I aim atproviding a brief review on the information in connection with the technologyof painting with regard to spectrum, and more specifically to colour formation,as well as writing about the basics of painting techniques. 1.1 Colourformation”Nobodycan be taught to paint from a book as artistic work is a spiritual processwhich alters the application of techniques for each individual.
Guidance can beprovided only in terms of the working process which prevents beginners frompossible blunders.” 4 Withinthe complexity of imaging and the language of painting, the technique of colourformation is placed where the “How was it painted/how would you paint it?”questions can be answered. From colour formation techniques point of view,approach to colours concerns practical aspects of the painting creativeprocess: how particular colour states can be painted and what factors determinethat. The answers to these questions donot lead to the specification of objects or the concepts relating to them, butto the visual description of experiences that have visual effects as well. Kandinsky points out theinteraction between the phenomena that can be perceived and received by oursensory organs – in my opinion – it is not only painters who are not allowed torefuse to experience the visible and invisible reality and recognize thediversity of our experiences. By using colours, painters visualize; as apainter, the painting act is crucially important and indispensable, as well as the study of colours and forms available inthe nature to complete the creative process, the acquisition of using the visual language, and last but notleast, familiarity with paintingmaterials and techniques. If during our painting studies, we manage tomaster the crafts, we will use the visual language and painting materialswithout effort when – during painting – the mechanisms of the creative processpossibly direct our attention to other things and the practical and technicalquestions of realization may be placed only on the periphery of ourconcentration on the picture. It is not only about familiarity and knowledgebut exactly about what Matisse says: “I cannot make a difference between myemotions relating to life and their ways of communication.
“2 When studying thepractical aspects of the “way of communication” in connection with Painting andArt, we always have to remember what it actually relates to. In an interviewHenry Moore gave the following answer to the question “Why does an artistcreate at all?”: “I do it to get to know more about the nature and life withthe help of my eyes and hands. To get to know more about theworld, the forms, more about everything, no matter what it is.”3 Withregard to colour formation techniques, we can differentiate between the method of direct colour mixing (wepaint with previously mixed paint colours; and during the process of painting,the colours blend on the canvas too), themethod of layered painting (the paint colours are painted on each other inlayers; the colour layers gain their final mutual chromaticity with the greateror lesser transparency of colour layers), and optical colour mixing, that is the method of colour separation (thecolourful lights reflected by small patches of colour painted next to eachother blend to a greater or lesser extent during the process of vision). Duringthe creative process of painting the three methods of colour formation can beused in varied compilations.
Knowledge of optics and colour theory is alsonecessary to understand the differences between the three methods. “Colours are acts of light, its acts and sufferings”5Introduction to optics and colour theory. The spectrum colours. Colouras a perceptual phenomenon.
Reflection, absorption, refraction. The colour andcolour temperature of light, natural and artificial light. The colour,direction and intensity of the illuminating light source.
Directed light, evenscattered light, backlight, grazing light. The interrelations of the localcolour of objects and illumination (illuminated colours, colours partially orfully in the shadow, the colour of drop shadow, reflex colours). Theinterrelation of the intensity of illumination and colour saturation. Colour mixing: light and colourmixing.Additive and subtractive colour mixing. The change of colour saturationduring colour mixing. Three dimensions of colours.
Colour shade, colour saturation and lightness degree of the colour. Order of coloursItten’s colour theory. Colour wheel, primary and secondary colours,complementary colours.
The relation of the colours of the colour wheel and thepaint colours.Colour contrastsContrastof hue. Light-dark contrast. Cold-warm contrast. Complementary contrast. Successivecontrast, the phenomenon of afterimage. Simultaneous contrast. Qualitativecontrast.
Quantitative contrast. Brushwork contrast. Paint colours in the use ofcolour contrasts. According to Matisse, “relations” are the most significant incase of colours” but he also adds that “honestly, in my opinion the theory ofcomplementary colours is not completely solid. The studying of art works madeby painters whose knowledge of colours is based on their instincts, emotionsand constant identification of their impressions may modify the laws of coloursat some points and extend the limits of the currently accepted colour theory.”6I believe that the knowledge of colours stemming from our guts – that isreferred to by Matisse as well – may be a suitable measure for the personalapplication of the lawfulness of colour contrasts. Basics ofpainting techniques It enhances the use of painting materials if we can experience and learnthe tricks of the trade in practice. The structure of paintings in terms ofpainting techniques: substrate, foundation and paint (pigment and bindingagent).
Their interrelation determines the future durability of the picture;their selection is in connection with the painter’s visual intentions. Picture substrate and foundationFoundation of inflexible and flexible picture substrates. The absorbingcapacity of the foundation, the colour of the foundation and imprimitura.Role of binding agentsSystems of binding agents. Egg tempera emulsions, oil paint. Order ofpaint layers: a “heavier” layer rich in oil and resin is applied to a “lighter”one.
Paint and their characteristicsThe colour of paint, pigments and their characteristics (resistance, colouringability, binding agent requirement, binding agent resistance, compatibilitywith other pigments). Paint in tubes and their characteristics. Compilation ofthe appropriate paint palette. Coating and glazing paintingmethodCoating and glazing ability of paint. Coating and glazing paint, typicalglazing colours.
