View Full Version : help with making colours please

05-15-2003, 10:27 AM
i know i've been a lousy member lately, not participating much, but work is overwhelming. I've only painted once in the past two weeks, and the lack of practice lately is shining through ;)
This is the daisy picture (sort of) that Al uploaded for the Challenge 2. I know it's naughty to discuss challenge pictures outside of the project. But that's what kind of lousy member i am - just flaunting the rules :evil: ...... no really, I just want some help please. :angel:
This is what I've done

but after playing with it in photoshop to 'fix' it.
This is what i would much rather have created.

The original is so flat and un-contrasty. How do i make those colours... the dark beautiful ones that i want??


05-15-2003, 10:30 AM
all i can say is use less water with your pigment. it won't be quite as transparent, but you will only need one layer. i'm lousy with the science of mixing colors and just wing it every time, so hopefully someone else can tell you what colors mix well to make good darks. i have no clue.


05-15-2003, 10:45 AM
JA... I know how you feel... I bought a book by Arletta Plech that has helped me a great deal... She is able to achieve deep and bright colour by making multiple washes graduating back a little from the previous wash... She says that she's had to make as few as 3 washes and as many as 10 to get the result she's looking for...

05-15-2003, 10:47 AM
JA, I've been a lousy member lately too.....I've hardly commented to any threads:(

wonderful "punch up" via Photoshop.

you've got a great base to strengthen this painting.

you need some warmth to that background. I would try with some permanent rose or permanent alizarin crimson. then more layers of your blue. keep going with glazes until you have the look you want.

some quinacridone red on the centers of the daisies would make a vibrant orange, brown madder might do the trick too.

I would also strengthen those shadows between and on the petals with more purple :)

this is going to be stunning!!


05-15-2003, 10:49 AM
For the green in the background "in the tight areas" I would use a mix of green and indigo.

For the flower centers, I would use cadmium yellow and touch in some burnt sienna.
Hope that helps.

lyn lynch
05-15-2003, 11:28 AM
Either version looks beautiful to me. I'd just add a touch of yellow [Windsor] and then of a red [Scarlet Lake] in bits, letting the background do the work.

Now if you are looking to portray the Arizona daisy that Al posted in his reference picture, remember that they are WEEDS. They do not have all the granulation and tonal variation that you are attempting to achieve in this work. They are just straight colors, an orange-red color, and a yellow-orange color. Just weeds, not nursery grown for populace purchase. Look how Al did them in the Project Gallery for a tip.

05-15-2003, 06:46 PM
Ah, the eternal quest for darks! I'm with you on that one. Right now I'm trying Alizarin Crimson and Viridian mixed. It makes a great black but can also lean toward green or red.

I love your photoshop version so hope you can get some darks in there. Keep experimenting. Hope to see an updated version soon.


05-15-2003, 06:53 PM
Both are lovely. The photoshoped image *sings*. Are you going to do that with your painting?

05-15-2003, 06:58 PM
I'm another one that wings it every time, Jageo, but it's mostly a case of starting with the pale colours as the base and adding more and more washes with ever decreasing volume of water to build up the darks. This is going to be a stunning picture.

05-15-2003, 07:47 PM
so for the most part you all believe that the original can be improved through more glazing.
Thanks for the colour choices, I have some of those tubes and can try them out.

I have concerns about adding more glazes, that it will just look more and more opaque. I'm afriad i won't like to lose the watery ness. i might try to save this one, i might try to start again with darker colours.

Fookie, can you explain a bit more about the granulation and tonal variation. I'm unschooled, and a bit dense :). Where am I doing that?
I did, of course, take some artistic liberties with the reference pic. That was part of the 'challenge' for me. Didn't realize they are weeds tho'. Thanks.

Thanks all, and I'll show what i do when i get back to doing it :)

05-15-2003, 11:47 PM
Once you get those darks added the highlights will shine.

Agree with the good advice you have already been given,


05-16-2003, 11:06 AM
Originally posted by jageo
I have concerns about adding more glazes, that it will just look more and more opaque. I'm afriad i won't like to lose the watery ness. i might try to save this one, i might try to start again with darker colours.

JA, if you've used transparent colours all through and you let the glazes dry between, there shouldn't be much of a problem with opaqueness. It will definitely look "thicker" than only one layer of paint, but the lower layers with transparent paint will shine through.

But if you are looking for a "watery" look AND darks......that is a tough one. Best to start with dark paint and not work with glazes.

05-16-2003, 07:43 PM
I got the book "fresh florals in Watercolour" by Arleta Pech from the library. (She's a member isn't she? pretty sure I saw her name here). Am wondering if that is the book you are referring to Char?
Flipped through quickly so far, jumped to the page on backgrounds and she says "the key to beautiful jewel-tone backgrounds is using just one layer so the colour is fresh." her colours are Antwerp Blue, Hookers Green Dark and Winsor Violet.
None of which I have at present :rolleyes:
But her paintings in this book all have the scrumptious dark beautiful backgrounds that I adore so I must start at the beginning and give this one a serious read.

Not sure, Em, if the colours I used were all transparent. I have a few semi's on my pallette and I was getting a little desperate and foolhardy near the end - may have included some of them in the mix. Sigh! Must pay more attention......