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Art Lessons: Hue Scale

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this is a good exercise called hue scale.
Everybody should do this at home.
It's easy, it's fun, and you could do it
with your primaries,
with your secondaries, your tertiaries,
your browns, your grays, and
you could just practice with this as much
as possible.
It's a really good exercise to kind of see
how when you mix down a pure color,
how far you can get in terms of your
So obviously I'm starting out here with a
pure cadmium red medium.
And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take a
big amount of that cad red right here.
In fact that I'm just kinda scoop it up
with my palette knife and
bring it down like this.
And I'm gonna add just a little white.
See how I miraculously put the white on
the back of the palette knife that's so
I could just kinda bring it down here and
kind of mix it in to the overall.
And what I like to do is, I like to work
with big piles.
And sometimes, what I'll do before a
painting is,
I'll actually premix my colors, right,
like this.
And then I will pick it up and put it back
So I'll always have it.
Put it back on to my we paper towel.
So, you wanna really make the intervals
kind of equal if you can.
If you can make the intervals equal,
that's the best.
Cuz that will get you used to what's
called stepping.
So, when you step a value or you step a
color, you have much more control over it.
So, you have something in painting and
drawing which is called same plane, same
So, if this plane is going this direction,
as this is going direction, you're going
to have the same value.
Now that obviously holds true if the light
is coming in front of me.
If the light is falling down, you can have
same plane, same value, but
the light would probably be hotter as it
falls down my forehead and start to lose
chroma as it goes down and probably also
Here I've just put a little bit of white
on there.
And I'm just getting it down.
I like to keep my squares pretty nice and
neat and clean.
So I will come in with my trusty and ever
present mahlstick.
Now, if I was doing a painting here I
if it's acrylic, I'm going to put it, I
can put it right on there if it's dry.
If it's not, then I can use my maulstick
like this.
See that?
And I could work all the way from here,
like that, so I could use it like that.
And if I'm doing big strokes to get a
straight line,
like this, I could use that as well.
Look at that.
I could get a beautiful, nice long line
that way.
But here I'm gonna choke up on it much
like a batter in baseball and
just get my straight.
And what I do is I, I do this.
And then I go down.
I do this.
And this is a really effective way.
Just talking about the mahlstick.
The, the, the dynamics of the mahlstick is
is a really great way to actually get
windows in buildings.
And I, I'd love to do a demo on that later
because it's a really fast and
effective way.
And I learned this from a great teacher by
the name of Gary Meyer,
who was my professor at Art Center.
I went to the Art Center College of Design
in Pasadena and Gary used to use
some kind of a ruler, not this mahlstick,
but like a ruler.
And he would set up tissue boxes as his
cities and he would paint cities.
And if you don't know Gary look up Gary
Meyer's work.
You know that Jaws poster?
He did that.
I mean that guy was a, and is, that guy is
a beast.
He's a beast, he's a freak of nature.
He did that Chicago album cover,
don't know what it's called, where you see
the building from a bird's eye
view going down in three point
He did that.
Pretty impressive stuff.
So he was my perspective teacher.
And he's actually the first one to put me
on to this.
So he was pretty dialed in.
You know, painting is hard enough, so
it's important to use as many techniques
as you can.
Obviously for me it's important because a
lot of times I'm under the gun,
and I have deadlines, and I'm working on
three or four paintings at the same time.
So it's important for me to kind of do as
much as I can do.
Imagine just getting those straights in.
Could I do it by just doing this without a
mahl stick?
Would it take me longer?
So this jump to that, that feels about
I always like to get back, by the way.
I always like to kinda lean back and look.
Just to see, to get a perspective.
Otherwise you're always here and you can't
really see what's going on,
it's a big blur.
You gotta get back.
So sometimes it's good, and I would I, I
stand at my easel a lot so
I can really get back.
If you don't have space in the place
you're working or
if you're working on a desk, you can get a
magnifying glass and
kind of do that or you can look at your
work in the mirror.
Do you take a mirror, and you actually
look at it that way, and
you can get distance.
