting. Not true. While it is true that I have a large reserve of paints, I learned long ago that too many colors at one time can spoil the effect. Personally I seek harmony in my work and I love working with a limited palette. Working with complements as well as analogous color schemes have their place and can produce incredible results . Strive to learn about color and its relationship to one another. Color is like a community. We all know individuals who behave in a different manner depending upon their neighbors or close associates. Well, color behaves in the same way. Explore. Try different combinations and see what happens. Sure, you win a few and you may lose quite a few but the destination is well worth the journey.
* Dragging Canoe is featured Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Volume I by Dr, Don Rankin available at www.createspace.com/3657628