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Psalm341
05-14-2015, 12:31 PM
Hello Everyone!
I joined this site years ago when I first started painting but haven't visited for a long time. I'm still painting, but not as often as I'd like to. I have never taken a formal art class but have been self taught, just picking up things here and there and experimenting. Lately I've started watching Utube videos of instructors who's work is what I want mine to look like. In doing so, I'm realizing that I'm spending a lot of time (STILL) trying to get my colors mixed right and then getting the right brush to get the effect I want etc. etc... I end up getting what I want, but it seems to take forever and some frustration in the mean time. I'm using a limited pallet, usually 6-8 colors, but really feel like I'm working in the dark as far as; are they opaque, transparent, cool, warm and do I use a combo of those in one piece and where? Do I have the right red or blue for mixing? Last night I went to the color theory and mixing area here at WC and was enlightened about using black. One of the first pieces of advice I had from a professionally trained artist was to throw away my tube of black and mix my own dark colors. SO....I've been faithful to that and feel like I could have saved myself a lot of grief over the years by ignoring that piece of wisdom. Also...raw umber was an eye opener. The earthy colors in general have been almost absent from any of my work. Makes me wonder how they've turned out as well as they have. I have shown my work in various venues and even won a couple of awards. I've sold many pieces and had several commissions. People seem to really like what I'm doing, but I still feel at sea a lot of the time when I start something. My question, after all this is, when I start a new piece, how can I have a better plan of where to start and how to build an under painting with colors that are in harmony rather than just mixing as I go and painting by trial and error. I always feel like I have to be fixing and changing. I also feel like maybe I've been using a lot more paint than I've needed to. I know this has been long, but It's something that's been bugging me for months now and I'd really like some advice as to how I can move on from always experimenting and not being really sure that what I've got up there for paint is right for what I'm trying to convey. Also, lighting while I paint is a mystery. Natural light vs. artificial?? Any ideas, advice or observations would be most welcome. I'm very thankful for this place to come to.

Shirl Parker
05-14-2015, 02:33 PM
Hello Everyone!
I joined this site years ago when I first started painting but haven't visited for a long time. I'm still painting, but not as often as I'd like to. I have never taken a formal art class but have been self taught, just picking up things here and there and experimenting.

Lately I've started watching Utube videos of instructors who's work is what I want mine to look like. In doing so, I'm realizing that I'm spending a lot of time (STILL) trying to get my colors mixed right and then getting the right brush to get the effect I want etc. etc... I end up getting what I want, but it seems to take forever and some frustration in the mean time.

I'm using a limited pallet, usually 6-8 colors, but really feel like I'm working in the dark as far as; are they opaque, transparent, cool, warm and do I use a combo of those in one piece and where? Do I have the right red or blue for mixing?

Last night I went to the color theory and mixing area here at WC and was enlightened about using black. One of the first pieces of advice I had from a professionally trained artist was to throw away my tube of black and mix my own dark colors. SO....I've been faithful to that and feel like I could have saved myself a lot of grief over the years by ignoring that piece of wisdom. Also...raw umber was an eye opener. The earthy colors in general have been almost absent from any of my work. Makes me wonder how they've turned out as well as they have.

I have shown my work in various venues and even won a couple of awards. I've sold many pieces and had several commissions. People seem to really like what I'm doing, but I still feel at sea a lot of the time when I start something.

My question, after all this is, when I start a new piece, how can I have a better plan of where to start and how to build an under painting with colors that are in harmony rather than just mixing as I go and painting by trial and error. I always feel like I have to be fixing and changing. I also feel like maybe I've been using a lot more paint than I've needed to. I know this has been long, but It's something that's been bugging me for months now and I'd really like some advice as to how I can move on from always experimenting and not being really sure that what I've got up there for paint is right for what I'm trying to convey.

Also, lighting while I paint is a mystery. Natural light vs. artificial?? Any ideas, advice or observations would be most welcome. I'm very thankful for this place to come to.
Welcome back. I've taken a moment to break up your paragraph into smaller ones so it will be easier for others to read. I know I always have trouble with long ones.

Charlie's Mum
05-14-2015, 03:27 PM
Welcome here/back!

The questions you ask actually are pretty big to answer in one post!

I have a question for you though - have you ever made colour charts of the colours you have and how they react to each other?
The opening post of this thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285864) will give you an idea of what I mean - it's about Acrylic inks, but the principle remains the same whatever the medium:)

Knowing what you will get when mixing any two colours together should help you, so make some charts and find out what you like from the mixes and what you don't like.

