Principles of Painting


Before we had Cadmiums, Cobalts and Quinacridone pigments, we had earth colors and basic chemistry. An early nineteenth century artist, Patrick Syme, appended a catalog of colors that was published by Abraham Werner in 1814, in Edinburgh, and produced the volume Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, adapted  . . . by P. Syme, published  in 1821.

My good friends Steve and Arlone Folkers sent me a copy of the  book and I’ve gleaned information that is pertinent to a Coward’s Guide to Oil Painting. These quotations come from Syme’s book, the ‘W’ signifies original Werner. ‘S’ indicates annotations by Syme.

Azure Blue – is Berlin blue, mixed with a little carmine red: it is a burning colour. W Berlin blue is the pure or characteristic [blue]. (wing feathers of a jay bird)” W.


Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours


More to Come . . .


 Azure Blue? a plein-air painting by MM Kent