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WIP - Ground Cover (mixing practice)

I took a photo in my garden of some ground cover, and I'm painting it.  It only has one color (green), and so is a  color mixing practice painting.  I'm reluctant to work on DMP #1 while I still have color mixing difficulties.  I'm guilty of blending, but I really do feel I need the color mixing practice.

It's a 9" x 12" wood panel, primed and painted a neutral brown, although that color was thinned down too much, and now it looks just like the wood grain it started with.

It started out very slowly, but I'm finding I can mix a color much more rapidly as this progresses.  That makes it feel worthwhile, although it is quite complex. it's simple than a giant pine cone.


  • PaulB

    A great exercise. I am terrible with green values and have generally avoided them. I should do a similar painting. 

    Your ground cover is looking good. Don't worry about the light toning. It is sufficiently dark to prevent your vision being blinded by the gesso whiteness as to the true value balance in your painting.

  • Good work! This looks like vegetation peeking through irregular cut-outs in a plank of wood. You picked a good idea for an exercise. Trust your color checker!!!!!!!!!!
  • SummerSummer -
    edited June 2017

    @PaulB Dan Nelson said in one of his videos: " Green is a very dangerous color. It can really get away from you. It has to do with the way that we are made and the nature of the color itself."  I don't know what he meant exactly by it having to do with the way that we are made but he may mean it's an evolutionary thing, needing to see predators hiding in the greenery means that we see more shades of it than the other colors.  Though I use tube greens at times, I get better results if I don't use them.  Summer

  • Looks good so far. I agree trust the colour checker... Giant pinecones and fields of green leaf alike are ripe with optical illusions. Don't get lost!
  • Looking good so far, @PaulB.  I love greenery. If you want to see some examples of beautifully painted greenery have a look at @EstherH's work. She's a member here at the DMP forum. Her stuff is truly amazing.
  • @dencal Thanks.  Good to know the light toned background is adequate, because I have a lot more of it mixed.

    @BOB73/@movealonghome Thanks.  No color checker for this - I'm testing every color directly on an 11" x 17" laminated photo, so it better be right.  I thought that a thorough approach would be best, and hopefully I'll be done by next year.

    @movealonghome You're right, the illusions are many.  After mapping out a grid, and drawing the leaf outlines, I now find there are lines that end, and don't go anywhere (there are some in the photo), so I'm finding myself filling in gaps with the pencil as I paint.

    @Summer Thanks, I've heard that too - the eye is just better are distinguishing between green shades than other colors.  Whenever I use tube greens I find I'm spending all my time fighting to change the colors, because they are so powerful.  I've already had to redo various leaves because the color wasn't right, or in once case because I painted the wrong leaf.

    @tassieguy Thanks.  I just went and looked at a half dozen of Esther's beautiful vegetation paintings.  Oh boy.  Those are magnificent.  I cannot imagine Esther's thought process, having a blank canvas and a field of five hundred cabbages.

    @JeffAllen Thanks.  Now that summer is here, I went and took a whole load of photos in the garden, so I will have enough things to paint, or at least choose from for a while.
  • This is terrific - looks like your DMP #1 to me!
  • Looking fantastic. Looking forward. Enjoy!
  • EsterH and tassieguy look out, there's a new kid on the block!!!
  • Yes, @BOB73, that's just what I was thinking. :)
  • Thanks @dencal, @tassiguy, @Forgiveness.  @BOB73 Thanks, but I can't agree with that.

    @Roxy Thanks, but I'm not sure spending a week with a rigger brush, no abstraction, and losing my eyesight counts.  That said, I feel much more confident about color mixing now.

    I do actually have a DMP painting in progress, although it's at the black plus one step stage, and it looks all wrong as expected.  It is demanding a lot of faith in the process.
  • I'm planning on painting some greens soon too. Hope mine looks that good! Lots of depth already
  • Keep at it, @PaulB. It's coming along nicely. The final effect will be like a wonderfully rich and varied  tapestry.
  • Thanks @BOB73, @tassieguy.  I'm going to finish this.  I'm already dreaming of one day using red paint.
  • I cannot wait to see it finished,awesome!! :)
  • This really is fantastic
  • It's ok you've missed this year's blooms, you have a lot going for this already just as is, that's great. The lovely flowers would have certainly made it more challenging. It's good to take your time and go slow.
  • Thank you @rautchetan, @Kaustav, @tassieguy, @Roxy and @Forgiveness.

    There are a few of the white flowers in the photo, and I've already painted one of them.  They are almost pure white though, which will make things tricky.
  • This is a dangerous time for a painter. When the end is in sight we start getting anxious to finish and start to rush things. So as @Forgiveness said: "take your time and go slow." This is amazingly good but now patience is equally important as skill.
  • @BOB73 Indeed, @Forgiveness is right, proceeding very slowly, which is my only speed anyway.