Try separating your basic palette of primaries into warm and cool sets ... say a cool yellow (lemon) and a warm yellow (Cadmium) - then add a cool blue to the lemon and a warm blue to the cad y. Choose your reds in a similar way ..........
What happens when you mix two cools?
What happens when you mix two warms?
what happens if you mix a warm with a cool?
Judge the results for yourself.:)

For a painting, you could try an underpainting (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=268085) of greys to set the tonal values correctly - this should look like a finished painting ........ then try adding glazes over and see what happens ....... just try on a very small space first - practice!:)

Check out our Information Kiosk - our sub forum of all sorts of knowledge!
Look in the Classroom Index for suitable classes and see how the host and the members worked together to explore the medium.

Check out the PALs and see how different people approached a similar subject.

Indirect daylight is probably the optimum lighting but we don't all always have good light!
With artificial lighting, blue daylight bulbs are supposed to give you the nearest to natural lighting - you'll need to illuminate both canvas and palette:)

Hope this helps, but we don't know how you like to paint, or what .... so share some work where you can ask specific questions and we'll do our best to help!:)

Charlie's Mum
05-14-2015, 04:24 PM
Pam - I've moved this out of the Cafe as it's likely to get more response in its own thread.:)

ColinS
05-14-2015, 07:11 PM
Also have a look at the Umbrella thread for Frequently Asked Questions and see if there are any helpful threads indexed there.

I took a painting workshop last autumn and we were told to work from a palette that included a warm and cool colour of each of the primary colours and part of the time in the workshop was dedicated to creating colour charts to get the secondary greens, purples, and oranges. I found that process very useful and got a great homemade colour chart out of it. :)

As for light, I have a natural light lamp that I find invaluable for working indoors. I would struggle to work under normal incandescent light.

Psalm341
05-14-2015, 10:39 PM
There are some good, practical suggestions here. Just the kind of thing I was looking for. I have heard of doing color charts, but not actually how to go about that. From the things you suggest, I think that will be very helpful. There is an abundance of knowledge here in the different areas of the forum! I'm sure I will benefit. Colin, I like the idea of a natural light lamp. Any tips on a certain type or where to purchase? Thanks everyone, for your input.

Fox_eNova
05-15-2015, 12:35 AM
I think most of us self-taught painters go through the same trail & error method in color mixing and application. It's the learning process that makes painting a challenge and an enjoyable, peaceful hobby. Personally, it gives me solace and I learn something everyday I paint. What makes you think that a master artist with 30 yrs experience does NOT go through the same frustrations, perhaps on a lesser scale? They been/are there, done that and learned from their mistakes too.

There are few (written) short cuts that will work for everyone, all the time, but for the most part it is applying yourself and gaining the experience. Which will take time, effort and material expenses. Waste of paint? I can think of dozens of hobbies and personal challenging, enjoyable, and fun endeavors, that have many more frustrations and waste a lot more money!

I think that comparing your work against that of accomplished artist is a waste. Not to belittle the work of other artists but we are all different, with an assortment of talents, and one's art should reflect that. Compare your current work to the last pieces you've done. Ask yourself, "Why do I paint?"
MHO.

Dan37650
05-15-2015, 09:20 AM
Now you have me wondering..."why do I paint"? I need to ponder that for a bit.

cliff.kachinske
05-15-2015, 02:17 PM
Psalm, know that you are not alone in frustration of this kind. You have described my painting process exactly.

Psalm341
05-15-2015, 07:42 PM
Thanks guys....good stuff. I paint because I love to.....I have to. I love getting lost in it and watching things emerge. Maybe my frustration comes from hardly ever having the time I want, to paint until I get it the way I want. Interruptions seem to be continuous some days. It really is good to hear from others who experience the same things and that it's OK. I just need to relax and let it happen I guess. Comparing is never a good idea. I do have my own style....I just take a long time to get there. :thumbsup:

Psalm341
05-15-2015, 08:41 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-May-2015/132596-2500536437986.jpg


This is a sample of my work. I do land and seascapes most often.

Jon Bradley
05-15-2015, 10:52 PM
Wow, big ideas here, and lots of them! Lol

Philosophy of "why art" is an entire other thread (and a common interest of mine separately), but since it was popped open i'll pitch in: personally, I enjoy honing a skill that's fun and impressive. I also like the idea of leaving something behind that people can enjoy for a long time-art is a way to do this.

The two ways I consider thinking about painting are either A.) An elaborate plan with a scheduled outcome, or B.) Being critical every step of the way and adding or subtracting until it meets a reasonable expectation.

