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Purpose of this Blog is to become a tool and a place where artist that collect and paint flat figures can find interesting links and news about flats, painting techniques, history and various related articles.English speaking related sites are very few but hopefully this blog will provide the collector and the painter with interesting and valuable information about the Art of the Flat Figure and everything related to it.
During the next days I will post any related info I have collected for a long time about various aspects of Flats. Techniques, photos, links, historic articles, anything that is related. Wherever possible I will including the author of the original article. I apologise if sometimes the author's name is not included. It's not intentional but it is lost through time.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Chapter 11 - The Blues & Greens

By Panos Charalampakis

The Blues & Greens

Another Swedish banner from Franzoia Serge. Nice example of shading turquoise blue.

Blue is a ubiquitous color used from antiquity since present days. A favorite color of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and later abundantly used in medieval and renaissance times. There isn’t anything extraordinary in painting and shading blue hues. Usually a deeper blue can be used for shadows with some burnt umber for shadow variations. It is advisable to shade blues with a lighter shade such as turquoise but titanium white is also used by many painters. Result is somewhat grayish in appearance so its better stick to turquoise or cerulean hue for highlighting. Prussian blue and Winsor blue are 2 very useful colors but be careful when you re using them. They have tremendous tinting power and can overwhelm easily any other colors.

Far above, Konrad Schulte’s Prussian officer of 1st Dragoon Rgt.. A 54mm own figure.
Above, Peter Ferk’s Lancer trumpeter. A 90mm figure by Quadriconcept.

Use them in small quantities adding just a hint of them in a strepped fashion. Prussian blue is a very opaque color, while Windsor blue is semi transparent. When using it, it is preferable if you undercoat with a similar color in enamels or acrylics . You should know that military blues usually have a greenish shade and they are usually dark with some exceptions, like for example the lancer trumpeter of the photo above. Straight prussian blue or with the addition of some ivory black can be used as the starting color for dark uniforms. Any shade of purple of deep violet could be used for shading, keeping ivory black only for the extreme shadows. Remember, black kills the brightness of colors. Any lighter blue like cerulean blue or some turquoise can be used for highlighting. Don’t use white. Also keep your hand a bit when highlighting otherwise the finished uniform will look faded and worn, except from when you actually are after of this effect. Sometimes I like experiment with napples yellow, or some other similar color for highlighting blue. When done with minor quantities of yellow and slowly, the greenish cast of the highlighted areas look extremely convincing, with the very tips of the highlights with titanium white.
Blue is a classic example of color with cool temperature, so it can be used to tint other colors giving them a cooler appearance. For example, some controlled glazes with very thinned blue hues can give white tunics a cooler, somewhat bluish appearance. Remember also the picture of Detlef Belasch’s bust from the chapter discussing whites.

Napoleonic Grenadiers, 30mm figures from Berliner Zinnfiguren. Unknown artist. Observe that although nearly all figures wearing full blue clothing, with variation in the mixtures, there is a visual variation in the end result.

A Swedish banner in 30mm with a green flag with the royal emblem painted by Fanzoia Serge.

Green is not a primary color. It is produced when blue and yellow are mixed. In my mind there are 2 ctaegories of greens. One is the brilliant all purpse greens we use for all eras and the other is the green hues modern military uniforms tend to use as for camouflage. Usually my green mixtures are produced randomly without any specific formula. Have in mind though that if you use transparent blues and yellows then the green will also have the transparent quality, so for basic colring it is advisable to use some more opaque blues and yellows. Try also oranges instead of yellows. The red component in them will produce some quite unsual green hues which by the way have warm tones since red is warming the coolness of the blues.. When I am looking for some modern military green usually I start either from indigo or, and please don’t scream from black. Yellow and black gives olive green tones and adjusting the black or by adding some blues all kinds of green grays can be produced. Shadows can be done with some deep tone of blue, for example Prussian blue or indigo. Try also different shades of red for shadowing. It’s the complementary color of green and its a warm temperature color so it will give warmer shadows too. Highlight with any kind of yellow. Brilliant yellows like cadmium yellow will produce brilliant highlights, while napples yellow or similar will produce toned down highlights. Again, white should be avoided, except in cases we look for worn, faded results.

A rather unusual flat of some fantastic orce creature. Painter or the origin of flat is unfortunately unknown to me. It’s a good example of olive green with excellent shading not only of green but of all details.

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