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Lecture 2 - It's Too Yellow

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It's too yellow. You might say, well, what's wrong with yellow? I like yellow. There's nothing wrong with yellow. In fact, it's one of our main primary colors red, blue and yellow. It would be very difficult to make a painting without yellow.

Yellow is very important. The issue comes when yellow is overused when yellow is a substitute for light values in a painting. Let me show you here is Henri Matisse woman with a hat. beautiful painting beautiful portrait. And I took this image in Photoshop, and I altered it so that all of the light values anything that's close to a white or light value is turned to yellow. Let's compare these two.

This type of painting I see this issue this too much yellow. Very often. I see it in galleries. I see it in workshops. There is a specific reason why this comes up a lot. But if we look at this without the original Matisse, if we just look at this, it looks like a fine painting.

There's nothing really wrong with it. It's just that when we compare it to this painting, let's just look right here, at this area right here next to her red hair and blue hat. Do you see the white, the cool white, and the warm yellow right here next to each other. Let's just look at that little area right here where I made it all yellow. Again, next to her red hair and blue hat here is the yellow. The space here is much deeper and much more interesting than the space here.

In fact, we could say this is kind of a flat space. It looks like it's one plane, whereas here it looks like it could be evoking a deeper, more interesting space. We can look at other areas too. Like this, compared to this. Here, it's very heavy and it's almost pushing against her hat. Here.

It's going back and receding. And there are many other places too. Let's start to look at this more carefully. The issue comes from the idea of values and tones. Here is a grayscale or a tonal scale in 10 steps. Let's call white over here number one, and black over here number 10.

Any pair of well first let's say that any color can be transformed by our eye into a grayscale, and some of us are more used to doing that than others. If this is new to you, and transforming or transferring color into a grayscale is difficult or something new. Then I recommend a fun idea which is to take whatever your Working on, snap a quick photograph of it, put it in some kind of a software like Photoshop or something that you might have. Usually all the software programs that deal with images have something called a grayscale. And you can go and change it to a grayscale and see what your painting looks like in terms of values. So let's talk about what is needed in a painting in terms of values.

Any pair of colors that can be translated into a white and a black next to each other would be considered a high contrast. And any pair of colors that is close together on the grayscale here, here here would be called a low contrast. So high contrast pairs of color and low contrast pairs of color. If you have both of those in your painting, you will increase the depth of space you will increase the idea that this flat image this image painted on a flat surface is actually an illusion of a deeper space. That's what gets people interested in looking at your painting in the first place, and allows them often a deeper viewing experience. So let's look at some more examples.

Here's our grayscale. Here is a painting by a friend of mine, Rick Garcia. And I will did just that I took his image and I put it in a Photoshop program and turned it into a grayscale. And we can see that these colors have translated into these tones. And let's see if we can find a high contrast pair. Well, any white and black next to each other is going to be a high contrast pair and that would be right here.

And right here, and if we look, here it is in color here in here. Let's find a low contrast pair. That would be to Gray's a light and a dark gray together. There's a lot of low contrast here in here. Let's see here in here. And then we can transfer over to this color and see what it looks like in color.

And this is a good practice to take some of your images and turn them into a grayscale. Just to practice going back and forth between how does this translate into gray. Wherever you have a high contrast pair like this and this, our eyes will naturally go there we are, our eyes are and I say our eyes meaning our eye and brain the whole perception mechanism. We are hard wired for high contrast. If you've ever been walking on a beach, your eyes are going to naturally scan the beach for something sparkly, something high contrast. And so in a painting arise to the same thing.

They move through the painting, looking for high contrast and I always say that, as painters our main job is is to create a choreography we're creating movement through the painting and this use of of high contrast Long with the low contrast gives us a great tool to create this kind of movement through any painting that we create. Do we have to have high contrast in a painting? No, we don't. Let's look at another example. This is a 16th century Chinese painting. And they did the same thing.

I took the painting and transformed it into a grayscale. Can we find high contrast pair in this painting? Well, we can, it's not going to be as high contrast as the white and the black here. That's the highest contrast is white next to black. But can we find something that's a number, say instead of a one and attend next to each other? Could you find something that's maybe a two and an eight next to each other?

