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Improving Color Mixing Speed?

So it’s been over 2 years since I learned to paint and I wanted to ask for some advice on improving my color matching speed. When I first started it would take me 30-45 minutes to match a single color from my photo reference. Now it takes me 3-5 minutes sometimes much quicker if the only difference is the value of the color. 

Does anyone have advice or tips on improving the speed of matching colors? Thanks 

Comments

  • Hi @Steven_Art. I think you have probably answered your own question. Practice! 🙂 My experience was the same - took ages to start with, then became easier and easier over time. 
    Steven_Art
  • edited February 10
    Roxy said:
    Hi @Steven_Art. I think you have probably answered your own question. Practice! 🙂 My experience was the same - took ages to start with, then became easier and easier over time. 
    @Roxy Hm...you’re probably right, but I still don’t understand how some people can finish a portrait in 20-25 hours (at a very high level of realism). While it takes me like 160 hours 
  • Yes, it's just practice. When I first started it took hours. Now it usually only takes minutes.  I don't know of any quicker way to do it. I'm happy to have reduced it from hours to minutes.  :)
  • edited February 11
    @Steven_Art I don't know if I can help but, I suggest you take a look at my recent post, 12 Color Spectrum Palette - Most Efficient for Painting.
  • @Steven_Art
    What does your basic palette look like?
    I paint with a 12 color full spectrum dual primary palette. From which every color is available fast and economical.  I have a pdf document showing the fundamentals. PM me your email and I'll send it to you. It is not for distribution.



  • Sounds like it's the painting aspect that's taking longer, rather than the colour mixing now you are more experienced?
  • What’s the rush

     :) 
  • @tassieguy How long does it take you to paint a portrait? Or do you paint portraits? lol 
  • @Forgiveness yes I just looked at it right now, I couldn't tell what the other colors were (the darker ones to the right) . You have the primaries of course and... black purple and brown I'm guessing? What are your average times? Like how much faster does this new palette make you? 
    Forgiveness
  • @KingstonFineArt My basic palette is the 5 Geneva colors (used to have Geneva Black but ran out so I sometimes premix a neutral black).
     And I sent it c:. Also how long have you been using this new palette and how much faster has it made you? 
  • edited February 11
    @Steven_Art The dark colors on the right are, red violet, violet, blue violet, these are quite dark near black. Although I commit several hours to the mixing and tubing of such a batch, it saves me this many hours of mixing fresh at each painting session, defining colors and color groups come very fast, takes away a lot of guess work leaving little to chance, easier to develop a harmonious palette. easy to apply complementary color to deepen & white to lighten, very fast to mix semi-neutrals and neutrals from this palette. Its easier to see this range of colors in any setting for a painting, still life, landscapes, portrait and figure work. If I were to paint en plein air or in a live figure painting setting, this would certainly be my palette. I would go further in my present palette to mix the semi-neutrals & neutrals or a least have the 3 primaries of each these (this is a great deal!), but I simply don't have the amount paint needed at this time. Much of what I have mixed here comes from quite nearly 3x 37 ml tubes of fresh paint, yellow, blue, red, but I didn't need to use up much white at all to get my yellow.
  • @Richard_P Oh no I meant the painting process as a whole. Out of those 160 hours I spend like 90% of the time on the palette mixing and switching up colors and stuff. Applying the paint to the canvas is very fast and so is the drawing part. 
  • That much time? How many colour mixes do you make?
  • @Steven_Art
    The five Geneva colors is all you need. Actually all you need is Red, Yellow and Blue.
  • @MichaelD I guess I’m impatient hahah. But is there something wrong with painting faster? 
  • @Richard_P Is it a bad thing that an oil portrait takes me 160 hours? Lol. I usually have the 5 Geneva colors and pre-mix around 12 colors. That usually takes me 45 mins. But with faces there’s tons of different changes in color and value everywhere.  
  • edited February 12
    @Steven_Art. The one portrait I did took about 10 days. I paint landscape almost exclusively now.  The are usually big and can take me up to a month to complete. And that's painting full-time.  :)
  • @tassieguy wow that’s fast for a portrait. That’s interesting, landscapes takes me days, but portraits take me months lol
  • @MichaelD I guess I’m impatient hahah. But is there something wrong with painting faster? 
    No there are no rules.

    I guess I was suggesting there is nothing wrong with painting slower.

    Different strokes for different folks.

