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>The importance of an "O"

Get your minds out of the gutter! I’m talking Opacity here, and after painting hither and yon, blending random colors to see how they end up on my canvas, I’ve decided I really need to get a handle on the whole translucency thing since it really makes a huge difference as you are painting along, especially when working in glazes.

I discovered this the first time I used red iron oxide in a painting with haybales. Ugh! I had to work very hard to tone down all that rust color and covering with most yellows, and even browns from certain manufacturers, didn’t work at all. It wasn’t until I added titanium white, my go-to opaque-turner, that I succeeded.

With that in mind, and since it’s such a gorgeous morning (even though it is a Monday), I decided to get out into my studio for this painting exercise.

I pulled out all the acrylics I have and spread them out in color order, more or less, regardless of maker.

On a sheet of cold pressed 140-lb watercolor paper, I painted horizontal lines of each color, noting the flow of each (for another post at another time after I’ve done more research).

What I found was that I’ve got far more translucent paints in my kit than opaque and I think that’s typical. Thus, this post’s title.

Know before I share my results that I’ve historically bought a wide range of paints, often selecting by price and whether it’s on sale or not. Several folks in my Painting Class prefer Liquitex Heavy Body and recently, I scored a set of 12 of these in 2 oz tubes in various colors at a great price on Ebay. I haven’t yet cracked them open for paintings, deciding to use up what I’ve got first. It’s taking restraint, believe me, but I did open them for this exercise.

Anyway, in the process of doing this exercise, I discovered three things:

1.) I have way too many colors
2.) A paint color from one manufacturer to another (yes, I’m ashamed to say I have a few duplicates), is different.
3.) Though Liquitex’s Heavy Body labels list whether a color is opaque or translucent my findings didn’t fully agree. Maybe the difference is in degree.

I’m finding the below fully opaque:

Titanium White, of course (and I don’t have any black any more, so can’t say on that)
Cadmium Red Medium
Red Iron Oxide
Burnt Umber
Van Dyke Brown
Paynes Grey
Sap Green

After conducting my study, not wholly confident in my findings, I came across this terrific chart by Golden Artist Colors which I think I’ll put into spreadsheet form some rainy day to keep handy as I paint.

I also came across this page on a website by Judy Filarecki that pretty much did what I did but in perhaps better detail. Thanks Judy.

So, that’s today’s lesson. Know your “O’s.”

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