View Full Version : Really dumb question about blue

12-03-2014, 10:56 PM
I am primarily an abstract painter and before that I painted portraits. Lately I have been painting abstracted landscapes, so the colors need not to be as they really are in real life, but I would like to render a couple of pieces with a realistic sky - a desert sky that is very, very brilliant a few hours from dusk.

I have been going a little nuts trying to get a base with cobalt blue and some teals, and I think I'm going in the wrong direction with these. Don't I need cerulean blue?

12-04-2014, 02:00 AM
Im not understand your question.
If you are looking for some input on how to mix a colour, please list the paint colours you have on hand and what colour you are looking to produce; And I or someone may be able to steer you in the right way.

If you want to know what colour a desert sky actually is...thats pretty subjective!

Depending on colours you have, cerulean hue can usually be mixed pretty easily.

That said, I use cerulean. Its a great colour and mixer.


12-04-2014, 06:27 AM
I can say about mountains, highlanders sky. It has a very pure, crystal clear color gradient. From about blue-green to a deep ultramarine color. I can recommend Phthalo green, Phthalo Blue and Ultramarine colors. Probably, on a blue-toned acrylic gesso. But avoid white color, it can break any real brightness. On the white background any blue looks dark and mud. Mix white only INTO blue, but paint white clouds as much gray/violet/ochre colored as possible. Caput mortuum, Mars red and Ochre are quite effective additives to mask and to shade white color. The key is anti-white colored clouds over clearest blue gradient.

12-05-2014, 06:22 PM
Thanks for your answers so far. Maybe a picture would help.

Here are one of my photographs I took while I was in Joshua Tree, CA.


12-05-2014, 07:20 PM
I usually create skies such as that by beginning with Ultramarine Blue [with White] at the top, and adding more White, and Thalo Blue as I reach the horizon.

However, if you are looking for an "overall sky color", I might recommend Old Holland's Manganese Blue Deep. Mix it with White, increasing the addition of White as it nears the horizon.

One thing I always keep in mind is that colors in skies are basically colors of light. And, colors of light mix together to create White (not Black, as with paint). To create a believable sky I always treat white paint as my "friend", because I feel it requires a lot of white to create luminous skies.

12-05-2014, 08:07 PM
Yes, I agree about the white. I was taken aback when I read about not using white. I have always used white for sky. I have just been having a hard time getting this particular blue hue and can't for the life of me find a base to build from, but I will take some of this advice - especially the ultra marine blue mixed with the thalo. That might be the ticket.

12-05-2014, 11:51 PM
I would use Indanthrone Blue (PB60) to match this color, so try it if you have a tube. Otherwise, I would follow Bill's advice to mix Ultramarine Blue (PB29) and Phthalo Blue (such as PB15:1 or PB15:4). You won't need much Phthalo Blue in this mix to counteract the weak Ultramarine Blue! Because both Cobalt Blue (PB28) and Cerulean Blue (PB35) become grayish as they are tinted with white, I don't think that you can realistically use either of them to achieve the jewel-like clarity of this sky. Prussian Blue or Prussian Blue Hue will probably be both too grayish and too greenish, although it might work (depending on brand, perhaps) in a mix with Ultramarine Blue.

12-06-2014, 04:10 PM
Thanks everyone. You've been a big help. :)

12-06-2014, 04:45 PM
What medium are you working with for this project?

12-06-2014, 09:45 PM

12-07-2014, 02:55 PM
I would sketch the horizon line and mix Thalo Blue and Titanium White to create the deepest blue. Start at the top with this mixture and work to the horizon, adding t. white as I came down and carefully blending until the lightest blue meets the horizon.

That will make a dynamite composition and I am looking forward to seeing some of the end results!

12-07-2014, 04:24 PM
Thank you again. This is not the actual composition. This is part of my photography project taken in Joshua Tree, California.

It's the sky I'm after for another composition though. I want to incorporate this color sky in another landscape that I don't have a photo for, just a really rough sketch of from my head. If I posted the sketch it would just look dumber than my question. :lol: