Reduce color chromatic

what the difference between use gray scale color mix or complementary color to reduce color chromatic.


  • ESAM33

    Welcome to the Forum.

    A grey scale usually contains ivory or lamp black which sucks the life out of subsequent mixes.
    A chromatic black can have a warm or cool bias to enhance darks and shadow values.

  • I disagree. Using a grey gives you much more control as you can't overshoot and alter the hue to the complementary colour. I always use greys for reducing down saturation.
  • Color is value plain and simple. 

  • @KIngston, I'm interested in what you mean by "Color is value plain and simple." Are you saying that all color has value? I doubt that is what you are saying because it goes without saying. Or are you saying that that all values have color? If so, then I would agree except for pure black and pure white. I think it might help beginners ( and me) if you explained the above post for us.   :) 


    (NB I'm not talking about the physical properties of light here. We know that white light is just all the colors together and when you split it with a prism the colours separate. Black is the absence of light so no color.) 
  • @tassieguy
    I'm talking about paint not light. We are constrained to the colors and values of our paints. The above chart is from .An Introduction to the Language of Drawing and Painting Volume 1: The Painter’s Terms
    By Arthur Pope , Harvard University Press 1929.

    Our paints are representing light but are not light. I we passed high school physics we have a basic grasp of light and the color spectrum. But our palette can only mimic spectral light. So no I'm not talking about light but how the basic color wheel of 12 colors can roughly achieve an idea of light.

    On the topic of neutralizing color, while not killing color, here's a sample of color mixing from spectrum color.

    White is the great neutralizer when going up in value.
    There are always two neutral colors on my palette beside white, Rembrandt Transparent Red Oxide for it's transparency and yellow ochre for it's opacity. Both pretty neutral in temperature. Mostly I use compliments and split compliments with white and all color black - sometimes real black.
    I learned this long ago as a teenager from my fathers big paperback 'how to paint' books. Not in the language I use now but the basic principles are the same. I wish I still had those books. This is foundation color. Meant to be edited and built on. 

    For a really deep dive into color visit my painting buddy's Judith Reeve's site:

  • edited February 2021
    Thanks, @KingstonFineArt. But I'm still none the wiser as to what you meant by "Color is value plain and simple." It's only a six word sentence and I have three university degrees and several post-grad diplomas but I don't know what it means. Could you deconstruct it for us? Say what you mean in another short, simple way? Thanks.  :) 

    Love your color charts.  :)
  • I think he means that adding a colour also changes the value?
  • edited February 2021

    Ha Ha!
    Let's let Author Pope do it. Chapter 1.

    Full discloser. I did live in Harvard Square but did not go to Harvard.

    I did a basic paintingmyunderpants blog on this:

    This book used to be available as a bad pdf on the internet 15 years ago. Because of it's popularity it has been republished. I bought it from I don't remember.

  • Thanks, @Richard_P. But that would only be so if the colour was a different value than the one you're adding to. Or am I missing something?  :/
  • @tassieguy
    Think of it this way. When mixing color a with color b at the same tonal value you get color ab at the same tonal value. If you mix color a at high color value and color b at low color value you get color ab at medium value. Very helpful if working in restricted value range. Early twentieth century Illustrators were masterful at this because of the value restrictions of letterpress color printing. 
  • Yes, that makes sense, @KingstonFineArt. Common sense. Why didn't you just say that?  :)
  • edited February 2021
    Because I didn't go to Harvard.  :)

    For me it's visually obvious. Old school training I guess. I spent most of my career as an art director and illustrator A lot of time, a lot, spent at the printer doing color correction on the press. If you want to have fun in your life I wouldn't recommend it.
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