In other words, what is the highest contrast pair in this painting and that would be right here. I don't know if you notice it, but your eyes will automatically be drawn to wherever you have a high card. pair and that would be in here. And this artist very smartly, put it on the figures on the horses to draw your attention there. So do you see how contrast whether it's high or low is important to be able to evaluate in your painting. To create this eye choreography or eye movement viewing on Euclid.

The best way to make sure that you have good contrast or appropriate contrast for your painting is to make sure that it's in your palette before you start painting. Now, here is the same grayscale. But what I did is I took a picture of tubes of paint to show you that if you use paint right out of the tube and use only that instead of adding some extra premade mixtures on your palette, you're going to end up in this darker tonal area right in here. We have white is number one, and yellow and here is the key to the whole too much yellow issue is that most people will think that yellow is a number two, especially if you have only white and then yellow on your palette and then you move to all the other colors which are really in this five to 10 range.

So what I do is I create a palette that adds premade mixtures to fill in this gap. And here is something that I think is very important when you're painting. Whatever you put on your palette is what is going to end up in your painting. If you don't have a variety of color and a variety of value in your palette, you're not going to end up with that in your painting. So setup is very important. So I'm going to bring out a palette that I set up already and I go into this much further in Another video that I created in this series, there's a series of three videos together based on my book create perfect paintings.

But if we look at this arc of colors, the colors that are right out of the tube are this white here it's titanium white. And this is hands a yellow light and hands a yellow medium. I like a warm and a cool of yellow. I also by the way, having a warm and a cool of yellow will also help alleviate the too much yellow problem often the too much yellow means you're only using one yellow, and none of these premix colors that I'll talk about in a sec. So we have titanium white. We have two yellows a warm and a cool yellow hands a yellow light hands a yellow medium.

We have two reds I'm jumping to show you what I think is called the full palette or absolutely necessary in a palette, which is two reds, a warm and a cool red. This is Pyro red medium and this is quinacridone magenta. And here are the two blues, a warm and a cool blue. Or you could say a blue that looks a little purpley and that's the ultramarine blue. And here is fellow blue green shade. It has a little bit of a green tint to it.

And I like to have black, this is carbon black right out of the tube, even though I like to also make my own dark mixtures too. So a full palette review is white, two yellows, two reds, two blues. That full palette alone can mix and match any color. You don't need the rest of them. But I do what I call an enhanced full palette which is I like to add some extra things. I like to have some secondary colors like orange, purple and green even though I could mix those with my to warm and cool of each primary.

So again, my secondaries are cadmium orange dioxin Purple, and my greens I actually gave myself two greens, Othello green yellow shade, and permanent green light. So in addition to those, if this is new to you again, my video goes into how to set this up and much more detail. But there are something called modern colors and mineral colors, chemists will call them in organics and organics. I also in addition to having warm and cool of the primaries, and the secondaries, I like to make sure I have a mix of modern and mineral colors. So in addition to the warm and the cool mineral yellows here, I've added a warm and a cool, modern yellow pair. I've got nickel, so yellow and green gold.

And that is why I have the two greens By the way, this one's a modern green, and this one's a mineral green. But the key here to our issue of too much yellow is right here. This is the key solution. Every time I paint, I make sure that instead of just having white and yellow In a big gap between the two, I fill it in with numbers two and three values. So again, white is a number one, and yellow would be really a number four. And I am missing then twos and threes.

So I took white here, here in here, and I added a little yellow, a little red and a little blue to each such a small amount that it still looks like white, it's still a number two. Then I separated each one of these and added a little bit more of the yellow, red and blue, making these a number three. So if I took a black and white photograph of this, or a photo and transformed it in Photoshop to grayscale, I would have a full range from one to 10 of all my values. Now I know they're going to end up in my painting. So let's look at how we would fix a painting that has that problem. Here is a painting that I've been working on.

