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  • ok I am trying to paint this...I am having so much trouble mixing the has got so I can barely tell what is darker and lighter...apart from the bloody obvious...the RHS is dark and the light is predominately in the upper and LHS.

    BUtT when I mix the paint it doesn't look the same on the palette as on the looks too dark when placed against the photo then is too light on the canvas..

    I am going crazy

    anybody had similar issues? is it me is it green is it because it's not straight colour but a mix of darks with lights really thin stripes (not the veins but the actual meat of the leaves

    sometimes I just can't see

    thank you for any help  :s :#

  • dencaldencal -
    edited June 2018

    Greens are the most difficult to match. The Queen of Green, PaulB or tassieguy would be the best source of advice.

    It sounds to me that your lights are unbalanced in strength or temperature.

    Suggest getting your photo, palette and canvas in the same plane and at the same elevation.
    Do everything possible to even up the light levels on all three items.
    Check that glare or reflection is not influencing your perception.
    Buy, borrow or steal a sensitive light meter to confirm uniform levels.
    There are some useful iPhone/IPad apps to measure level and temp of light.

    Premix a warm and cool string of numbered green values and paint by numbers. Leave odd values patches blank til the end for special treatment.

    Pace yourself with breaks to relieve eye fatigue. Remember that it never looks right til finished.


  • Yep I agree with Denis - sounds like a lighting issue. Do you have a laminated photo or are you trying to do this from a screen? If the latter, I suggest getting a photo as that will make life much easier.

    Once you get your photo + palette illuminated consistently and to your liking (and the illumination is constant over time and not affected by ambient light), then the photo becomes your stable reference point, and colour checking with dabs of paint directly on the surface should help with the mixing and matching process.
  • @dencal and @Roxy...thank you both....I immediately went and levelled everything...I'll look for the iphone app...
    that's an interesting approach @dencal re the strings of cool and warm values...I'll try that as there are def bluer greens and yellower greens in the photo 

    I also cut the photo in thirds vertically to make it easier to manipulate closer to the palette

    thanks heaps really...

    kindest thoughts

  • Judith

    About a year ago my research showed this one to be very useful.

    called LuxMeter+ it has a Spectrum analyser a color temp reading and an av lux (reflected light) for a subject. If the spot reader is enabled it gives lux reads for anyplace you tap.

    can be used for live images on your camera in the act of photography, eg still life. Also useful for images stored on file or downloaded.

    Documentation is non existent but it tells me what I need to know.


  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Great advice.  I would add:

    Mix and check your colors under good illumination.  Then put the color on the canvas, and at this point STOP thinking about how bad it looks.  Don't make any color corrections on the canvas.  It's going to look awful and wrong. This is normal, they always do.  You just have to trust the system and keep going, and once you have most of the canvas colored you'll suddenly start to be glad that you trusted the color mixing and didn't adjust on canvas.

    Make color decisions on the palette and against the reference.  Make brushstroke placement decisions on the canvas.  Don't mix the two.
  • @PaulB is so right.. trust your color checking. It will look so wrong, until it all starts to look right. Right now I am painting a jockey and the skin tone looked like a bad impersonation of Trump. haha SO orange... but I know that the colors are right,..and the more I fill in around him, the more it is starting to look correct. Keep on keepin' on! Its a wonderful image and will be a beautiful painting! 
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Oh, and by the way, you'll need Phthalo Blue to match the greens in that photo.
  • dencal said:

    Greens are the most difficult to match. The Queen of Green, PaulB or tassieguy would be the best source of advice.

    It sounds to me that your lights are unbalanced in strength or temperature.

    Premix a warm and cool string of numbered green values and paint by numbers. Leave odd values patches blank til the end for special treatment.

    Pace yourself with breaks to relieve eye fatigue. Remember that it never looks right til finished.


    @dencal - what a depth of experience!  My take away: 1) greens are the most difficult to match, 2) pace yourself with breaks to relieve eye fatigue. I hope I remember this moving forward.

    @judith - sometimes I just can't see either :-( I can't even imagine how Michelangelo managed a month much less 4 years painting the the Sistine chapel.
  • @PaulB and anyone else:

    How would you mix colors to match this photo? You mention pthalo blue. Would you still use ultramarine blue as part of the mix? And what about yellows? Just cadmium yellow? cad yellow light? lemon yellow? are there yellows you would stay away from... sometimes yellow ochre is good in an earthy landscape, but this photo looks very crisp, clear, and completely unmuddied. 

