White Light

posted in: Painting | 8

Artists Like Turner or Da Vinci tint and flavor their lights to make them feel white without being white. In 1660 as Newton holds his prism to a pinhole of light he watches it subdivide into a rainbow of color. He notices that the beam of white light is composed of all the colors of visible light which he divides into seven discrete categories. He tries subdividing a single band of one of these colors again. It won’t subdivide into another color.  The accumulation of all visible wave lengths create white light. The absence of visible light waves gives us black.  Artists’ pigments work almost in reverse order.

In process printing we use black, magenta, cyan, and a process yellow  to generate all the colors your printer, book or magazine require. The three colors are translucents which make them useful in color mixing. Overlay  cyan and yellow to get a green.  Light is generated by the thinness of the color and the reflection of the brighter (usually white) substrate below.  The effect of light is not white but, tinted light. When no ink is printed we see white. I use this principle of creating light through thin translucent overlapping colors in my following examples. I am not using paint. I am using oil based printing inks .  I  use only three colors  and, unlike your printer I am not using black. I generate black by blending the three translucent colors together.

The examples begin with a photo of Rome’s Coliseum manipulated in the camera and again in Photo Elements. I compressed the Roman Coliseum to fit within a square format then vertically stretched it. I did this to both a morning photo and night photo as you see in examples 1 and 2.

In examples three and four you see the result of layering three successive colors of translucent oil inks. First was yellow deep. Second was a translucent cobalt blue, and third was Solferino violet. I was using Charbonnel etching inks. I apply the inks with rubber  rollers.  Example 3 shows the image in process . The inks have been applied to a 36×36 3mm sheet of brushed silver anodized aluminum. There is no white substrate instead, the brushed silver surface will appear white-like but more brilliant because it is more reflective which makes all the translucent colors to appear intense as if light were traveling through stained glass window. Example 4 reveals the final stage of the  image.

example 1. coliseum photo oct13,28 colosseo6a_edited-2

example 2. coliseum photo, night oct13,28, colosseo7_edited-1

example 3 step one, inks oct13,28 step one, coliseum, 36x36 - Copy

example 4, step two, inks oct13,28, step two, coliseum, oil on brushed silver ano aluminum 36x36

To help you visualize the application of the translucent oil inks onto the surface I have prepared the following examples.   Again,  I begin with a photo of a scene. This time I use Grand Central Station as the Subject. The photo in the example  ( example 5) is the result of layering and blurring the same photo over itself.  Example 6 shows you how I selectively layered ( rolled)  the yellow ink first so that it lies below the other inks and will be revealed when I go to delete  or blend overlaying colors. Example 7  shows how applied the next violet layer over the yellow and example 8 presents the final blue layer. Example nine  demonstrates how I  begin to blend and remove the inks using large stiff squeegees.          I  manipulate the ink with my fingers as well. In the last example( example 10) you see the image after I applied opaque white ink to the blue inked areas. I roll in the white ink  after blending it with blue ink.  The ratio of white to blue is variable which affects the pastel  lightness of the blues.

example 5. manipulated photo oct13,38, photo gct blurred14_edited-1

example 6. yellow layer oct13,28 step one,gct ink_edited-1

example 7. violet over yellow oct13,28 step two,gct ink

example 8. blue over all colors oct13,28 step three,gct ink

example 9. step one oct13,28 step four,gct ink_edited-1

example 10. after opaque white blending oct13,28 step five, gct,blue light, oil ink on brushed silverr aluminum,24x24





8 Responses

  1. Dear David – How interesting to see all of the steps. So great. Thanks! xox

  2. Fredric Neuwirth

    Examples # 3 & #4: The image glows w/ great color and high lites; very effective.

    Examples # 6 – #10: FIRST do you let each layer dry? or do you keep working? If you let each layer dry how long before you go the next step?
    Example #10 with the white ink allows you to further manipulate the image. It looks great!

    • Hi Fred. I do not let the layers dry before applying the next ink layer. This allows for blending of the colors or the removal of one layer from another to reveal the original yellow below….You could let each layer dry but you would sacrifice the reflectance of the substrate if you were to do so.
      Thanks, David

  3. Kay Halcrow

    Fascinating process to see these 3 media combined (digital, printing, painting) — very interesting results!

  4. I agree with Kay, superb idea of combining painting, digital and printing. Thanks for reaching out and sharing your tips and steps of painting.

  5. sherie otteson

    really interesting! i like this blog very much! loving the end results!

  6. Libiena borkovec

    This is fantastic , I had a little go but how did you remove the ink after the layers ? X

  7. Libiena borkovec

    Think I have found a new favourite blog !

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