Color mixing for rocks?

Here is the picture I am trying to paint:

I took this photo out kayaking the other day :) anyways, I spent hours (yes, hours) and cant seem to get the colors right for the rocks on the upper right of the beach. Which color mix would you use?

Here is my painting so far, as you can see I am stumped with the rocks:


  • dencaldencal -
    edited August 2020

    Start with black, gradually add white ‘til correct values mixed. Add specks of green and brown to provide colour and shadow variants. Apply paint as a dry brush stipple action.

  • I think you have a good start with the dark value. It is hard to suggest color mix until you add more color and value to the rest of the painting.  Work the painting as a whole.  Once the white ground is covered, then adjust color and value to make them work. 
  • edited September 2020
    You've made a good start. Will you be painting the branch and foliage over-hanging the beach?

    The general rule with oils is to work dark to light but I would not start with a pure black (Sorry, @Dencal). I wouldn't let pure black anywhere near this picture. For the very darkest values use a chromatic dark made with BU & UB or phthalo green & quinacridone crimson lightened with a touch of a lighter pigment where needed. That will give you the darkness you need but not the deadness of ivory or carbon black. This is what you seem to be doing already in those middle distance rocks so that's good.

    About the reference photo: What I notice is that the sea and blue shadows are way too high in chroma and the contrast in the shaded areas is too strong. In photoshop or Affinity Photo, or in whatever image editor you use, reduce the the chroma and the contrast of the water (which you seem to already have done in the painting) and in the shadows on the sand under the tree and on the big branch overhanging the beach. Also do a white balance to reduce the overall blue/cyan cast of the photo. Doing these things will give you a much more natural looking colour scheme. 

    This photo demonstrates the problem with cameras - they are not as good as our eyes at seeing colour. That's why I make quick colour notes on site for landscapes. Photos are ok for recording detail but not so good for colour unless we are great photographers with top of the range cameras and software.

    Hope this is helpful.  :) 
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