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mycatrupert
05-07-2015, 08:24 PM
Help! I'm trying to do this portrait of our dog Rusty...I did a blue underpainting and then was trying to block in the middle values and then started adding lights and darks. It's just not going well at all. I just don't know what colours to use half the time, or how to blend apparently. I'm struggling because there's a strong light source but I'm afraid of using too much white paint because I heard this deadens your painting.

I've read so much colour theory but none of it discusses things like burnt/raw sienna and umber. When I look at these colours they're the ones that remind me most of my dog. Also I'm using ultramarine blue for shading. Can anyone help me salvage the painting, or should I begin again?

cliff.kachinske
05-07-2015, 08:36 PM
It would be a shame to abandon this painting. That face is amazing.

As far as blending goes, a lot of people handle value transitions exactly as you have done here.

Nothing wrong with using blue for shadows.

You do have a lot of white going on on the muzzle. White unmixed should be reserved for highlights. But I think if you bring that down with 10% (or so) mixes of you colors you should be about right. Then go back and figure out where your highlight should be and put that in.

This has the bones of a great painting. It just needs refinement.

Keep going. Also check out the Information Kiosk for a tutorial on how to paint hair.

mycatrupert
05-07-2015, 09:03 PM
It would be a shame to abandon this painting. That face is amazing.

As far as blending goes, a lot of people handle value transitions exactly as you have done here.

Nothing wrong with using blue for shadows.

You do have a lot of white going on on the muzzle. White unmixed should be reserved for highlights. But I think if you bring that down with 10% (or so) mixes of you colors you should be about right. Then go back and figure out where your highlight should be and put that in.

This has the bones of a great painting. It just needs refinement.

Keep going. Also check out the Information Kiosk for a tutorial on how to paint hair.


Hi stumblefingers, thanks for such an encouraging response. I'll check out those tutorials. When you say bring down the white with 10% mixes of colours, do you mean mix the colours into my white? Or just in general tone down the muzzle by 10% or so? I guess I could do either or both.

Mark Szymanski
05-08-2015, 04:39 AM
This has a great start so far. There is much to like about it - already at this early stage there is a "personality" to your subject, so keep at it.

The blue you have in the painting is fine under one condition only. You want the blue color.

Otherwise, the shadows are a false color in the painting. Your dog, even if he is sitting on a blue mat won't be that strong of blue.

The formula for (realistic) shadow colors is fairly simple. Shadow color= Local color (of your object) + color of light reflecting onto the object. The color of the shadow cannot be a color which contains none of the original (local) color. Also, the shadow cannot be a higher chroma or higher colored than the original. If the dog is on a blue mat, the blue mat will influence the yellow/sienna color of the dog, but the original color of the dog is still there modifying the blue.

Andrew Loomis had a great demonstration in one of his books describing this false color property... I can't remember which one right off hand, but here is my version of it...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-May-2015/1765836-false_color.jpg

So if you wish for artistic reasons to have strong chroma blue in the shadow, it's fine - otherwise it will not read correctly as the proper color. So the total formula would be Shadow = Value + Shadow color.

As far as the other areas of the dog being "blown out" with white, you have to remember the camera isn't giving you all of the information the eye sees or constructs. Leaning the white towards a color will help. Really paying attention to the subtle value changes as the muzzle curves around will be important here. Each plane of the muzzle will be angled towards the light at a slightly different angle, thus will receive just a bit more or less light than the planes around them. Right now, you have painted all of the planes on the top of the nose and the side of the nose as if they're directly facing the light source. The light source is actually above and to the side a bit (I think that is the location) so the brightest area is going to favor one plane over the other.

One other suggestion, you've started this fairly high chroma everywhere, leaving you very little head room for placing higher chroma colors in the half tones. If you lower the chroma of the areas turning away from the light, you'll have more areas where you can influence with higher chroma color.

mycatrupert
05-08-2015, 07:12 AM
This has a great start so far. There is much to like about it - already at this early stage there is a "personality" to your subject, so keep at it.

The blue you have in the painting is fine under one condition only. You want the blue color.

Otherwise, the shadows are a false color in the painting. Your dog, even if he is sitting on a blue mat won't be that strong of blue.

The formula for (realistic) shadow colors is fairly simple. Shadow color= Local color (of your object) + color of light reflecting onto the object. The color of the shadow cannot be a color which contains none of the original (local) color. Also, the shadow cannot be a higher chroma or higher colored than the original. If the dog is on a blue mat, the blue mat will influence the yellow/sienna color of the dog, but the original color of the dog is still there modifying the blue.

Thanks, that's a lot to take in. In the image you posted, it says the shadow can be created with the colour's compliment or grey. Since I have painted the dog with siennas/umbers, which to me borders on an orange, wouldn't blue be ok for shading? Do you mind expanding further on shadows?

Charlie's Mum
05-08-2015, 12:48 PM
Add the darker colour to your basic dog colour for the shadows:)

Try adding yellow with some white for the lighter areas, rather than just white.

I think that blue shows there because it's an underpainting - when you glaze your earth colours/dog colours over it, it will look better and the become shadowed areas.

We could give you more specific advice if you post your reference.

