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DMP 3 Hosta leaf

Next up is a hosta leaf with water droplets.  The first reference photo is reasonably close to the actual  color and values.   The drawing is being done with the aid of a grid.  It feels a bit like cheating but I guess it's no different than any of the jigs I use in my woodworking.  A black and white print should help with the values on this piece. There is still a ways to go on the drawing. The plan is to treat the drops like any other value and color on the piece.   The lighter part of the upper background seems a bit distracting so I may just keep the values darker there. 


  • There it is.  Nice and slow now, check every color.
  • This is going to be great 
  • We’re all going to learn from watching you do this. Looking forward to seeing you progress.  
  • So far more values are being added to this drawing than I have on the others. The darker values ard being aded with vine charcoal. 

    I've been playing with green color mixing and started a chart.  Not so much as a reference though it should help there but to get a better feel for what colors do when you mix them.

    As I  noted on a different thread, although my palette lighting is only a little bit less bright than on the canvas, the horizontal vs vertical position of each has a big effect and I`m not sure what to do about that.  The color on the horizontal palette appears much different in hue and value compared to the canvas. There is no glare.  I  don't want to add anything to the paint and people who've placed their palette in a vertical position complain of oil separation. Do you just get used to the difference and accomodate for it when mixing?

    Also, the plan was to place the dark values first then progressively lighter values as Mark suggests. BUT, that would likely cover the lighter green lines defining the leaf veins.  Just paint up to those lines and add those light values last anyway? Suggestions?

    I will definitely need to use a Mahl stick for this one. 
  • Painting darks first doesn't overlap with the light leaf vein color.  It would if you were painting in layers, but you're not.
  • What is a hosta? if you mix horizontally but paint vertically it is ok as long as you color-check vertically in the same light.
  • @PaulB I will follow the dark to light plan. This will definitely be one of those works that looks odd until the end. 

    @BOB73 A Hosta is a large leafed shade plant that is ubiquitous around us in Wisconsin.  It’s super easy to grow and there are hundreds of varieties.

    I’m color checking right up against the photo. It would just be easier if it looked more alike. In addition to the orientation issue relative to the light is the issue of adjacent color relativity.  While I knew about it intellectually, the degree of the effect is still a constant shock.
  • Dark to light is good.  I painted a leaf and put in the veins first, but my leaf was more varied, so I think you are doing just fine.
  • Trust your color checking. If it works on the photo it is the right color to paint on the canvas even if it looks different on the palette you're going to hang the painting on the wall not the palette.
  • This is totally the mixing green lesson that was anticipated.  I changed the upper right corner background and some of the lighter values there of twigs need to be adjusted.  The dark area near the stem may be too dark making the thin green piece of plant going across appear brighter than it should be.  Or maybe its value is just wrong too. 

    Of course I forgot to spray a fixative over the drawing before I started painting.  So far it is not showing through anywhere and I'm not going to do anything about it now.
  • Seems to be going well, @Wishiwaspainting. The green values look good.  It's at a difficult stage at the moment with only half the canvas covered. I look forward to seeing it again once you get more done. :)
  • @tassieguy , @Datura thank you.  I don't know why greens are such a challenge but they are.  Especially the more rich, light valued greens.  Trying to lighten them I too often get lemon or grey (too much blue).  Suggestions are welcome.  The upper rows especially are more yellow than I wanted though the photo makes them look even more yellow than they are.  Lots of canvas still showing through on the part already worked and lots to fix when it's all covered.

  • I think you are doing quite well! I certainly would be interested in what you find out about mixing greens.
  • It's look great - keep going 
  • @movealonghome I've only been using the French Ultramarine. I'll get the pthalo blue. I was starting to think I was crazy.  Thanks!!!
    @alsart thank you.
  • @movealonghome I've only been using the French Ultramarine. I'll get the pthalo blue. I was starting to think I was crazy.
    I'm pretty sure all these colors are reachable without phthalo.  For the lightest greens, start with a clean brush and yellow, and add small amounts of blue, and you'll see some very bright greens.  Keep the white out of the mix until the last moment, if necessary to desaturate.

