View Full Version : HELP, dark 1st or 2nd or ??

02-16-2014, 02:44 AM
Need some help here please. I have blended BG's, but just one basic color i.e sky blues, grass.
This is a commission for a hero Vet. Sundown in Afghanistan, from a DOD photo.
It is almost all back ground. How do I do this?
Lay down the dark and then layer the orange in or ???
I don't want to start then have to wash it all off and start over.
Appreciate the input.

02-16-2014, 03:19 PM
Hi Eric!! :wave: Hope you were serious when you asked...:lol: :angel:

If it was me...First I'd tone the canvas in burnt siena wash...then I'd mark where the bottom stuff is with the same color, not quite as dark as you'll eventually go (it's easier to go darker, but harder to lighten it). Then I'd do the sky...blending with a dry brush to even the transitions, and probably come over-top the bottom, and redefine the edges after the sky is done. IF you can, save some of each color, because touch-ups are a PIA in this kind of thing. You might need a bit around the tree...I tend to forget and then have to try and remix the exact colors...haha...not an easy thing to do!

As for the sky colors, I'd go cobalt blue at the very top, with a touch of cad red light to dull it a tad, and bring in those subtle violet tones and by adding some yellow that will bring the red to orange. I'd use naples yellow light and white in the center and use alizarin crimson at the bottom. Even tho' I hate picking out the hairs, I'd probably use a mop to help with the edges of the dif colors. Once it's close, I'd probably do washes to work on the yellows and darker red at the bottom.

I'd probably mix my own dark...out of the cobalt blue, reds, and a touch of burnt umber...

Now that you probably wish you had not asked....:lol: :angel: What size is it gonna be? I really like the photo!

Charlie's Mum
02-16-2014, 05:25 PM
What Susan says :) ....... but I'd start the sky colours from the yellow and work out - keep it thin glazes - and damp!

Either that or, still same order but thick paint and brush marks ... but that won't be smooth blending!:lol:

02-16-2014, 06:25 PM
Dark on top of light. As Susan said, it's easier to go dark than to go light. Charlie's Mum's technique of a whole lot of glazed would give it such a nice translucent look.

I too almost always do burnt siena washes but for this one I'd do a very light purple-ish wash. Then paint every thing over that. The light wash would give even the yellow over paint a nice blend into the other colors and then you could use the darkest, to nearly black, purple possible for the silhouettes.

02-16-2014, 06:40 PM
I'd probably mix the top dark violet color (low chroma), the "pure" orange in the middle, and the middle yellow. I'd work wet on wet, so I'd mix a big puddle of these three colors. Work down from the violet into the orange, adding yellow there in the middle, then take a clean brush and work up. When I got to the area where they blend together I'd use very light strokes (with another clean brush in some fresh color) to just barely push them together. After this dries I would go back over with the light creamy light yellow and strengthen any other colors with top coats.

I pretty much go in all at once and work fast just to get the colors down and transitions, then go back to redefine anything.

02-16-2014, 06:42 PM
THANKS, Got it. Dark over light it'll be. Thanks! Never thought about the purple, will try that. I always do paint fairly light, no brush marks.
It's 36" x 24" canvas panel. Too big for the trash can, hence wanna do it right..:lol:

02-17-2014, 12:30 AM
Wow, that's big! Gonna be a bear to keep it 'wet' and blend!! Can't wait to see it!!

02-17-2014, 07:57 AM
Use large brushes and a spray bottle. At my local art supply they have these huge chunky brushes (I think liquitex) that might be perfect for the job.

02-17-2014, 08:50 AM
For something that large, maybe some retarder or Open acrylics? I have Open in my favorite colors (Titanium White, Burnt Umber) and mix them into regular Golden's for a little extra working time.

02-17-2014, 08:59 AM
Blend the light into the dark, not the other way around, or your light will diminish).

02-17-2014, 11:14 AM
I find that getting the paint the right consistency, by mixing in water and medium, really helps to get that smooth background. I like it where the pain just drips easily off a pallette knife. At that point, it's thick enough to give good coverage and not run, but thin enough that it will blend smoothly, and settle and not show brush strokes.

Next I do something like Susan suggested above. Lay in the colors, the trasitions will be somewhat rough initially, then go over it with a large dry brush with broad rapid stokes across the canvaas, smoothing those transitions.

Of course the problem with the "dry brush" method is, once you get paint on it, you can't leave it dry for very long. I do this step fairly quickly, before the paint dries, then the brush goes in the water and it's done for the day (for this purpose at least). Also since large brushes can be expensive, I'll mention that I find that cheaper craft brushes, which are generally useless for actually painting with, can serve for this purpose.

02-17-2014, 11:38 AM
This looks like a good exercise. I think I'll do something similar myself.

Keri Howie
02-17-2014, 12:38 PM
Totally agree with Susan on colors and method. Also if u do want it smooth, Acerimudux had good points.. I'm sure you'll do that Vet proud! Please do show when you're done!!