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Can't get there from here

i am trying to mix a blue to match the coffee can in the image. While it looks like I am close, I can't quite get it. Further, the bright light from the side raises the value to a point where the ultramarine Geneva paint can't get there (or I can't get it there). Using white gives it a milky look, and yellow ( it is a warm blue) beyond a very limited amount, of course turns it green. Have I reached the limit of this color and need to go elsewhere to match this color? Thanks for your help. The pic is desaturated compared to the actual.


  • PaulBPaulB mod
    edited March 2018
    I think this is barely achievable with Geneva basic colors, although I'm not there, and I don't have that can right in front of me, and I'm color matching to a computer screen, all of which cast suspicion on what I did.

    The bottom row of four is plain Geneva ultramarine blue with equal parts titanium white and cadmium yellow.

    The top row of three is equal parts ultramarine blue and phthalo blue, then equal parts titanium white an cadmium yellow.

    It is much easier to get close to your colors using phthalo blue, but I think the color in question is right on the edge of the gamut, which is why it's a problem with the basic colors.

    Vivid turquoise or magenta and bright saturated (child's toy) colors can be out of your reach unless you add phthalo blue and cadmium red.

    Edit: Alternately, just get the value right with a different hue.  It won't matter.
  • edited March 2018
    @Freeman, Have you thought of adding just a little Geneva Red, almost unnoticeable a little at a time until you get a closer match. It wouldn't surprise me if this red (red-orange) is already in this color blue in the printing process on this can to begin with, same red (red-orange) as in the lettering and in the cup.
  • Thanks @Forgiveness and @PaulB, in trying to create a color recipe, I have wasted buckets of paint! 
  • edited March 2018
    Fortunately, when painting realism, getting the values right is more important than getting the colour right. Therefore, even if you can't quite match the colour (hue) your coffee can will still look realistic if the values are correct. No one is going to ask to see your still life setup or reference photo.

    Still, I what was said above about adding phthalo blue (or some other blue) is correct. Some blues you just can't hit with ultramarine blue alone.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Freeman said:
    ... in trying to create a color recipe, I have wasted buckets of paint! 
    I know that feeling.  At first I used quantities like Mark does in the videos, until I realized (a) he owns the paint company, and (b) it's a video demonstration, the puddle of paint has to be large for us to see it.  We don't have to copy it.

    When you paint that can, you only need about one brushful of paint for each of the values in it.  So when mixing, if that puddle of paint gets larger than one brushful, there will be waste.  If you need to adjust a color, you can take a small dab of paint and start a new small puddle to mix. That will consume less paint, because it will takes less paint to adjust that small puddle than it would for the previous larger one.

    This palette has more than 50 mixed colors on it, I don't like wasting paint.

    And those green puddles are so large because I'm painting about 30 square inches of bushes and trees.

  • Very tidy. Good goal for me. All that paint will just get mushed together and be the starting point for my neutral background. I'll be darned if I am going to waste that good paint! Thanks @PaulB for the inspiration.
  • @tassieguy I would be less concerned with the color if thus were not an iconic American image. The color is well known to all and I feel like I want to at least hit it as close as I can. 
  • Oh, I see. In that case I guess just try to get as close as you can. 
  • I think you probably do (or did) need a blue that's a bit greener than Ultramarine to reach this.
  • I agree, experiment with a white+.cerulean blue or cobalt blue+ spec or two of alizarin crimson.


  • I would say it' a white, cerulean, small amount of yellow and touch of burnt umber or red. I would say that is a mid tone of those colors. And then bump it up or down as needed. But I'm just guessing.
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