Definitely don't bin the work - acrylics are always 'recoverable' - we hide many errors with new layers!:)

chammi kaiser
05-08-2015, 01:43 PM
I often mix Naples yellow with the colour of the animal to get my lights right. It works particularly well with burnt sienna. I think you are doing a good job. Do you have a reference photo of Rusty?

mycatrupert
05-08-2015, 04:52 PM
Here is the reference photo

Mark Szymanski
05-08-2015, 08:07 PM
Thanks, that's a lot to take in. In the image you posted, it says the shadow can be created with the colour's compliment or grey. Since I have painted the dog with siennas/umbers, which to me borders on an orange, wouldn't blue be ok for shading? Do you mind expanding further on shadows?
I don't mind at all giving my explanation. Though I warn you ahead of time, I tend to be long winded:lol:

The right blue can be used to decrease the chroma of the sienna mix, it will work. BUT... consider it doesn't have to be that way, a single shadow color stretched across the whole gamut of the shadows. The shadow can (and usually should) give the impression of the areas around the subject. It allows for a much more interesting shadow color mix.

Okay... now for the explanation as to why...

Take for example my favorite shape, the dodecahedron...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-May-2015/1765836-Dodecahedron.jpg

The facets on this shape point in all different directions... very useful.

If I color the dodecahedron with an approximate dog color, and surround it with some color spots, and a color for the light source... you get something like this.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-May-2015/1765836-Dodecahedron_color_spots.jpg

The bright blue in the upper left is the sky color, the green on the left is some bushes, the bottom brown and blue live on the ground. The brown and blue colors on the ground are the local color of the spots. These colors will reflect onto the surfaces which face them. The sky color does NOT show on the surface where the brown is because this plane is facing away from the sky. The dark blue and brown and influence those planes which face them. The sky will only influence those planes which face it. So shadowed downward facing planes tend to be warmer (reflecting the greens and browns of the grass and dirt) and the upward facing planes tend to be cooler because they are reflecting the blues or grays of the sky. (this can be different due to differing colors of sky, but I digress).

Where this gets turned on it's ear a bit, is when the sun is landing on the ground (and lighting the brown and blue), the light from the sun mixes in with the brown and influences the color it reflects a bit. This is the color which is reflected into the downward facing plane. This color mixes with the local color of the dodecahedron, and makes a new color which is a mix of the local color of the dodecahedron and the color of the light being reflected from the blue or brown onto it. In the illustration below, blue color mixed with the color of the sunlight is marked "2". The resulting mix of the reflected color and the local color on the dodecahedron is marked "1".
Notice they are two completely different, though related, colors.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-May-2015/1765836-Dodecahedron_color_spots_with_light.jpg
Would you call the color of number one "blue"? Probably most people would, but it is only an influence of blue, it is just as much a tawny color, and if you take this color and place it against a different background you would call it a tawny yellow. The brown influence planes are represented the same way with three and four. More complexity is entered once we hit the plane where the bush and sky both influence it. Notice how the green and dodecahedron when mixed alone create color 7, the sky and dodecahedron when mixed alone create color 5, but when the sky and the green are both an influence on the color of the dodecahedron you end up with a different color all together and end up with color 6.

The point of all this long and winding explanation comes down to this: the colors which the different planes are facing are a mixture of the local color and the light reflecting onto them. If the plane faces the sky, the light from the sky influences the shadow. If the plane is facing the ground the sky has nothing to do with the shadow and therefore shouldn't be influencing the color of the shadow.

All these differing shadow colors can be part of the shapes you're trying to portray depending on what you decide is influencing the colors of the shadows. Indoors, it can be carpets or cement, wood, or stucco. Or you can just make up some colors as long as you keep in mind the color is reflecting only onto certain planes.

So back to your question... the blue in the shadows isn't correct because it isn't facing anything that blue, and a blue of that high of a chroma is too strong to be in a shadow. A shadow is lit only by reflected light, not a primary light source so it must be, and can only be, weaker lower chroma light. The color of a shadow is a mixture of the local color and the color of the light reflecting into it. The color must maintain some of the local color - after all, a dog is still the same color whether that part of the dog is in shadow or in light. The color of the dog doesn't change, it is only influenced by the light reflected onto it.
I probably confused you even more... sorry, I do try and be clear....:thumbsup:

jocko500
05-09-2015, 01:31 PM
yesterday I needed a skin color so I mixed two colors that is opposite each other. I never mixed alizarin crimson hue [which i had. i try to buy the real color but sometimes I mess up and pick up a hue by mistake; going to fast at the store:lol:] anyway i mixed alizarin crimson hue to a emerald green and together in equal parts and it came out gray then i mix a little more alizarin to it and it started to turn brown. I did mix some cal red middle and it came out more of a skin tone but I had to also mix a little orange to get the color i was looking for. Yes i did used some white mix in to get the light high lights.

anyway the colors i see here is a lot like the color I came up with as the person skin tones was a well suntan person anyway. just an idea to give you on mixing colors and i new at it also so i flying by the seat of my pants also :lol: Just know a little about colors but learning and not afear to try mixing colors to see what i got.
oh forgot to add I mix more of the green in to get the shadows and they came out looking good.