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Showing posts from February, 2011

Let's Hear it for Brown!

I'm standing at the door of the senior painting studio, watching the student artists at their easals. It's 1977 and I am an Art Education major student who wants nothing more than to be in there painting just like them. I have never painted before, but I just know that once I'm in there with the collective wisdom of the professors and the infinite inspiration of God, that my talent will overflow and I will have found where I have always belonged. Fast forward another semester. I am in the senior painting studio, struggling with my inability and lack of knowledge, and mustering the confidence against all intimidation to find ways to put the damn paint on the canvas and make it look like I knew what I was doing. I longed for my teacher to sit down and impart to me the secrets of painting. There were other students who she favoured, upon whom she bestowed her attention and praise. But all I could get from her was "finish this one and start the next one". I …

Olive Green

Olive green:
Neutral brownish green, similar to unripe olives, the fruit of the olive tree, an evergreen with leathery leaves and small whitish flowers, a native of western Asia, cultivated since ancient times.
If you were to mix this as a paint color, here's a recipe:
8 parts Zinc White 3 parts Cobalt Blue 2 parts Cadmium Yellow Medium 1 part Burnt Umber
What makes it so special? Olive green is a muted green. As you can see from the recipe, it is made from white, blue yellow and brown. We know from the color wheel exercise that blue plus yellow makes green, and that if you add white it becomes a beautiful delightful tint of green. But to mute it, to make it more earthy and natural, and to truly earn the name of OLIVE, it needs more. It needs to reach across the color wheel and grab some red. The recipe calls for burnt umber, and if you are familiar with paint names you know that burnt umber has a reddish cast. Not as much as burnt sienna, but enough to mute down the green and giv…