Help: Lost in red

jimbojimbo -
edited January 2017 in Color Mixing
Hello all. I am working on my second painting from life--off white vase on a red table cloth with a black background. Trying to work on reflected light.  I have included a few pictures of my setup and my current progress. I am lost trying to match the red in the vase. I am using the color checker but the colors on canvas look to dark. I know the browns are due to me just working for 5 hours straight and getting sloppy, but even the reds in the bottom look great in color an value in the color checker. They just seem way-way-way to dark compared to the still life. Any suggestions? I think it is a limitation of my mixing experience.


  • BTW. I left the color intensity up a little on the camera so the reds in the vase show up better.
  • I have found, for myself, that you have to methodically and slowly match the color and not second guess yourself.  After you have softened the edges, it should all come together.  This method takes lots of patience, but pays off with good results.
  • I plan on finishing, it's just so dark. I balanced my white and I triple checked with the color checker. I mixed several red tints and shades, even shades of grayish red. The colors on the vase match the value, and the color seems right... don't know. Anyone have recommendations on mixing red values?
  • edited January 2017
    I'd say just keep going, jimbo, until the canvas is completely covered and then reassess everything.

    I think part of the problem you think you're having is because parts of the white canvas are still visible and this distorts your perception of the colour/value relationships between the items in the setup. This is also probably due partially to the fact that you have not yet put any colour/value variation into the background fabric and table cloth and because the shadow of the vase and the front of the table are too hard edged. Soften them. Also there are more subtle gradations of colour/value in the vase itself. Fixing these things will remove the feeling of flatness and give you a more 3D effect.
  • did you finish it? please post completed project.
  • I have not finished it yet, work week getting in the way. I am still struggling with the shadow, but I think I figured it out. 

    The lower part of the vase is in shadow, so I need to match the value of the shadow first; I am thinking a dark grey tone. But, there is red reflected light from the table cloth as well. So, I will try to match the value of the grey shadow to the value of the red and combine them--using the grey to tone the red and I think I will have it. Looking at the base in life it is just the slightest tone of red in the shadow. 

    I think my problem was trying to match just the red and not considering the shadow.

    I will post wherever I finish. Being my second painting I might stop short, consider my lessons learned and move on.
  • Well it's been done a couple weeks. As happens life got in the way and I was fed up. Also I rubbed up against it and put some vertical marks in the drying paint. Oh well. Not bad for my first, but I got way too frustrated. I did have a number of lessons learned and will post still life #2 when it is completed. 

    Sorry about the picture quality. Still learning to use the DSLR properly. Always used in auto mode before now. It is also matted prettty good due to drying and I will have to put up a new photo once I varnish it in a couple months.

    Thanks for all your support. 
  • That looks really great now! 
  • It looks much better now, @Jimbo. Unfortunately it is difficult to see it well because of the glare.
Sign In or Register to comment.