I feel the need to rant and yall are the recipients because yall are artists and understand  NOTE: The word 'yall' is a copyrighted Missouri word and is prohibited for use by anyone other than genuine Missouri natives. The exception is IF a Missouri native gives written or verbal consent for it's use.

Ok, that being said, It gripes me how the use of color names is non standardized. I went to Hobby Lobby to buy a tube of burnt Umber. I looked at four brands and every band was different. I don't mean slightly different, I mean entirely different. One companies burnt umber looked like yellow ocher. Someone should be penalized for these heinous deeds. I think either life in prison or being tied down and have a thousand puppies set  free to lick the miscreant's toes. Or, put before a firing squad of small children armed with nerf guns, each dart having a thumbtack glued to the end.

I think we should petition Trump demanding that he make this matter top priority.

Rant over, nuff sed.

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Dear George - I do heartily agree!  The problems with colour names and tints are legendary and have been noted in previous blogs.  There are two main issues; pigment uniformity, and pigment load.

All pigments do have a specific identification number assigned, based upon their unique chemical and spectral properties.  This number can be used to check the exact pigment used in any professional grade artists colour.  If more than one pigment is used, all of them should be identified on the label or in reference material on the manufacturer's colour charts or web site.  Golden is very reliable in this regard.

The actual pigment load, or weight of pigment per unit of paint, varies from one colour to another, and also from one manufacturer to another.  Even when the same pigment is present, the final colour may vary quite considerably. 

Earth colours, like the umbers and siennas, are natural pigments that may vary depending upon their actual source.  You may find that raw sienna and burnt sienna have the exact same pigment ID, indicating the same pigment is present.  Even the coarseness of the pigment can change the colour!

Another factor often overlooked is that manufacturers use different emulsions.  Some are acrylic, some are co-polymers, and some are proprietary mixes.  The specific properties of each can have an effect upon the actual colour of the dried paint film.

So what is a frustrated starving artist to do?  If you check out the colours used by pros featured in artist magazines and web sites, you will find they often specify specific colours made by different manufacturers.  They like this phthalo green and that phthalo blue, and someone else's raw umber.  Try a different brand once in a while, but when you are happy with a given paint colour, stick with that manufacturer for that colour.  Switching brands, as you note, can result in very bad karma. 

If it is any consolation, some powdered dyes have more than 20 different names, and the same name is often given to multiple dyes!  This was one of the reasons that uniform pigment designations were developed. 

Agreed! That's why I stick to one brand, I know what I'm getting!

lots of good info here :) thanks!

I agree with you George.  I use mostly Liquitex so I know what to expect.  Brush sizes are my pet peeve.  A #4 for example from one manufacturer is quite different than a #4 from another.


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