Monday, March 12, 2012


THE CLAN #14 ( Hue, Black, Tone)

We have been dealing with one of the most least studied aspect of color: Intensity.  The biggest problem is with the word itself.  I don't know who decided to describe the purity of a color with the word "Intensity" but it's a done deal and we have to live with it.  In English we think of "intensity" as over the top saturation rather than purity, so when you try to explain that a pale tint that is pure in chroma is high intensity, the mind boggles and it feels confusing.  It is important that we are all using the same words to describe things in art, so we are stuck.  And, of course, not all tube colors are pure Hue, mucking up the color waters even more.  It takes awhile to come to grips with the terms and how to integrate the knowledge into successful paintings but that can be part of the fun of this art journey!
Intensity is the biggest element that impacts the mood of your painting, so how can one put that to good use?

There was a world renowned color specialist  in the last century (thought sounds weird!) named Faber-Birren who figured out that any color could be described with one of seven words: 1.HUE (Pure hue - outside edge of the color wheel) 2. WHITE  3. BLACK 4. TINT ( Hue plus White) 5. SHADE (Hue plus Black) 6. GREY (White plus Black) or 7. TONE (Hue plus Black and White or Hue plus Compliment.  All complimentary combinations consist of some part of Red Yellow and Blue.  When all 3 primary colors are present in any ratio, the purity of the color is diminished making it a TONE)

Diagrammed it looks like this:






Draw a large circle around the words HUE     WHITE    BLACK and  a smaller circle around  TINT    TONE   SHADE   GREY.   Now draw a line connecting HUE to TINT,  TINT to WHITE, WHITE to GREY,  etc. and a line from each of the outside words to TONE in the middle.  

If you take THREE of these WORDS that are linked by connecting lines  and create a painting using this Intensity Strategy, you will create a different mood with each different combination.    Here are a few of the possible combinations.    
I figured there were 20 different combinations.  I wrote each one on a separate slip of paper, but them in a sack and drew two out for my paintings this past week.   The above painting is HUE, TONE & BLACK.   This is a very challenging but entertaining exercise.  Give it a try!

1.  White - Grey -  Black
2.  Hue -  Tint  - White
3. Hue - Shade - Black
4. Tint - Tone - Shade
5. Tint - Tone - Black
6. Tint - Tone - Grey
7. Shade - Tone - White
8. Hue - White - Black (use primary and secondary colors)
9. Tint - Tone - Shade - Grey (use intermediate hues i.e. red-orange, blue-green etc.)


Liana Yarckin said...

i was thrilled when i recognized your work in Watercolor Artist. thanks for sharing your work and ideas via your blog and that interview. Loved Bleeding Hearts.

CrimsonLeaves said...

What an interesting exercise, Myrna. I confess that I am having trouble seeing two of the faces (the two that you've been putting on the right side of the canvas). Not sure if it is tired eyes though... said...

Myrna you share so much, I just happened on this artist through my Pinterest .. She is amazing, thought you might like to look, let us know what you think.I thought of you when I saw this.

Meera Rao said...

Makes sense now that I worked with those in your workshop :)

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