Painting with Radiants

For painters interested in exploring techniques of the past with contemporary materials, Gamblin introduces the Radiant Colors. Eight tints – mixtures of pure color and white, at Value 7 on the Munsell System. Using these Radiant tints, painters can build under paintings in the traditional manner then glaze to achieve optical effects of light and shade.

  • Tint = pure color + white   (Add white to pure color and make tints.)
  • Shade = pure color + black   (Add black to pure color and make shade.)
  • Tone = pure color + white + black   (Add black to tints and make tone.)

Using tints, painters can make the brightest paintings. Light hits the painting and bounces directly off the surface; this is a traditional form of direct painting. Using shade, painters can make deep, luminous paintings using white and tints for accents. Light captured in the paint layers makes the layers glow. Using tone, painters can build paintings by value of pure light tints and grey.

Paint like Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci used oil paints and “sfumato” technique because he wanted to make paintings that looked real. Applying purer light colors over the darker glazes, he created a warm luminosity in his paintings.

To experiment with Da Vinci’s technique: using Radiant Colors, create an under painting with Titanium-Zinc White added for brighter (tint + white) colors and Ivory Black for shade (pure color + black). Or use Radiants and Portland Greys to create impasto, then glaze with Gamblin transparent pure colors and Galkyd Painting Mediums. For an enamel-like surface, choose Galkyd. For a lighter glaze, choose low-viscosity Galkyd Lite.

Paint like Turner

J. M. W. Turner’s subject is the color of light. His paintings are color arrangements of tints and tones; he preferred painting with no deep colors or rich shades. Onto a warm-grey toned under layer, Turner applied tints and still brighter (tint+white) colors. Rather than black, he used soft light to deep neutral greys.

To experiment with Turner’s technique, try using the Radiant Colors in the light areas. Mix the Radiants with Titanium-Zinc White to make them brighter. Add Portland Grey Light or Portland Grey Medium to tone the Radiants. Mix them with Portland Grey Deep for spare dark accents. Use Galkyd Lite and transparent glazing colors to control the quality of light.

Paint like Monet

Having abandoned the studio and painters’ control of subject and lighting, the Impressionists explored the natural world looking for the transitory effects of natural light. Monet’s technique relied on an arrangement of pure colors, clean tints and white. Direct painting was the perfect technique for landscape painting.

To experiment with Monet’s technique, try using the Radiants mixed with Portland Grey Light or Medium. Consider the value of the light. Add Titanium-Zinc White to make them brighter. Add a complement (pure color+tint) or Portland Grey Deep to darken the value of the Radiants. Monet often used pure color, such as Prussian Blue, to create shadow.

Tip from Gamblin:
To make paintings more matte, use approximately 10% by volume Gamblin Cold Wax Medium rather than blot the oil out of the paint.

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