    Further slowed by the need to pick off the insects every time I sit down to work on it.  This painting is like fly paper.  I'd like to think they are all fooled by the realism, but I think it's the taste of the paint.  New product idea: Geneva insect trap.
  • @PaulB I find if I wear light bright colors outdoors while painting, the insects are less attracted to me. Helps to keep me cooler if I want that as well. And then there is insect repellent of course. I hope this helps. You are so close to finished, I'm looking forward.
  • Get some marigolds (flowers) clip them to back and sides of palette and panel. Purple Martins work well too but it takes a long time to train them.
  • I like the look of it "half done"! Nice work.
  • It's great, @PaulB. I can't wait to see it vanished. If you don't want to wait months before vanishing you could just oil it out to bring back the darks immediately and then varnish later. See Mark's video on oiling out.
  • This is looking Fantastic !!!
  • @tassieguy Thanks.  Am I right in thinking that oiling out the painting will delay the varnishing until the oil has dried again?  I don't think Mark mentioned this.

    @rautchetan Thanks!
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited June 2017
     Looks great!!       Am I wrong that oiling out is done just prior to varnishing? I also thought it was good to oil out before going over painted areas before adding details and highlights???
  • I want to see a "perfect" picture of this when finished that accurately represents the colours. Maybe just wait until you're done to oil it out for a good photo? :D
  • PaulBPaulB -
    edited June 2017
    @BOB73 It's my understanding that oiling out is optional, and intended to reveal the true colors so you can match them and continue with work.  Not really necessary if varnishing is the next step.  Once done, I think it has to dry again before varnishing.  Just my understanding, based on my whole 14 weeks of experience.

    @movealonghome Yes, the next photo will be a good one I hope, complete and varnished, taken outdoors.  All these photos so far are indoor, with a phone, under a warm colored lamp with a mix of wet and dry paint.

    On a related note, my 5000K bulbs arrive today.
  • I really like it.  Its gonna be a stunner when its done.  You ran into the same problems that Delashaw and I experienced.  We have resorted to snapcaps and refrigeration.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited June 2017
    @PaulB, that's a lot of KBulbs.
  • BOB73 said:
    @PaulB, that's a lot of KBulbs.
    @BOB73 It certainly is, and to think I only needed one.

    I installed the new bulb and finished the painting.  This took a little more time than expected because the daylight bulb showed me the error of some of my color mixing, and I couldn't resist fixing the worst of those mismatches.  I did not fix all of them though, and I'm stepping back, pleased to be finished.  I will now let it dry and then varnish it.

    Thank you everyone for the feedback, I am learning a lot, thanks to all of you.

    On to my next training exercise...
  • Congratulations. I'm looking forward to the unveiling.
  • edited June 2017
    Fantastic! @Paul_B. I'm currently going to be working on wood panel, this is a very good example and perfect for my subject matter, a flower.
  • the painting is like a mood relaxant  =)
  • I love greenery. This is excellent work; worth the extra effort.
  • Looks great. You varnished it 3 weeks after completion?
  • Thank you everyone for the encouragement and kind words.

    @Forgiveness I'm really happy with wood panels and I'll stick with them for now (not just because I have 76 of them sitting here).  Don't forget to prime the back of them too, because otherwise they warp.  I put one coat primer on the back, and three on the front.  That stops the warping, I think.  I have others that were unprimed on the back, and they are no longer flat.  There is an Andrew Tischler video about this, even though I did not faithfully copy his advice:

    I'm going to try a large aluminum panel at some point, because I like what I've read from @Roxy, @dencal, and I feel I would enjoy a 24" x 48" panel (like the Lockhart painting by @mchewett), which would keep me happy for weeks.

    @anwesha Thank you, I agree, especially now it is finished.

    @BOB73 Thank you, that's very kind.  Now I've painted all-green, and (with the basement) no-green, I think I want a nice balance in between.  I have grown to like the combination of green organic forms and the brown/grey straight lines of industry.

    @movealonghome Yes, started May 29th, varnished June 29.  Because I'm painting on a very porous matt surface (primer on wood), painting very thinly with a rigger brush (no great dollops on the canvas), and no layers, the thing was bone dry about a week after it was done, with the exception of the white flowers, which only yesterday were dry enough to resist indentation by fingernail.  Also, I've been itching to varnish it and see the colors come back to life.
  • edited June 2017
    Thanks for the tip @Paul_B, I got the top ok and be sure to coat the back. I suffer a lot of very humid weather and severe cold in winter here also which will inevitably cause damage as such.
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