The Color of Unity

The Color of Unity

In light of the rainbow’s chromatic division,

Let us consider another revision:

Take all those colors and mix them around —

What do you get? Why, harmonius Brown!

 Brown is the color of unity,

Practical choice of this century.

We all work together to build up a town;

On canvasses too, let us all build with Brown.

 -Charity Goodwin

I have come to admire the contributory benefits of brown tones to a portrait’s detailing appearance. Although brown seems ubiquitous in our physical environments, many emerging artists overlook brown as a color of preference for portraitures; yet, without brown much art would suffer.

Brown harmonises colors well in art. I have used brown to subdue overly brilliant hues and create depth and shadow in paintings. My fleshtones use an admixture of colors, with various hues of brown for the purpose of showing my subject’s physical traits and heritage, as well as subtleties of facial expressions and necessary dimension and shadow.

I have seen novice artists not recognize the importance of browns for enhancing the effectiveness of other colors and increasing realism. It was unfortunate that brown was underappreciated by such artists, brown is essential for painting many subjects: hair, skin, eyes, animals, plants, and landscapes (just a few of the many applications that benefit from the use of this hue).

Brown is frequently used by many seasoned artists (myself included) as the first color set down in painting, and it is often the paint of choice upon which other color coats are built. Browns assist in unifying the entire color composition of an artwork.

When we mix the pigments red, yellow, and blue, the color that results will likely be one of the many varieties of brown hues. If the color looks dark, too dark to judge the resulting color, then one need only add a little white to the mix to better the brown. Which hue of brown we get will depend upon the ratios of red, yellow, and blue pigments that we combine, as well as upon the opacity or transparency quality of the individual pigments.

Browns, especially earth tones, are the oldest of pigments. In use since man’s Troglodyte days, brown pigments were a very visible element in rennaisance paintings, and they are still in heavy use today in portraitures throughout diverse areas of the world. Earth tones are easily sourced, economical and versatile. In respect to oil painting, many brown pigments dry a little more quickly than most other colors. The majority of earth tones are stable and are not known for colorshifting.

Charity Goodwin, Artist



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