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Urban Luthier

Mixing just the right colour

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There have been various discussions about colour mixing in different threads but I don't recall seeing a dedicated thread on this topic.

 

For me, I'm not able to get the colour I'd like from my madder lakes alone and I've been experimenting with mixing (very) small amounts of bone/ivory black or sap green. 

 

I've made two types of matter lake -- hot steam extraction seems to drive the colour more to the alizarine side, while cold extraction left for a month or so produces a mellower brick-red colour -- The former is more transparent, but way to loud to use on its own -- the later is a nicer colour but is less transparent.

 

Personally I'm after a natural looking colour more on the warmer red brown side 

 

So how do you approach the challenge of getting just the right colour?

 

Chris

 

three pigments below show hot madder extraction, cold madder extraction and just for fun buckthorn berries

post-45462-0-77586000-1379952098_thumb.jpg

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First you should define: what is the "right" color?

There is no 'right' answer to that question. There are many variations of violin color, even if you limit yourself to the classical period.

Oded

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I generally aim to use the basic rule that every time you mix another colour/pigment it cuts transparency dramatically…so for me the ideal is a varnish that has a base colour that can be enhanced to my desired hue with the addition of just a single pigment (if required).

Madder is the easiest, most transparent and lightfast pigment I have experience with, so I tend to tweak the mix of my basic varnish using differently cooked resins so with the addition of my madder only I achieve the colour I want.

neil

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make sense Neil -- 

 

my challenge is the varnish i've made is a rather pale straw link colour -- too pale on its own

 

mixing certainly does reduce transparency  -- i'm also shocked to see how even the smallest amount of another colour can quickly muddy things. A single drop of bone black into a table spoon and a half of madder tinted varnish is more than enough tint things

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I've made two types of matter lake -- hot steam extraction seems to drive the colour more to the alizarine side, while cold extraction left for a month or so produces a mellower brick-red colour -- The former is more transparent, but way to loud to use on its own -- the later is a nicer colour but is less transparent.

 

If you dont mind me asking, what do you mean with "hot steam extraction"? Is that another way to make the madder lakes other than the one mentioned on the David Rubio website?

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basically what Neil (above) does -- i think he calls it the espresso method -- there is a nice photo essay on his Facebook page. My point is that when i do this i seem to get a brighter more intense alizarine colour as a opposed to the warmer (one may say muddier) colour i get with the cold extraction. 

 

i'm interested in what folks use to mix with their madder lakes to get the just the right colour they are after. I've been working wiht bone black and van dyke brown

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The question was meant more as a conversation starter on how members mix the colours in a way that right for them. I noted above,  I'm personally looking at a warm red brown colour 

 

UL,

Assuming you are using a premixed - dry or tube - pigment, you are double dipping on the black.  Most Van Dyke browns are a red iron oxide + some form of carbon black.  Try adding your madder pigment until the color seems right...but not quite deep enough....then add a very small amount of bone black to deepen the tone. 

on we go,

Joe

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On Joe’s recommendation to add purple, I tried some Thio violet over my usual “orange” and was very pleased with the result, especially on the spruce, which is where it’s hard to get a realistic "red with brown patina.”  It’s also much more transparent than the earths and oxides.  I didn’t like the look of alizarin.

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Thanks!

 

Joe -- makes sense -- in my case i wasn't clear I use either bone black or van dyke brown -- never both together -- I find it remarkable how little you need.

 

Joe / Addie -- interesting idea idea on the violet over the orange. Never thought of that -- my natural inclination would be to try a prussian blue -- but this is kind of advice i'm looking for -- sometimes practice is more important than theory! 

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Blue didn’t do it for me, and bone black can give you a greenish color... good for “Anthro-patina” (skin contact grime), but not for the whole violin.

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