Oxide red by Steve Levin

"On a visit to the De Young Museum, some years ago, I spent a little time looking closely at a still life by the American painter, Harnett. The painting had the wonderful modeling of forms that made the pots and jars look so convincingly volumetric. It was clear that Harnett had glazed several layers of low chroma color to develop these deep, translucent darks.

Steve LevinAfter this observation, I started to supplement the opaque colors on my palette with a broader range of more transparent paints, where I could find them. One of the most useful of the additions was Rembrandt’s Transparent Oxide Red. For earthy red lights on a form I can use opaque Venetian Red, while in the shadows a glaze of the Transparent Oxide Red provides the corresponding warmth in dark, translucent shades. Alternate glazes of the red oxide and ultramarine make it easy to strike just the right level of warmth or coolness in the darks. Used in very thin glazes, it is really indispensable for soft gradations into darks in flesh tones. It remains one of the most versatile colors on my palette."

USA, Steve Levin, professor at Williams College in Massachusetts and oil painter.