A Deep Orange Like Blue Olive Is A Retiring Colour The Most So Of

all the colours, being the penultimate of the scale, or nearest of all

in relation to black, and last, theoretically, of the regular

distinctions of colours. Hence its importance in nature and painting is

almost as great as that of black; it divides the office of clothing the

face of creation with green and blue; with both which, as with black and

grey, it enters into innumerable compounds and accordances, changing its

name as either hue prevails, into green, gray, ashen, slate, &c. Thus

the olive hues of foliage are called green, and the purple hues of

clouds are called gray, &c.; but such terms are general only, and

unequal to the infinite particularity of nature.

This infinity, or endless variation of hue, tint, and relation, of which

the tertiaries are susceptible, gives a boundless license to the revelry

of taste, in which the genius of the pencil may display the most

captivating harmonies of colouring, and the most chaste and delicate

expressions; too subtle to be defined, too intricate to be easily

understood, and often too exquisite to be felt by the untutored eye.

Nature always melodizes by imperceptible gradations, while she

harmonizes by distinct contrasts. At different seasons we have blossoms

of all hues, variously subordinated; and when the time of flowers may be

considered past, as if she had no further use for her fine colours, or

were willing to display her ultimate skill and refinement, Nature

lavishes the contents of her palette, not disorderly, but in multiplied

relations, over all vegetal creation, in those rich and beautiful

accordances of broken and finishing colours with which autumn is

decorated ere the year decays and sinks into olive darkness.

As a rule, no colour exists in nature without gradation, which is to

colours what curvature is to lines. The difference in mere beauty

between a gradated and ungradated colour may be seen by laying an even

tint of rose-colour on paper, and putting a rose leaf beside it. The

victorious beauty of the rose, as compared with other flowers, depends

wholly on the delicacy and quantity of its colour gradations, all other

flowers being either less rich in gradation, not having so many folds of

leaf; or less tender, being patched and veined instead of flushed. It is

not enough, however, that colour should be gradated in painting by being

made simply paler or darker at one place than another. Generally, colour

changes as it diminishes, and is not only darker at one spot, but also

purer at one spot than elsewhere; although it does not follow that

either the darkest or the lightest spot should be the purest. Very often

the two gradations more or less cross each other, one passing in one

direction from paleness to darkness, another in another direction from

purity to dulness; but there will almost always be both of them, however

reconciled. Hence, every piece of blue, say, laid on should be quite

pure only at some given spot, from which it must be gradated into blue

less pure--greyish blue, or greenish blue, or purplish blue--over all

the rest of the space it occupies. In Turner's largest oil pictures,

there is not one spot of colour as large as a grain of wheat ungradated;

and it will be found in practice that brilliancy of hue, vigour of

light, and even the aspect of transparency in shade, are essentially

dependent on this character alone; hardness, coldness, and opacity,

resulting far more from equality of colour than from nature of colour.

Given some mud off a city crossing, some ochre out of a gravel pit, a

little whitening, and some coal-dust, and a luminous picture might be

painted, if time were allowed to gradate the mud, and subdue the dust.

But not with the red of the ruby, the blue of the gentian, snow for the

light, and amber for the gold, could such a picture be produced, if the

masses of those colours were kept unbroken in purity, and unvarying in


Olive being usually a compound colour both with the artist and mechanic,

there are few olive pigments in commerce.


may be compounded in several ways; directly, by mixing green and purple;

or indirectly, by adding to blue a smaller proportion of yellow and red,

or by breaking much blue with little orange. Cool black pigments,

combined with yellow ochre, afford eligible olives; hues which are

A Corrupt Name From Cendres Bleues The Original Denomination Probably A Mixture Which Is Also Known As Brunswick Green Fine Bright Greens facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail