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Hue, Value and Saturation

Hue, Value and Saturation adjustments are demonstrated here with Winsor Lemon, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine (Green Shade) and Titanium White oil paints. Cadmium Red and the Titanium White are mixed to raise the value of the red, which is also referred to as creating a ‘tint’. Then the three primaries are mixed to create a neutral black that is added to the red to reduce saturation and deepen value. Darker values are also called ‘shades’. Black is added to the red to show the shades of red becoming warm, dark values. Then our yellow, Winsor Lemon, is added to red which alters the hue and, as more and more yellow is added, it shifts the red to orange. Then the black mixed earlier is combined with white to come close to the value of Cadmium Red in a mid-tone grey, then it is added in increasing quantity to the red. The result is a desaturated red that retains the same value and a range of warm greys result. It is especially helpful to see the range of dark values that result from these mixtures because there are only chromatic greys in nature and a demonstration like this can help you to achieve them in your work.

Video Transcript
0:09    Hi, I'd like to show you how to adjust the hue, value and saturation of a colour. I'm going to work with this primary triad of oils; Winsor Lemon, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Green Shade, plus a Titanium White. This Cadmium Red is my starting point for exploring hue, value and saturation.

0:40    I'm going to start by mixing in Titanium White, to raise the value of the red. I'll make five values, adding more white as I go along. This set of values or tones could also be referred to as tints. I'll mix the three primaries together to make a fairly neutral black. Adding black to the red will deepen its value beneath its inherent value and will also reduce its saturation. These values could be referred to as shades.

1:51    Adding yellow to the red in increasing amounts will alter its hue and eventually we will shift it to an orange. I’m adding Titanium White to the black to bring it to, as close as I can, the same value as the Cadmium Red. By incrementally adding this mid-toned grey to the red, I can reduce its level of saturation, but retain its value. The Cadmium Red in its most pure state is prismatic. And here we have slightly desaturated and muted the primary colour.

2:41    Each adjustment is reducing the red saturation, eventually leaving us with a chromatic grey with a red leaning. With Cadmium Red, adjustments are fairly straightforward, but with the yellow, adding black results in a series of greens. This also happens when adding grey to desaturate. This anomaly also occurs when working from observation, as there is no dark yellow in nature. This is such a useful skill to master in observational painting, because in nature, we mainly see chromatic greys.

I hope you found this interesting!