Artist's HandbookOf Materials And Techniques
by Ralph Mayer
Is a reference that I find to be indispensable. I keep mine on
my bookshelf, and believe that every artist should have a copy
Elements of Color
An excellent analysis of the properties and psychology of color.
Rex Vicat Cole
The Practice and Theory of Perspective As Applied to Pictures
With a Section Dealing With Its Application to Architecture
Painting Tips from the Artist
Tips to help you with your paintings
Dark Colors Don't Have To Be
Dark colors are often ugly, all resembling black. They don't
have to be ugly. You can bring out the rich beauty of these
colors in your paintings, and let your work resemble those of
the "Old Masters."
frequently overlooked attribute of painting is the advantageous
use of the transparency and opacity of your paints. Often,
paintings end up with areas of thick dark paint that is almost
devoid of color. Artists frequently say, "If only the paint on
my canvas could look as good as it does on my palette!" It can.
If paints such as Phthalo Blue, Prussian Blue, Viridian Green,
Hooker's Green, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber and Black are all painted
thickly, they will become dark, dull, and lifeless when they
dry. They will look almost alike, sort of like black. The secret
is to scumble the paint onto the canvas, applying it thinly in
such a way that you achieve a transparency.
The transparency becomes obvious when the light passes through
the paint to the white canvas, them out again. Controlling the
transparency of paint can still yield a very dark value, but
with brilliant color. Properly applied, the colors take on a
bright, almost "stained glass" look, and the richness of the
color is achieved.
Opaque paints, such as Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Reds and Yellows,
White, etc., look the same, whether applied thick or thin. Save
the impasto for the opaque colors. They provide a beautiful
contrast to thin, transparent dark paints, and your colors will
You can perform the experiment yourself. Squeeze out some of
your dark colors (oil or acrylic) onto a scrap of canvas. With
your brush, work out some of the paint very thinly, just enough
to cover the canvas, while allowing light to reflect off of the
canvas below. Now, let the colors dry. The results will become
obvious (over night for acrylics, and in about a week or so, for
Elements of Color
An excellent analysis of the properties, physiology and
psychology of color.