Color Group Mixing

I want to make sure I understand how to do a color group because I am kind of confused by the concept. I am guilty of mixing one color at a time and need to stop that so here is my question. As I understand color groups, the below image could be separated into two color groups which would be blues in varying steps and tan/browns in varying steps. Am I missing the concept or is that pretty much the gist of it? I used the da Vinci cause it was a simple example for me to wrap my head around.


  • All I could tell you is how I'd do a study of this painting for mixing color. I start at the top and work my way down the scene.

    The first row of colors I'd mix would be the varying blues. Like the sky on my computer I see a muted blue of about 5 values and a about two color piles of the blue that has a bit of greenish yellow in it. Then I'd probably mix up the brownish colors on her right (viewer left) still in the background. Then another row of her head, neck and chest. Then her blue garment. The child appears to be the same colors as the woman so I'd work off of the woman's pile of colors I mixed. Lastly a few piles of the very dark foreground beneath the child.

    That is how I'd tackle it. Start from the top and work your way down. Not sure if this answers your question or not. Hope it helps. take care, tj
    [Deleted User]AnnetteJ
  • It does to an extent, I guess I am trying to figure out whether the groups are "Okay here is the steps of blue I will need for the entire painting and these are the varying shades of flesh and browns" or if it is more "Okay, Mother and child use these steps of color, the sky uses these steps of blue, and the background uses these steps of brown".

    Are we look more at object groups or color on the whole I guess is my question.
  • As Kingston said, this is tough, this is a very uncommon subject and nothing like a color photo from life, or even if this scene was before you and you used a color checker, the colors would be very different. This is almost a two tone painting, as you said, brown and blue... monochromatic in each group except where they blend a bit.

    So, I think you are right. Just treat it as two color groups, blues and browns. Mix good steps from dark to light for each. You can then blend the two groups together to get the blended areas.
  • I choose this representation of this painting on purpose because it was a simplified down color scheme or the original. I was not concerned with this actual painting in anyway, I was more concerned with figuring out HOW to recognize a color group and not so much the color groups within an individual work. Thanks for the answer.
  • I do understand what you are both saying though, this is another one I found. It's impossible for them to capture the likeness of the image as if you were in front of it yourself for the most part.
  • edwardedward -
    edited June 2013
    Has anyone noticed that the child in the picture at the very top has a cleft lip? Someone's idea of a joke?
  • edward said:

    Has anyone noticed that the child in the picture at the very top has a cleft lip? Someone's idea of a joke?

    The eyes have been changed as well.
  • Imagine that each of these colors were in your painting. Each line is a "color group"


    I usually start with the largest amount of a given color. As you suggested, blue might be a good place to start. Mix the blue that matches, lets say, the middle tone of the robe, then match the darkest part of the robe, then match the lightest part of the robe. And so on until you have a version of blue for every blue that you see.

    I was was already used to working this way, but learned it as mixing a "color string". And generally used the 11 step Munsell value scale as a check to make sure I had enough "space" in between the value step.

    I hope this helps.
    [Deleted User]jswartzart
  • @Karen Thank you! that is exactly what I was asking, I wanted to make sure I was not looking at an object's color group and instead was looking for a spread of a given color throughout the painting. Much Appreciated!
  • There were many, many copies done of the painting. I did not even notice the cleft lip on the one I posted above.

    List of copies

    Madonna of the Yarnwinder (drawing after Leonardo), Uffizi, Florence.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon.
    Madonna with the Yarnwinder, formerly Wood Prince Collection, Chicago.
    Attributed to Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.
    Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, The Holy Family (1523), formerly in the Carlos Grether collection, Buenos Aires
    Attributed to Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Museo de Bellas Artes, Murcia
    Attributed to Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, Madonna and Child with the Infant St John (c. 1505), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
    Hernando de los Llanos, The Rest During the Flight into Egypt (1507), Valencia Cathedral.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Granada Cathedral.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder (c. 1510–30), Apsley House, London.[
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Museo Soumaya, Mexico City.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Prince's Palace of Monaco.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds, Munich.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder in a Rocky Landscape, Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder (c. 1510–20), Louvre, Paris.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder (19th century), Penrith and Eden Museum, Penrith.
    Attributed to Cesare da Sesto, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, two versions in private collections.
    Attributed to Cornelius van Cleve, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, private collection.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder with Cherries and an Apple, three versions in private collections.
    Attributed to Martino Piazza da Lodi, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder with St John, Tobias and the Angel and a Fruit Bowl, Museo de Bellas Artes, Córdoba.
    Luis de Morales, Madonna of the Yarnwinder (1560s), Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
    Luis de Morales, Madonna of the Yarnwinder (1560s), Royal Palace of Madrid.
    Luis de Morales, Madonna of the Yarnwinder (1560s), Hispanic Society of America, New York City.
    Luis de Morales, Madonna of the Yarnwinder (1560s), Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
    Madonna of the Yarnwinder (first decade of the 16th century), private collection, Piacenza.
  • @Kingston -" Painting is the only way to learn to be a painter."
    Amen, but also work on drawing skills. They kinda go together. :-)
  • edited June 2013
    Look, I didn't ask for your opinion on how I learn, I asked a question about something Mark said in one of his videos, I won't make the mistake again.
  • Kingston...There must be something in the water !!! :-?? :D
  • Dear Deleted User....why are you so angry?? Chill Out! We are all a peace loving group around here and willing to help out if we need to be on the defense...besides seems if your going to be painting a spiritual picture (madonna & child) need to set that anger of yours aside... :-S
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