venice challenge 3

August 14, 2015

It is so affirming when blogging friends don’t find details about paint pigments and their sedimentation arcane.  One can easily picture guests around a table nodding-off face-first into their creme-brulee.

In the Renaissance, clay earth from Siena, Tuscany,  (Terra di Siena, “Siena ground”) rich in iron oxide and manganese oxide was used for pigments.  In its natural state, is a yellowish clay, and becomes raw sienna as a pigment.  When heated up, it turns reddish brown and becomes burnt sienna.

However, due to its being heated up, there is a variety of watercolour burnt sienna shades and hues among the various manufacturers because some heat it a little more, some a little less, making it somewhat more or less ‘burnt’.

burnt seinna options

Ultramarine and burnt sienna will be the two colours for the whole piece with the exception of a bit of Rose Madder and Quin Gold for the more distant buildings.  Doing so (almost) guarantees integration.  That is because a viewer’s eye will find a colour harmony whenever the pallet is limited, as no one colour or tone will be glaringly different from the rest.


stage two

Focal points are achieved in limited-pallet paintings through value contrast (the dark windows against the lighter walls), rather than by there being a glaringly-different colour thrown in.  That said, some of the early masters used a glaringly-different colour to great visual effect, as in Corot, whose ‘signature’ accent was the use of a dash of scarlet in an otherwise integrated landscape….

jean_baptiste_camille_corot_b1147_paturage_dans_les_marais_small    woman-picking-flowers-in-a-pasture  Souvenir-du-Pont-de-Mantes


(sources for ‘burnt sienna’ from Jane Blundell and Wikipedia)


14 Responses to “venice challenge 3”

  1. Charlie, your freedom with buildings and allowing your hand to express an inner Charlie as you depict them is such a winning combination.


  2. Debi, I just came across your Dec. entry ‘Prussian blue and cerulean blue’ and love the explorations you made with that–letting the explorations happen by the medium itself. You have that sense of adventure that so many Australian watercolourists have. Thanks, Debi for the support.


  3. Yay Jodi! Your summer explorations have me doing peach cakes and making sure the Season gets celebrated, along with seeing how watercolour fits with making bookmarks the way you do your greeting cards.


  4. Lemony, photography reaches another level through your diaphanous and visionary gaze. Your flowers breathe out their souls under your touch.


  5. Love your posts so much Lance! I feel like I’m learning more and more each time I read them. Thank you so much for your thoughtful posts…I love them!! (And so excited to see the final result of your piece!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. debiriley said

    great images Lance! way to inspire more people to do these test colour strips too. its invaluable ! 🙂 great post and informative – excellent – and another smiley face. LOL cheers, debi

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jodi said

    Wow so much to learn. Thanks for sharing bits and pieces in manageable doses.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very effective, the value contrast. So interesting about the varieties of burnt sienna.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Cynthia, I am enjoying ‘Of A Certain Age’ SO MUCH. You take tears and wordsmith them into soul-healing balm.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. hahaha, Rebecca! Yes. Lordy. I do admire and thank Jane Blundell for producing all those swatches, but my oh my….I have trouble waiting for paper to dry. And she has ones side-by-side, with a fresh swatch next to one which has been exposed to direct sun for x-number of hours, to test the colour fastness. I’d at least want minimum hourly wages for doing all that.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Laura, you are any painting colleague’s staunchest cheerleader, and I of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is delightful!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rebecca said

    I wish I had the patience to make colour test cards… I can always find something else I’d rather do. I suspect it’s entirely my loss! I love the blue/grey wall on your pic, quite delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lance, I so enjoy your posts! Wonderful! I hope you write a book one day. I would snap it right up. I’m looking forward to more lessons and the next phases of your work. Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

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