Colors for a Tonalist Palette
Inspired by the French Barbizon School of painters, the first to break with academic tradition and to paint en plein air in the early 19th century, American Tonalist painters emphasized feeling and mood in their landscape paintings. Specific time of day and season became the subject, chosen to evoke both drama and tranquility.
While close control of values is a hallmark of Tonalism, these paintings were and continue to be about color as much as about value. Color was modified, held in reserve, by complementary mixing to create neutrals and keeping edges soft to create space and atmosphere.
Our Colors for a Tonalist Palette provides vibrant primaries along with useful colors to control values and create atmosphere, including our warm Ship Rock and the new French Anthracite Gray. Use it with your existing palette, or pair with our Corot Landscape Set or our Set of Color and Light that features colorful chromatic grays.
Colors for a Tonalist Palette - Presented in a slim, cardboard box with foam lining for safe and easy transport. Eight colors, 40ml size tubes:
Prussian Blue - Always mixing towards the green, our genuine Prussian Blue easily creates deep greens with transparent yellows and soft tones of turquoise with whites or extra pales.
Rosso Ercolano Extra Pale - Colorful but very natural warm pink, with a delicate glow. Useful as a softly warm white in building flesh tones or atmospheric skies, this captivating opaque pink can suggest both light and a tender touch with a single stroke.
Mars Yellow - Cool earthy yellow, brighter and stronger than a natural ochre. Splendidly rich and opaque, it's easily tinted with whites into colorful yet natural tones or deepened with transparent blacks into greenish golds.
Ship Rock - Bringing a hazy distant warmth to mixtures, this light warm gray makes warm or cool colors more atmospheric without any dulling.
Orchid - Luminous but cool soft violet tint. Useful as an opaque colorful highlight in landscapes and still lifes, or to modify strong primaries, or complement warm earths into colorful neutrals.
Cadmium Yellow - As abundant in warmth as a yellow can be, extra strong and opaque. This single pigmented, chemically pure Cadmium is perfect for mixing natural greens with cool blues.
Basic Red - Bright coral red right from the tube, our Basic Red is a semi-transparent warm mixing primary red. Offers great control in building flesh tones or other mixtures that might need a more nuanced addition of a warm red to adjust for value and tone.
French Anthracite Gray - Semi-transparent and neutral in tone, this unique very dark gray-black is gentle in mixing strength. Offers great control in adding shadow or weight to mixtures.
To learn more about Tonalism, including numerous examples form both past and present day painters, visit the website of the American Tonalist Society here.
Visit our blog vasaripaintpov for a new post about this set with color mixing examples and works by early American Tonalist painters.
A Winter Sky, by George Inness, 1866, oil on canvas, The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, is shown above as an example of an early American Tonalist oil painting.
Edge of the Woods, by Deborah Paris, oil, is also shown as an example of a modern American Tonalist painting. Visit the Deborah Paris website here to view more of her work and to access The Landscape Atelier, now in its second decade of online instruction for landscape painters!
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