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Vibrancies in pink

Updated: Mar 24

Hi! Today I want to address the question of vibrancy in pinks, with this flowers paintings. I guess the same question applies for skin shades. How to achieve this vibrancy with natural pigments?

Before the XXth century, the reds were limited. By using translucency and whites, oil painting became able to represent bright pinks whereas watercolors stayed in the representation of rather gray landscapes. You can find the most interesting palettes by looking for « Zorn palette ». Zorn was a famous painter known for his very talented use of a restricted watercolor palette. The availability of ready made colors changed completely the practice with impressionists.

With this revolution of synthetic pigments, it’s now so much easier to represent the bright fushia of peonies! But whatever pigments you use, you will benefit of several trick to enhance the vibrancy of your pinks:

- use several pigments like red or madder rose, and in different fashions, either very diluted or concentrated. For the natural pigments painting, my only « pink » was the reddish alizarin crimson. I also made a light purple, made with white, alizarin crimson and ultramarine.

- let the colors diffuse naturally on the wet paper like shown on the video. Try several ways: preparing the paper with water only, or with white, or greenish greys. The white will allow pigments to diffuse a bit differently from water and make interesting effects. I used a grey made with white on one synthetic painting, and a natural earth shade of grey without white for the natural pigments painting. In that case the addition of a bit of Prussian blue and black in the background, almost invisible, enhances even more the brightness of the flowers. It’s called a simultaneous contrast.

- let your brush make the job! It’s challenging but also funny!

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