    @judith I'm just wondering what you have used so far to mix your greens? I live in Wisconsin and at the risk of boasting, we have some of the most beautiful landscapes in our state. But greens are a bear to match. So I'd be interested in hearing what you've tried so far. 
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    @Renoir, first I would see how bright a green I can get with Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine Blue.  When I mix those in a 2:1 ratio I get a nice bright green.  But it's not bright enough for that picture.

    So I try again, 2:1, this time using Phthalo Blue.  I get this, which make me realize I can achieve those brightest greens using phthalo, but not ultramarine.

    The top green is CY + UB, and is not bright enough.  The bottom one is CY + PB.

    I would start with CY, and add small amounts of PB.  I would avoid white because it will kill the chroma.  If any color is too bright, I would add tiny amounts of red to reduce chroma.
  • Oh my goodness, this is so helpful. It makes a big difference seeing it. I don't know why but I have been leaning heavily dark on all my paintings with foliage. 
  • @dencal that looks amazing!..I have downloaded free Lux lightmeter but not the "plus" will look at that and see if it works on photo prints...looks great but have to see if too complex for me  :#

    @PaulB whew thanks for that..I'll purchase the PB ...I think it's possibly needed in the darker steps as well as I cannot seem to get the right type of green to match those. BUT FIRST I have purchased an extra light to give greater illumination as you suggested. 

    @PaulB ; and  @JessicaArt re: Colour checking...I assiduously colour check as I am so particular about values...but as said in the beginning I am not getting consistent's fine on the palette but not on the canvas...I mean REALLY NOT RIGHT...I think it's the positions aren't correct as @dencal observed. I ended up holding the palette up vertically to get it alongside the photo to get values but still  couldn't get the green colour accurate...kept seeing blue in the 3rd darkest values on the photo and was stuck from there trying to get that blue tinge without darkening and/or adding white which didn't  helped a bit so did burnt umber but to even out the yellow but just can't get the right type of green..maybe the PB will help even in the darks??
    As an aside I tried the other blue we use for strong colour but it's wayy too blue

    @Renoir your question re what I've tried so far ...I think is answered in my response to PaulB....I usually only use the 5 colours from the Carder Method but that wouldn't give me the right type of I have been chasing paint round and round in circles of colour not getting there...I won't go outside of the CM colours except in the most acute of cases and this is one of those!!

    So until extra light and PB arrive on to next stretching stapling and drawing...

    THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH..for EXTRAORDINARY assistance and encouragement and support..where else could I go and get such !!
  • judithjudith -
    edited June 2018
    I will boast!!
    here is where I live..taken with drone so a little blurred  sorry

  • @movealonghome ; thanks so much for that vote of confidence  :3 ...I certainly haven't had issues in the past but clearly haven't been doing landscapes or vegetation before!!
  • RenoirRenoir -
    edited June 2018
    Boast away, @judith ! What a marvelous home setting <3
  • @PaulB is that the winsorblue green shade you are talking about same as Phalo blue?? I will try that again then
  • judithjudith -
    edited June 2018
    ahhhh seriously obsolete post here so edited by moi
  • maybe the fluorescent ones

  • Are there greens that can't be made with phthalo blue ultramarine blue and yellow and white? I've wondered whether the other blue and green colours are necessary to make some greens
    For the highest chroma greens you do need Phthalo Greens (PG7 or the more yellowish PG36). However you probably don't need that much chroma for realism paintings.

    What PG7 and PG36 are useful for though is that when mixed with a yellow oxide / yellow ochre they give an opaque slightly muted (i.e. more natural) green.
  • don't forget the greens made with yellow and burnt umber tho they aren't much like what you mean probably
  • Such a insightful and knowledgeable thread, I have learn a lot. Thank you everyone!
  • So...after going to the source photo to upload I noticed my print is much much darker...i hadn't noticed before ... so many of the details are lost but the most frustrating thing is...the shadows in the print are very very small very dark dots over lighter colours...I am unable to distinguish the shadows as colours...regardless of illumination...I did notice that printing company also did a bad job on another photo file...lost all the detail I will need a much better quality print 

  • hi all I have been preparing and painting canvasses...and looking at the prints of what I want to paint...looks like I'll have to take my original sources to a new printer and get glossy prints 

    so Ive just been painting backgrounds till then (Friday)

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