Saturday, September 10, 2011

Munsell Neutral Value Scale

The second Munsell exercise calls for creating value chips using the student kit's chips. In the image below the Munsell chips are upon my own painted in egg tempera on Bristol Board using natural black oxide and titanium white. Some chips I hit pretty close; others need work. Also, notice the mid values, how my paint leans to the blue. (I'm working that out now.)

Exercise 1.2

Inevitably when I describe what egg tempera is all about, the question of the yellow of the yolk comes up. Doesn't it color my paints? Usually, it seems not very noticeable at all. Pigment colors hide any yellow and often the paint is quite diluted.

But white is another story! Can you see the slight yellowing of the chip on the left? I painted that just an hour ago. The one on the right was painted last night. This is a great example of how any yellowing does indeed fade out quickly.
Titanium White
Fresh                             One Day Old


  1. It never occurred to me that the yolk might lend a yellow cast to the egg tempera until you mentioned it here- but equally interesting is how that same cast fades out so quickly, in less than 24 hours. Does the yellow cast play into your initial color mixing? (i.e. do you find your self over compensating for the yellow at first only to find that you need to glaze over a spot once dried to re-establish the original color you desired?) Not sure if that question makes sense but I don't know how else to phrase it.
    ~ gretchen

  2. I've not yet tried to imagine how far to be "off" before fading moves the hue (and maybe the value or chroma?) to it's final level. This is my first real world example of a property I was familiar with. Can't prove it yet but that first chip might still be getting whiter!

    I have been working up a more detailed response to your excellent question and now I feel it needs to go right into a post. I'm going to think about it more today and get in a bit of research.

    So, a lot more on this later today as well as a really cool surprise in mixing that came up in the wee hours of the morning. Retirement is giving me the opportunity to turn into a night owl! :-)

  3. What a fine use of the Munsell Value system! We love to find applications of the system from time to time and we thank you for sharing! R&F Handmade Paints is also using the Munsell Value Scale!