7 Useful Tips for Using Transparent Pigments

by Neadeen Masters on August 27, 2013

Look for Transparent Pigments

When it comes to art and painting techniques, there is a huge difference between transparent pigments and opaque pigments. Read the labels of your paint tubes and bottles, if it doesn`t state this information, chances are you are not working with artist or professional grade paints. Artist grade pigments are found with both transparent and opaque properties. Know the difference and you can predict the results.


Stay clear of Opaque Pigments

Titanium White is an opaque pigment…if added to transparent pigments they won’t be transparent any longer. If you want to use the transparent pigments for dimension as color glazes, here are a few things to consider.

  1. To lighten…Use the transparent pigments without adding white. If you want to lighten and area, for example, bring the fur or feather value higher (lighter) on a wildlife subject, first make the area lighter than what you want the final outcome to be, before glazing.
  2. The transparent colors will always lower the values or darken, if you add white to them; your results can be either chalky or muddy.
  3. If you are applying the transparent pigments in layers to add more dimension, start with the yellow pigment and work analogously around the color wheel from yellow to orange to red to red violet or the other way from yellow to yellow green to green then blue…etc.
  4. Regarding color temperature – It’s easier to warm a cool than it is to cool a warm so watch for this if layering transparent colors.
  5. If mixing the transparent pigments to make secondary and intermediary colors, mix from three Primary color families (red, yellow blue) to get your dark hues…Carbon Black is an opaque pigment, so stay clear.
  6. Creating a good black or dark hue: A great black is a mix of Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Phthalo Green –  Blue shade.
  7. A great dark blue is Dioxazine Purple and Phthalo Green Blue. This will work as a Payne’s Gray.

For more information about using transparent pigments, visit the color theory online painting lessons at the Art Apprentice Online.

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