Full Spectrum Color 1.0

I’m all excited to begin learning all the new names, and swoon, fan deck in hand, as I walk around the house dreaming of new color. Pressed Violet, Intuition, Daydream; so much loveliness — but let’s start at the beginning.

color wheel

It’s not surprising that 25 years of faux finishing and wall glazing has left me with a soft spot for full spectrum color straight out of the can. To create a masterful full spectrum wall finish using ordinary paint and glaze, my crew and I would first paint the walls in a complex color. Years of sample making made it easier to predict that a vivid fuchsia worked best for a wall glazed in red. Cooler, blue toned neutral base coat colors kept the senses busy under a warm buttery beige glaze.

blue bathroom wall

Benjamin Moore full spectrum colors: CSP-545 Sheer bliss, CSP-595 French toile, CSP-605 Dusty cornflower,  CSP-610 Intuition, CSP 615 Daydream

A sampling of color stories blues

Greens were the most fun, and layering a grey-green transparent glaze over a mint green transparent glaze and finishing things up with a water-thin blue-green glaze made for some of the most luscious wall finishes of them all. What we were after, layer of color after layer of color, was to make a broad combination of harmonious hues appear as one, leaving us with a tantalizing undertone, overtone, movement, shift, and color diversity.

various green painted walls

Benjamin Moore full spectrum colors: CSP-828 Thayer green, CSP-860 Granny smith, CSP-865 Limeade, CSP-745 Mystic lake, CSP-970 Green thumb

A sampling of color stories greens

I came to know the tinting recipe to mix my own full spectrum glazing formulas.  My collection of tints looked like a mad scientist’s messy experiment; big bottles without caps, tubes sliced recklessly to dig out the last drop of burnt umber, the names on the tubes completely obliterated by the messiness of the process.  I made notes on paint sticks as I mixed, and in time I knew which tints and how much to squeeze and stir well into the can of glaze between my knees. In time, it became second nature, but I learned early on that a yellow light tint was a poor substitute for a yellow ochre tint. Rose madder is not the same thing as alizarin crimson, and every truly great color needs a little drop of something thalo in the mix. I share these adventures with you to make the point that the choice of tints that create the final color, really, really matters.

paint cups in egg tin

You can’t make the best full spectrum paint colors with any old tints, no matter how many notes you keep or how carefully you follow the color recipe!

painted stripe on wall

A stripe combination in the Color Stories neutrals Cake Batter CSP-215 and
Paper Doll CPS-485.

I can’t say I ever thought about Sir Isaac Newton, electromagnetic radiation, the visible spectrum or even a rainbow, double or otherwise, when I was mixing my glazes. What I did know was, balancing a base coat color for strong undertone with a carefully concocted glaze color formulation made for some very stunning wall finishes. And now we can all have nearly the same depth of color and luminosity from any single Color Stories color formulation.

Benjamin Moore paint cans

I’m working on a project for our next full spectrum conversation to demonstrate how the absence of black in the Color Stories tint recipes eliminates the deadening effects of a black additive, rendering the saturated range of full spectrum formulations intense and mysterious. Meantime, you may wish to study up on Newton, and the color wheel, or just move on to color 2.0, and share your thoughts on which full spectrum colors you love the most.

color wheels

Stay colorful,


color tools from Benjamin Moore

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4 thoughts on “Full Spectrum Color 1.0

  1. Lucianna, it really feels good to read an article as I learned about Benjamin Moore 240 new colors of the Color Stories. just like you I was a faux finisher before I became interior designer. I just ordered my deck and cannot wait for it to come! I share the same experience with you and crave full spectrum color!

    • Hi Mariana
      Always thrilled to hear from a fellow faux finisher! You’ll love the full spectrum line-no more trying to squeeze out that last drop of alizarin crimson to wake up a color. Send us some photos of your rooms? Write back once you try one of those incredible color stories reds!!

  2. Hi Destined for home,

    I’m with you-never met a green I don’t like. I’m working my way though the color stories greens-budding green and lilianna are next. Thanks for the comment!

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