Color Studies: Terra Rosa

In and around other things in the last few weeks, I decided I would play with some color studies. To be more precise, I decided to follow Richard Schmid’s instructions in Alla Prima and do what he calls “legendary color charts” — “a traditional Flemish way of teaching color.”

To follow Schmid’s instructions precisely, I first had to buy some paint not currently in my repertoire and make the opening chart: his palette consists of cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow pale, cadmium yellow deep, yellow ochre light, cadmium red, terra rosa, alizarin crimson, transparent oxide red, viridian, cobalt blue light, ultramarine blue deep, and titanium white (as the tinting color).

Here is an image of my first chart, consisting of all those colors, tinted through five even steps, to make almost white:


For my next chart, I could have gone to the first of Schmid’s colors, cadmium lemon, but because I had never worked with terra rosa, and because I know I sometimes fail to get through an entire set of exercises like these, I decided to first concentrate on the less familiar colors.

So I began with terra rosa (a color which never was a part of my personal palette) which became mixed with each of the other colors, while (hopefully) retaining its color quality. Then the resulting mixes were tinted to almost white:

colorstudyterrarosawI got better at getting almost to white on this second chart.

But what I didn’t do as well with was estimating how much paint I would need. This is what the palette looked like, after I finished with the chart and some other uses of the hues as well:

colorstudypaletteterrarosawThe little plastic lids are an attempt to save some of the excess paint. And this palette had already been used  on this canvas:

terrarosaabstractwI think this is one of those “to be continued” paintings. The paint is very thick (why not, since I had made up so much), so maybe all I’ll have to do is to scumble on a bit of — well, something that comes up on the next palette.

Next time I’m doing veridian, because it’s a color I never use; I much prefer sap green. I suspect that I might learn how to make a good sap green from viridian through doing this exercise. And I also might find just the tint that I need for the terra rosa abstract. –June

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One Response to Color Studies: Terra Rosa

  1. Sheila says:

    Gosh, isn’t playing with color fascinating? Reminds me of my dyeing days…so many surprises for one who’d never mixed colors before.


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