"You will understand that I limited myself to simple colors, ocher, cobalt and Prussian blue, Naples yellow, sienna, black and white...I refrained from choosing 'nice' colors"...Vincent Van Gogh
I had never read this quote before, but I love learning what colors other artists "can't do without" and I immediately wanted to try his palette in order to see what he saw. Used to mixing with my lively orange-red, cad red light, my first thought is "where is his red?" but then I see sienna (a sad substitute for red in my world), and I realize that "red" is actually in several of his muted opaque colors as well...I know that pigments have changed over the years so I did a little research and discovered that the ochers and siennas were even more opaque when Van Gogh used them in the 1800s. Cobalt blue came into existence in 1804 and, along with Prussian blue (a warmer blue that was accidentally discovered), both are semi-transparent colors. Naples yellow is and was a warm yellow (meaning that it also has red in it), but was formally heavily (and dangerously) leaded. And because they can be warm, cool, transparent, semi-transparent or opaque, I'm left to ponder "which black" did he use?...and don't even get me started on the different whites. Oh! and the Cadmiums were not even introduced until the 20th century, giving way to transparencies 19th century painters could only have dreamt about as they attempted to thin down their opaques. Personally I think Vincent would have loved my cad red light...or would he have dismissed it as too 'nice'? Sigh...yes, folks, THIS is just the sort of thing that keeps me awake at night as I attempt to solve this splendid puzzle and mix his colors in my head. Hopeless, I know.