Accurate Mixing of Colour

July 15th 2016 6TH with Peter Valentine 

In his opening address, Peter showed us what he called  his three card trick. As he spoke he held up three large tubes of oil paint, red, yellow and blue. His lecture was well prepared, with a range of his paintings on display, together with colour wheels and books on colour from his personal library.

Peter said that his message was simple – just the use of three primary colours, but complicated to envisage due to the secondary colours and the infinity of tertiary hues, shades and tones. He demonstrated on a canvas of pre-coloured squares, how to match colours for brightness, shade and tone. using the colour wheel as a guide. He made it clear that these effects could not be simulated by mixing black with a colour for shade, nor attempting to lighten a colour with white. At this point he pointed out details of his painting of a nude where variations of light and shade occurred, A sheet of paper was held up to show brush marks of at least twelve colours which he had used in the painting, with black and white noticeable by their absence. Similarly his copy of the Rokeby Venus ( Velazquez ) was used to show delicately painted lighting effects. Perhaps his most striking exhibit was his portrait of a blond young woman in which no yellow paint was used to reproduce her flaxen hair.

Finally, Peter suggested a quick method of matching an observed colour. Select the nearest colour to the one you need from your palette and vary its shade, tone and so on until the match is achieved. He has no objection, for instance, to using a flesh  coloured paint, as long as it is made to match an observed tone by varying its hue, tone, shade and brightness. As he said, “A human body is not just pink alone”.

 Our thanks to Peter for an intense and academic lecture, interspersed with humour, which made for a thoroughly entertaining evening.

 Joseph Read 



Last updated: Tuesday 25th April 2017