If we look at it, it's pretty bland and boring without the high contrast. And again, I don't have to have one sentence next to each other, but even a two and a nine or a three and an eight would add what I call I gems, I think of Remember I said that we're hardwired to look at high contrast pairs. And I call them I gems, those are where your eyes if they're looking in the sand, we would perk up when we saw something sparkly in the sand. That's what happens as we move through a painting, or as our eyes move through a painting, they're directed from one iGEM to the next. And those items are going to be anything that's high contrast, in reference to what your images so right now, if I squint, it all looks like one big blurry gray. And sure enough, if I took this into Photoshop, it would be all grayscale, it would be all maybe four to six.

So the first thing I want to do is now that I have my palette, I can add those high contrast value. pairs and high contrast means a pair that's something light with something dark. So that's why I have not just black but a couple other options, a cool black here, a warm black here, almost a brown, and my black straight out of the tube. So now I'm going to go ahead and add what I think would be some nice places for items. Which is another issue if you're going to have an item in your painting. And when you should have an item in your painting, but you don't want to stick them in corners or dead center.

You want to say I'm making a treasure hunt for somebody's eyes. Where do I want to plant these, that would be an interesting place. So I'm going to start with just lighting lightening up or brightening up. It's nice to have some options and every time I dip into white, I'm going to dip into one or the other along with white so that I can make this more interesting. Just gonna get a smaller brush so that I can get into those detailed areas better. So I'm just making it easy for myself picking a place that isn't in the corners isn't in the center, just somewhere fun to draw the eye.

When you've put one on, it looks like it stands out and doesn't fit. So I recommend when you start doing this by correcting an issue corrected in three places that are strategic somewhere, again, not in the corners of the center, and then decide if it works. So if I just looked at this now the first thing I'd want to do is take it out, it doesn't fit. So I have to do two more places before I can determine that I like it or not And sometimes putting a light value over paint that's already there, it starts to get grayer. It needs a second coat. And I'm using the slow drying acrylic.

So if I, I probably should actually wait and overpaying it but for the sake of the video, I'll see if I can make it a little more intense in color while I'm here all right, and I said three places. That's one I kind of consider this one. I consider this two places. Even though this is separated, they sort of attach themselves together. And I'll find one more place just to see if this is working for me. And these are light values and now I'm going to find a place to put dark value and pairs.

High Contrast pairs don't always have to be touching they can be close together. So what would happen if I took this and made it darker? Notice every time I dip my brush into a paint every time I'm changing the color to make it more interesting adding variety. Oops. Let's pick there. And one more place to put a dark.

Let's see a dark doesn't have live in using whites and blacks. Let me see if I can do something That's not black. I think I'll try a red and add some brown to it. Make it more of a brown and then I think we'll try one more light value and put it somewhere near the middle. Okay. I am starting to like it.

I now feel like I have more planes of space. There's these are coming forward, the darks and the lights are both coming forward. And this the rest that was there before is kind of getting pushed back in space. I still think it needs to be More. And I would like to add more to this. In fact, I already have the piece finished over here.

And let's go back to before I added the corrections, let's look at an image of what it was before and compare it to what I feel is finished. And let's look at these two and compare them. How does the space feel? One, the one before I added the high contrast pairs looks flat, it would be difficult for it to get too much attention. Probably if it was hanging on a gallery wall, people would walk right by it. As soon as it has some gems, some light sand darks, it starts to be perkier and more interesting, more visually exciting.

So also it cuts that amount of too much yellow. So I would say that if you look at your work you analyze it and say, Does this have a too much yellow problem? If it does, we have two solutions. One is while you're painting or at that point when you notice it that it's got a lot of yellow. Start to practice looking at your painting in terms of grayscale. Take moments while you're painting to step back, look at your painting and say, how's my value range?

If it's hard for you go back and take a photograph of it, turn it into a grayscale on a computer. But the real solution, I think, is to make sure on your palette that you have pre mixed some light values, so that they end up getting and some dark mixtures too. So they end up getting into your painting in the first place. You may ask What does having high contrast pairs in a painting has to do with an issue of too much yellow Well, if you don't have The light values pre mixed on your palette. There's a tendency to keep taking your brush and loading it up with yellow as a substitute for those light values. You'll have white there, but you might not want to use white all the time for all your light values.

So you'll go to yellow, so you end up with a little bit of white and a lot of yellow instead of a large variety of light values.

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