Or look at it in a mirror that way, and
you can get distance.
Very important to get distance on your
work, even when you are doing
a hue scale or value scale or whatever,
just really important.
So see here, we're losing, we're losing
the purity of color but we're getting.
This is actually where red is not the
purest but it's at the brightest scale.
Right around here.
This is where it's the purest because it's
obviously a pure red,
but it's actually the brightest here.
I am going to go in with my trusty
straight edge, and
quickly get that in, get that in,
there, there.
And that jump is pretty big, but,
remember, acrylics are gonna dry darker.
So, every stroke that I make I'm
actually trying to factor in that that's
going to be 15% darker already.
So my brain is actually looking at it a
little bit darker.
And you squint down, and I can see kind of
good color steps there.
I don't know
what you guys are seeing in film land,
but it looks good for me up close here.
Now I just take the whole, just to make
this easy, I kind of just take [SOUND]
The entire color that I"m using, and mix
it down here.
If you do have an airbrush spraying water,
I don't recommend spraying paint through
an airbrush.
I know a lot of people do, I've done it, I
used to do it.
I just don't like to do it because the
Get not only on your skin but it gets into
your lungs and that's very dangerous.
Your splin, you're spraying plastics
through this [NOISE] so if you do,
do that, you have to wear a mask.
And don't forget you are poisoning the
atmosphere with that as well.
So, for me I don't really believe in it.
If I don't need it, and I just do
everything, I just spray water through it.
So, it's, it's you know, it's healthier,
it's healthier to just kind of,
these are you're dealing with, with
materials that, have toxic properties,
so stack the odds in your favor.
Do as much as you could do.
To kind of have a very long career and,
and if you're going to spray and use an
airbrush wear a mask, get some kind of,
get some kind of ventilation going in
your, in your studio.
A lot of off gassing with paints, so
make sure your studio is really nicely
Open up a window.
Get a fan going.
Anything you can do to, to try to.
Stay healthy.
You know if you're painting in oils I
would recommend wearing gloves.
So the latex gloves are, are not gonna be
as good as vinyl.
They just aren't as effective.
The oil paints still get in your skin.
So in terms of materials like charcoal,
charcoal is great.
Charcoal's not bad for you at all.
You know, we actually use,
they use charcoal in hospitals when
someone's been poisoned, because.
The chambers of the charcoal actually
absorb toxins.
So if you've ever had food poisoning, the
charcoal helps your body absorb it so
it doesn't circulate in your body.
There's chambers of that charcoal that
actually absorb it.
So when you're working with charcoal,
you're fine.
Might even be good for you on some level.
If you're working with pencil, pretty
It's pretty neutral.
Just basically clay and graphite.
You're working with paints, colors,
obviously you're getting into a different
So just be mindful.
There was a.
A paint around called Kasine which was
highly toxic.
There's an artist by the name of James
Berkey who did a lot of Star Wars stuff.
Tremendous, tremendous painter who used
Kasine and
did some beautiful paintings with it.
Egg tempora.
Obviously, Andrew Wyeth used a lot of egg
tempera, did some really,
really beautiful paintings with that
that's pretty neutral.
Gouache.People aren't using gouache.
When I was in school, we all used gouache.
Gouache is beautiful.
So I just, rule of thumb, is like don't
eat it even though it looks so beautiful.
Try not to.
Don't put it in your mouth.
Don't spray it through an air brush.
Just try to stay as healthy as you can be.
So, I think I went a little, and I'm just
doing this kind of fast, but.
I went a little too pinky there.
I know that it dries 15% darker, but, you
I like the step from here, to here, to
here, to here and now to here.
It's a big step, it's a bold step.
See now as I'm mixing it, look how I'm
rolling my brush, see that?
Cuz that's loading all my brush up and I'm
not getting streaks in there,
which is really good.
You cannot get streaks, because you're
just gonna put down two different
values and two different temperatures.
So here we go.
That's a better step for me.
I think it'll dry dark enough to where.
It will work so,
here is a here the temperature is starting
to really cool off.
