Tips on mixing a couple colors

I am working on the background (mountain) and I just can't seem to get the colors right. The value I get either seems to be too high or too low. Its really difficult for me to tell, it either ends up looking too white or too green. Anyone have any tips on mixing the colors of the background? How close should I be able to match the colors? I'm using a laminated enlarged photo for reference. Thanks for any help


  • I forgot to mention I'm using Geneva paint
  • Are you neutralising the green with orange? I mention that because you said it's either too white or green which made me wonder if you are using too much white instead of yellow/red or yellow/burnt umber to reduce the strength of the green.
  • I used some red to change the intensity a little.  Is that what I need to do for these colors (add compliment) to get that faded look of the colors? 
    I know the green in the pic isn't just one shade but it's hard to determine the subtle differences in color and I don't think painting the green using just one color mix would look right. Same thing with the brownish/red parts of the mountain, I know that is not just one color mix.  I'm going to try and upload the pic into photoshop and zoom in  and see if i can find the different shades of green and the brown/red parts of the mountain. Is there some other way that would be helpful? I appreciate your input
  • As far as I understand it, the more grey a colour is the more its hue has been mixed with the opposite hue on the colour wheel.

    Actually that kind of natural green has more yellow in it than blue, so you probably need more red and blue (purplish red) to neutralise it better.
  • edited August 2016
    Lovely photo. The greens are gorgeous. 
    I agree with the above re value/colour. However, sometimes, even if we've mixed the values/colours correctly an area won't look right until we get all the values/colours around it in. So, for example, the greyed off green of the background mountain may not look right until you've got the sky in and some of the richer greens in the middle distance.

    I love doing landscapes more than anything else so I look forward to seeing what you do with this.


  • kill the green by adding burnt umber to it. add brown in bits. and then add white in piecemeal. obviously lower part of the green is greener than above part, which is more white. don't put too much white or burnt umber while mixing at once.
  • For anyone interested in using this pic, it's from

    Its my first attempt at using Geneva paints and painting with small brush strokes. I've usually painted using Bob Ross' techniques. I'm not concerned with how long it takes me to complete, I want to take my time and get as much detail as I can. I really like the pic, I just wish it wasn't taken on an overcast day :)

  • I'm a newbie as far as image editing is concerned. Did you do some editing to the pic? If this updated pic is what you more experienced painters recommend to paint from, let me know. Thanks for your help
  • Scooby
    The image provided by Richard seems to be less intense than the one you posted(which is beautiful),
    It should be easier to mix the colours now as they are less intense and more gray.
    Good Luck
  • Thanks for the response. I got my green to match pretty good, but I must say I feel myself getting frustrated with this painting and feel overwhelmed. I'm not sure if its this background or dreading trying to do the grass or trees. I think I didn't choose a good pic for my skill level.Does anyone have any suggestions or a good reference pic for a beginner like me?

  • As you can see I got frustrated with the background and just wanted to put some color in, I could always add various shades later I suppose.
  •  I would suggest that you go back and watch Mark's video on color mixing with particular attention to his comments about using the Geneva color wheel and asking the questions about the color you are looking for.

  • Mix your sky and color and make some extra.  Then mix some of your vivid foreground colors.  Mix sky color into your vivid foreground colors and you will be able to get the muted backround colors.  This works and makes sense.  The background is less chromatic and lighter in value because there is more atmosphere (sky) between it and you.
  • First thing is to get your white balance if you have not done so.  The system works and there is nothing in that photo out of range.  You can review Mark's setting up your studio videos for directions. It is going to take time to get the process down. My advice is to paint the scene you want and if it takes a long time so be it.  I see your working back to front.  Seems a good idea to only mix the sky colors and the paint that, then the mountains, then the trees etc.  Divide and conquer, one step after the other.     
  • edited October 2016
    The traditional way is to work from dark to light. So, from where you are now,  the next thing I would do is to put in the dark areas in the trees and the shadows beneath them. Once you've done that it will be easier to judge the values/colours in the rest of the painting.
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