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Hi from SoCal

My name is Joe. I'm interested in oil painting and in digital painting as well. I'm interested in working in a style that looks loose, and largely unblended, but with accurate drawing and color.

Two general questions that interest me a lot are:

1) how do you paint a complicated texture in a simple, but accurate-feeling way? It's hard to choose what to leave out sometimes.

2) how do you take something simple like a wall, and add interest and broken color to it, so that it doesn't look house-painted onto the canvas? It's hard to justify adding hues to something you don't actually see, but some people have a knack for it.


  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Hi Joe, welcome.

    Complicated texture:  The answers is get the values dead right, and have some interesting brushstrokes to add texture.

    If it's a very fine, small texture (fabric, freckles, blades of grass), you probably don't need to paint it at all, or maybe you paint little areas at a higher detail level, and the brain fils in the rest.  Take a look at the excellent render of books on a shelf that @bixby painted.  You'd swear you can see pages and paper, but nope, just a few brushstrokes.

    If it's a larger pattern (wallpaper, checked shirt, leaves) you can often get away with blocks of color with the occasional line.  Again, look how well @bixby painted a chair fabric, it's instantly recognizable, but certainly not full detail level.

    If you want to paint the whole texture, then that makes you me, and you'll spend a lot of time painting something people can't see.

    Simple wall:
    When you paint a wall, it's uniform color.  When you paint a painting of a wall, the light plays on it so that it is not one color, and probably not even the actual color.  If you color match every brush stroke, the result will be a wall.  It's the same answer again, get the values right at every point, and it will look like a wall, provided your brain doesn't have to make too many leaps.  So if there's an electrical outlet, or a window, it will look like a wall.
  • Thank you, that's very helpful.

    What would you say about that chair example above if the underlying chair had a lot of rolling light falloff across its curved surfaces? If I were painting digitally I might be tempted to combine a layer of a lit, white chair with a layer of flat, local color pattern, and combine the two layers with a blend mode. But I'm trying to avoid that style of painting even when digital, and keep everything to one layer directly painted.

    I guess there's nothing to it but to just be attentive and paint the patterned chair.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    If the chair above had a lot of light falling across the curved surfaces, then you'd see a lot of light and dark values, and the three-dimensional form of the chair would be really clear because the light would make curved shapes that really outline the form.  It would be beautiful, but only if you get the values right.

    Get the values wrong, and well, you have to tell people your kid did it.
  • Welcome Joe. PaulB is right.
  • Hi, @jfrancis (Joe). Welcome to the forum. :)
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