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Mud Palette Approach

Hi Mark.

I ran across an article and was curious to hear your opinion.

It essentially breaks down to this:

“Mud Palette” to Achieve Harmony"

"A system of mixing colors based from “mud” mixtures that govern shadows, midtones, and highlights.

First mix the darkest-dark color (olive green, alizarin crimson, and Indian yellow) and use that to establish the tone of the canvas, the drawing of the subject, and the darkest-dark shapes. The large amounts of a specific shadow “mud” color are mixed based on the model’s local shadow color and adjusted according to the darker and lighter shadows, and on the warmer or cooler shadows. Once the darkest darks, background, and shadow side are complete, the artist prepares a light-side “mud” (titanium white, burnt sienna, yellow ochre pale, scarlet lake, and manganese blue). and mixes from that to achieve halftones and highlights."

"This system has several distinct advantages, especially for inexperienced painters. First, it simplifies the drawing process by relieving any concerns about color and unity. Second, it helps establish a dark, transparent shadow tone that helps the illusion of luminosity. Third, it results in a harmonious picture, especially in the areas of transition between relative values and color temperatures. And, finally, it eliminates the need to make radical adjustments in value and color relationships toward the end of the painting process. “I won’t actually paint with this mud mixture, but I will mix from it for every color combination I prepare along the way. For example, I might add more of the darkest dark mixture to make the darker values; or I might warm the mixture by adding scarlet lake or cadmium red deep.”

“Remember that I never paint the mud color directly,” he reminded students. “I mix from that pile and that’s what keeps it unified.”

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