So, now we're getting into our pinks.
More of like maybe a flesh tone.
And this is really starting to cool off.
You see how hot that is?
It's like fire.
Now it's, now it's starting to get into
like pigment into flesh and
skin and other, other kind of things.
There's no longer, this could no longer be
a flame.
This now has, the temperature has cooled
off so much it's,
it's become its own thing.
Pinky, pinky, pinky.
All right, so now, our last two.
We're gonna get a nice scoop of that.
Kinda, kinda bring it home right now.
And see that I'm, I'm mixing down and
then I'm taking my pallet knife and
rolling it over like that.
Rolling it over like that.
Scooping it up, rolling it over.
Scooping, scraping it up.
Rolling it down.
And then, like this.
[NOISE] And then mixing clockwise.
Getting that nice color.
That's a beautiful color.
Now color is really beautiful but it's all
about color placement.
Assortment of colors that make it look
You could have the most beautiful color in
the world next to,
another beautiful color but the
combination of colors are just not right.
It's really all about placement of colors.
How you use your colors.
So here we go and yeah, that feels
feels okay considering how much it's gonna
I just want to bring you down, to show you
how, this might jump a little bit more.
This might be a, a bigger interval, but
I I just want to show you how, how bright,
you can get here.
Now, I really encourage you guys to just
give this a shot.
Take a blue, a pure blue.
Mix it down you know, take a pure
try a Verdian green versus, verse a,
deep hookers green verse a sap green
Try a cad red medium verse a cad red
Verse a cad medium orange.
Verse a cad yellow.
Verse a azure yellow.
So, verse, you know, just, just give it,
just experiment with this.
Have fun with this.
This is like.
That you can learn so much.
And then all of a sudden, you're gonna
What's gonna happen is.
When you do this.
And this is really strange, but when you
start doing this stuff,
you go out into nature and your, your,
your receptors are more intensified.
And you start to see colors that you've
never seen before.
And they become more alive and more
vibrant when you do this.
It's really interesting.
And you'll know that.
You know that too when you see values.
You'll start grouping values and seeing
different shapes.
And the more exercises you do in drawing
painting the more you really experience
life on a deeper more profound level.
[SOUND] So my final one, and
I'm taking a ton of white in here, because
I just wanna make a huge jump.
Because I wanna show you guys how Pinky
Tuscadero this can be.
Remember Pinky Tuscadero from Happy Days?
I never saw that show.
I saw it on reruns.
[LAUGH] I'm 21.
Yes, there we go.
So finally, this might be a bigger jump
but I really want to show you guys.
How light you can get and how bright you
can get.
See that?
That's actually very interesting color.
It feels like a really nice grayed out
But it's just Cad Red Medium and Titanium
White, that's all it is.
That's all this whole thing has been.
And you keep going down and down.
The hue and the saturation gets less.
And the colors get a little bit brighter.
Now I don't recommend mixing down with
But, you can always, because that's, that
seems to be the go-to crutch.
Color that everybody goes for is white.
Let's mix down like it's, I need to be
lighter, so let's mix down with white.
You don't have to do that.
You have to control how you mix down.
You can have a red, and you wanna lighter
red, you know,
put a little yellow in there, see how that
You wanna desatch the red, maybe?
Now put a little green in there.
Do some complimentary color mixing.
So it really depends on what you're going
Not saying you should always avoid mixing
down with white.
I'm not saying that.
Or always avoid mixing get you know, going
lower in value with, with black.
I'm just saying that you should.
Think about what you're doing and make
sure everything looks right.
Looks like it does in nature.
We can never imitate the colors of nature.
We can only try to get the relationships
The relationships have to be close.
There you have it.
Complementary color mixing.
My hue scale, which is really a red values
And my color wheel.
So try this at home.
Have fun with it.
Play with it.
And enjoy.
Anybody could do this and
I encourage you to also do this with maybe
a group of friends.
Or kids.
Kids love this.
Kids love color, so they'll really enjoy
It's a great experiment.
Have fun.