    Phthalo is great, and necessary for many greens, but not (I believe) these.
  • @Wishiwaspainting   are your color charts helping at all?  You should find something very close with all of the colors you made.  You had some beautiful combinations.  This is looking great.
  • try adding touches of the burnt umber - touches of the red in some - touches of the black (I know you already did your black/yellow beautiful greens) -  I just don't want you to get discouraged.  If it is close - it is close enough as Mark says in one of his videos.

  • @PaulB, @Julianna ; The charts did help in getting a much better understanding of what happens when colors are mixed.  The process of actually making the charts was more useful for me than just studying them. The problem I'm having now is with the lighter colored greens. I've tried a variety of ways: starting with a very dark bright green of 50/50 yellow and blue then toning it down to get the value then hue. I've also started with just yellow and then added  blue and then white as Paul has suggested. If I add almost any red or burnt umber to the mix it dulls the color down enormously especially with the red which is very intense in the Geneva set. So the problem for me is with the very light colored bright greens. It is worth it to me to try the pthalo blue. 
  • You could try viridian, @Wishiwaspainting. It makes gorgeous greens.
  • @tassieguy  Which viridian brand would work best with the Geneva paints? Which medium would you use? I’ve  been spoiled having only used the Geneva paints. 
  • edited February 2018
    I've only tried WN viridian which is very nice. I used it in y Rhubarb painting which you can see here: :) 
  • @tassieguy That rhubarb is an awesome painting. It really jumps out at you. Thanks for the reference. In more experienced hands all the greens can probably get done with the basic Geneva paints. But so far I have spent hours trying and failing. So, I will try some viridian and/or pthalo blue now too. The idea of a small palette is appealing for many reasons but it seems that some other paints may have their moments too. I really appreciate everyone's input. It has been invaluable. 
  • That's very good.
  • edited February 2018
    @movealonghome This is an 8 x 10. You are correct about the upper left. In painting more loosely there the lines got a bit lost and I was less faithful to the original on most of the top half. I also painted that before getting the pthalo blue and the colors are just more off there. Finally, switching styles of painting in the middle is not a super great idea and this painting  feels like several different parts that don't fully hold together with each other. 

    The pthalo blue probably wont get used very much and only teeny amounts were needed but it makes a big difference. I'm glad I  have it. There will be some tweaks made until I feel like I've learned what I can from the piece.

    As for time invested I have no idea. I've had two operations in the past 5 weeks including back surgery so my method now is to intermittently stand for brief periods all day to tolerance.  The rest of the day has been spent reading all kinds of books on painting and watching videos. Putting all the theory into practice is easier said than done. 
  • I think you've done a wonderful job! Frankly, I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole! So much detail and if you don't do it right it could just look like a mass of green (it would if I tried to paint a close up of a Hosta leaf).

    I've only been painting for 6 months, but I think it's good to experiment a little bit. Ok, so now you learned not to switch styles in the middle of a painting, but what did you learn about your style in the process? Was there a certain approach that you changed with your brush stroke? These are good things to learn about ourselves as we grow in our painting and learning new things.
  • @Renoir Thank you. The style change intent was to be more loose in my brush strokes and less literal.  But I also became a bit too careless in making sure my values were right. Part of that was because I didn’t like the colors at the upper left on the photo. Changing them a bit would have been fine but where I think I went astray was in also losing the relative values. That caused a loss of the contrast as @movealonghome noted and therefore the depth and contour of the leaf. 

    I’ll probably try to tweak this a tiny bit. If it gets messed up in the process so be it. But it really bugs me the way it is. 
  • Well done! It is beautiful and I like those water drops expecially:) I'm sure now u are a master on mixing greens! 
  • @Bobitaly, @Forgiveness Thanks for the encouragement and your help. As for mixing greens after this, bring it on  =)
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