Methods of coating painting and glazing. Light effect depth. Therole of binding agents and painting substances. Combinations of coating andglazing painting (diluted, dry, wiped back, continuous and discontinuousglazing).
The role of brushwork in colour formationThe possibilities of paint application and brushwork formation in thepractice of painting. Methods of colour formation in practice Method of direct colour mixingIn case of direct colour mixing, the shades of colour previously mixedin the palette are applied on the painting surface (more or less) in theirfinal state, and during the painting process the colours blend with each otheron the canvas too. Regarding the relation of colours, we should attempt to mixthe shades of colour that roughly match with each other. Numerous shades ofcolour can be created with two or three colours.
The use of alla prima paintingtechnique is recommended for beginners of painting studies. We can gain direct experiencein the field of the characteristics and mixing of paint colours, brushwork,paint application and dispersion. The role of foundations containing oil interms of the plasticity and convertibility of oil paint. Correction andrepainting after drying. The colour shades may be mixed preliminarily duringthe layered painting technique and separation of colours. 1.
Colour formation possibilities of direct colour mixing. Pigment-basedcolour mixing and colour mixing practices involved in the studies. Theimportance of direct experience in the practice of colour mixing: the specifictasks to be solved, the recording of visual impressions, the observation ofvisible colours of the nature may encourage us to mix the colour shades asaccurately as possible, to assess the power relations of colours and torecognize new colour relations.2. Primarycolours (the different pigment-based versions of red, yellow and blue and theircharacteristics). Whites and blacks. Secondary or mixed colours with twocomponents (typical pigment-based versions of orange, green and violet andshades mixed from primary colours).
Earth pigments and their mixtures. Brownand grey mixtures. Quantitative proportions of colour mixing. The change of colouring,colour saturation and degree of lightness during colour mixing. Colour mixingwith white and/or black. The change of colouring, colour saturation and degreeof lightness during colour mixing with white and/or black.
Layered painting techniqueWhen applying the layered painting technique, paint layers of differentquality and/or colour are applied on each other resulting from the paintingprocess; the final colour state is created based on the greater or lessertransparency of paint layers. In the practice of painting tradition, thelayered painting technique implies continuance and permanence.1. The tradition of layered painting. The layers of foundation. Colouringand insulating function of imprimitura.
Similarities and differences betweenthe Dutch and Italian layered painting. The use of egg tempera paint; theinterrelation of painting methods and colour use. Toned underpainting thatspread as a continuance of the Byzantine tradition. Methods of skin colourpainting: skin colour mixture applied on a white base, and contrast skin colourpainted on green earth underpainting. Varnishing and oil glazings; transitionbetween tempera painting and oil painting. The role of drying oil and resinousbinding agents. The technique of van Eyck brothers.
The spread of the use ofoil paint in Italy and Europe. The possibilities of flexible canvas substrates.Giovanni Bellini, Leonardo. The working method of Venetian painters living inthe 16th century, Tiziano, Tintoretto. Rubens mixed the colour formationsolutions of the Flemish and Italian tradition.
2. The colour formation possibilities of layered painting and glazing.The transparency of paint layers. The relation between the colours of layersapplied on each other.
The role of the colour of the foundation. Obscurationand lightening with layered painting. Monochrome underpainting. Underpaintingand glazing applied on it. The order of colour layers. Layering of variousyellow, red and blue colours. Combinations of colour layering. Layering ofcomplementing colours.
3. Optical colour mixing or the method of colour separationThe method of colour separation is based on additive colour mixing;colours are broken into components and painted in small patches of colour nextto each other on the picture surface. Each quantum of colour reflectsseparately the rays corresponding to its colour; these mostly mix with eachother when reaching our eyes during vision, therefore we perceive the mutualcolour of their overlapping or the particular colour elements separately. 1. The manifesto of optical colour mixing.
7 “The divided patch ofNeo-Impressionists (…) is the same process as Delacroix’s lines and theImpressionists’ commas. Each brushwork has the same purpose: by the opticalmixing of paints placed next to each other, ensuring the largest possible glowof the colour and create colourful light.”8 Although Signac emphasizes the useof clean shades of colour, in practice we do not have to forsake the colourshades with multiple components or less saturated shades that can be createdwith direct colour mixing; Picasso and Seurat applied these among others. 2.
Colourformation possibilities of colour separation. The characteristics of simplecolour elements making up complex colours (colouring, saturation, degree oflightness, size, shape, brushwork). The interrelation of colour elements (theirseparate state or blending) as a result of the similarities and differencesbetween their pictorial values. The role of contrast effects in the structureof complex colours, particularly in terms of complementary and simultaneouscontrast. The role of monochrome-type complex colours, paint application, brushworkdifferences and qualitative contrast. Van Gogh, Menyhért Tóth. Clean colours,different pigment-based versions and shades broken with white and/or black. RufinoTamayo.
Colour separation with primary colours. Complex colours with twocomponents that can be created from primary colours. Colour separation withcomplementary colours and the role of simultaneous contrast. Seurat’s workingmethod for painting.
The size and shape of colour elements. The interrelationof colour elements and the quality of their mutual complex surface. Creatingtransition with colour separation. Rippl-Rónai. The extent, delicacy of colour separation,the number of colours, the association of colours. Jacques Villon, Sándor Molnár.