     :) 
  • Ah I see. I work differently to normal DMP as I blend between the premixed values on the panel (rather than the palette).
  • @Steven_Art
    Speed like color are relative things. Confidence is the thing. The more practice the more confidence. For instance if you're painting a big still life with a bunch of objects practice the different objects. Pay close attention to the light and relative colors and temperature. Chances are you'll jigger the still life to make a better painting. I do bits and pieces for most bigger painting. When I don't the painting fails. This is the traditional way of painting.
    Most people can't paint in one pass (Alla Prima means one go not wet paint). Very few. They're either old or gifted. Most working artist have put in the time on the easel to get to that level.
    Dustin_CropsboyForgiveness
  • @MichaelD well I guess for my case it would be a very beneficial thing to finish commissions faster. Just for the business side of things. Like it would be much better to finish a portrait commission in 2 weeks rather than 4 weeks if you had the option to pick. 
    KingstonFineArtMichaelD
  • @KingstonFineArt Yes that's a very good point. Confidence is important c: 
    Forgiveness
  • @Steven_Art
    It's key. In every brush stroke.
    Forgiveness
  • @MichaelD well I guess for my case it would be a very beneficial thing to finish commissions faster. Just for the business side of things. Like it would be much better to finish a portrait commission in 2 weeks rather than 4 weeks if you had the option to pick. 
    Of course, I understand and that makes perfect sense. I often take a little too long. Its not until recently when I did a painting a day for 30 days, some of them in and hour, or 2 -3 hours that I realised I could work quicker. It helped me trust myself more in what I can achieve.
    KingstonFineArtDustin_CropsboySteven_Art
  • @MichaelD that's really interesting. It's like the very short deadlines you put on yourself forced you to trust yourself more hahah. Otherwise you wouldn't have finished them . So the deadline forced yourself to grow. 
    MichaelD
  • @MichaelD Maybe I should try a challenge like that with my next oil portrait.. 10 days to finish the whole face and everything. That's way less than the 30 days it normally takes me... You know what? I'll do it today. 10 days from now would be Feb 24th lets see if I can get the whole painting done before that. 
    MichaelD
  • Steven_Art

    I don’t do commission work but it seems to me the lag time is greatly lengthened by drying time until varnish. In this case I would use use Griffin alkyd oil paint with Liquin and dry in an oxygen tent.

    To speed my mix times I would batch mix master tones for the common group colours. For example a tomato reddish brown as a base to darken, lighten, cool and warm for skin tone painting. The master tones would be kept in airtight snap caps and would be useable for about a year. The same strategy can apply to green vegetation and blue skies. Powell takes this approach and has published recipes.

    Acrylic block in under paintings, with oil over is an excellent way to quickly obtain a receptive, opaque, coverage that allows the oil to display temperature and texture. Michael James Smith (YouTube) demonstrates this very well.

    Denis
    Steven_Art
  • edited February 15
    @dencal wow these are a lot of tips I never even thought of, I'll research them all. Appreciate it Denis c:   
  • Steven_Art

    In my own work I casually draw and even more casually paint as a retirement hobby.
    Helpful when working with lots of short sessions and lots of long sessions is premixed values in airtight containers. Referred to above as snap caps. These are always ready to use, directly from the container, no mess to clean up. No stopping the creative flow to mix more paint. Handy for touch ups a week later.
    ‘Ready for wipe out and re do sections. Remnants can be used to tone canvasses for use in the future.

    keeping your brushes suspended in an oil immersion bath and premixed values in snap caps means instant start, instant stop and continuous work flow. What’s not to like?



    Denis
  • edited February 15
    @MichaelD that's really interesting. It's like the very short deadlines you put on yourself forced you to trust yourself more hahah. Otherwise you wouldn't have finished them . So the deadline forced yourself to grow. 

    Thats exactly it and , I found once I got into the rhythm of doing it it made me realise how much I procrastinate, or over fuss on certain detail that isn’t always necessary. 
    It kind of freed me up from that inner critic.



    It was a course I did in December and I posted most of them in this thread if you want to check em out



    https://forum.drawmixpaint.com/discussion/12738/completed-a-painting-a-day-for-30-days/p1


    I will message you if you want more info.




  • PS.
    I need to conquer my fear of actually doing a portrait 

     :) 
  • @MichaelD sure you can message me it! And I challenge you to try painting a portrait... today! Like you said we procrastinate a lot without realizing. 
  • edited February 15
    @Steven_Art

    Ha, today would be lovely but, and I really dont think this is procrastinating.
    I’m a frontline Mental health nurse working with young people. As you can imagine COVID has sent mental health issues through the roof.
    Presently half my nursing team are off work, which means those of us who are in work are doing our best to take up their slack.

    So while I appreciate your prompt, at the moment I tend to recover in the evenings, from the stress of the working day.
    I mainly try and paint at weekends, it is definitely therapeutic for me.

    But I have a week off coming up soon and yes I am going to face that fear of doing a portrait. 

    PS
    I have done one actually, its of my cat Louie 

     :) 
  • @MichaelD I just finished the face! Remember the 10 day challenge? I have 2 days to spare! I honestly should have finished it yesterday making it 1 week, but I got really busy. So 8 days is fine lol. It's crazy it usually takes like a whole month lol
    MichaelDDustin_Cropsboy
  • @Steven_Art, well done to you, it sounds like you have proved to yourself that you can do it and you have found a new and more productive way of working.

     :) 
    Steven_Art
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