I'm A "B" painter, and really I can't imagine not constantly changing and tweaking a painting. I can sympathize with the idea of point A-to-B being less stressful or intimidating, but from how I understand it, it's just part of the process. Everything else seems like craft to me.

I'm a big advocate of a limited palette, especially in acrylics.

LavenderFrost
05-16-2015, 11:57 AM
I think painting is one of those things where we never stop learning. But you have found success with sales and awards so you must be doing something right!

Colin, is that an OTT light you use? I keep thinking about getting one, or even just getting the bulbs, but can't find them locally.

ColinS
05-16-2015, 01:05 PM
There are some good, practical suggestions here. Just the kind of thing I was looking for. I have heard of doing color charts, but not actually how to go about that. From the things you suggest, I think that will be very helpful. There is an abundance of knowledge here in the different areas of the forum! I'm sure I will benefit. Colin, I like the idea of a natural light lamp. Any tips on a certain type or where to purchase? Thanks everyone, for your input.

My lamp is from this company.

https://uk.daylightcompany.com/art-studio-lamps.html

It's a UK company so not sure if it's available where you are. My wife bought it from our local art supply store.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-May-2015/1183569-image.jpg

You can also see a colour chart I made in the background. :)

ColinS
05-16-2015, 01:23 PM
I like your painting by the way. Looks very familiar as I think the north New England East Coast and Pacific Northwest have a lot in common. (Trees, water, rocks). :D

I paint because I love the process of capturing a time and place and. Then translating the scene into something more than it is. That's why I like landscapes foremost I guess. On another thread we were discussing a painting of a field by Van Gogh. In reality, the location where he painted is kind of drab and frankly dull. But he transformed the whole thing into a timeless glimpse of late 19th century rural Provence and created a masterpiece through the use of vivid colour. Given the colours and subject matter, he literally spun straw into gold. :lol:

So, I guess that's how I look at painting, like being an alchemist trying to turn the straw and even chaff of life/the world into gold. And even fool's gold glitters. :D

cresta126
05-17-2015, 03:53 PM
Have you seen this persons YouTube videos? willkempartschool. I have found them helpful, and after a good six months of frustration with color mixing, I am feeling quite optimistic

cinderblockstudios
05-19-2015, 01:21 AM
Well to start color mixing is quite a bit about mileage with the medium. It does take quite a bit of time and practice to learn to mix with your choice color set. When it comes to "not having black" I can only somewhat agree. While yes for a beginner, black isn't a good color to have, the more you work, the more you'll find it necessary for certain things. Making your own color wheel with just red, yellow, and blue, can be a great way to learn how to mix the colors on your palette.

When it comes to creating natural light many beginners will want to add white to "lighten" a color. For a natural green this becomes problematic as you'll get a minty color rather than a "light green." For light never underestimate the power of yellow.

Finally I'm a bit curious on what exact colors you're working with? Certain blues and yellow especially can greatly effect you mixes.

Jon Bradley
05-19-2015, 07:23 PM
I find most new painters neglect color temperature and value more than anything else.

I'm not a real fan of color prescriptions and exacting charts either, but learning about color bias and maintaining a particular temp. when mixing is a very good thing to study imo.

Keep learning. :thumbsup:

Edit: Lastly, and this is just a mental note that's good to tell yourself: It's all about what you can do for your medium, not the other way around.

I'm not implying to "git gud" necessarily, but I've read too much "insert medium just doesn't work for me." when it just requires a different way of thinking, etc.

jocko500
05-19-2015, 11:49 PM
I read Akiane book and i love her paintings but she say she many of times just x out the face she was working on to go to bed. she had a hard time getting the faces right and hands also. She too is self taught you can see her work on youtube.

Psalm341
05-20-2015, 12:30 PM
Well to start color mixing is quite a bit about mileage with the medium. It does take quite a bit of time and practice to learn to mix with your choice color set. When it comes to "not having black" I can only somewhat agree. While yes for a beginner, black isn't a good color to have, the more you work, the more you'll find it necessary for certain things. Making your own color wheel with just red, yellow, and blue, can be a great way to learn how to mix the colors on your palette.

When it comes to creating natural light many beginners will want to add white to "lighten" a color. For a natural green this becomes problematic as you'll get a minty color rather than a "light green." For light never underestimate the power of yellow.

Finally I'm a bit curious on what exact colors you're working with? Certain blues and yellow especially can greatly effect you mixes.

I'm starting to understand the concept of values more and more and the importance of working from dark to light. Also prepping my canvas with a background color instead of starting with a white one.

Although I have lightened a green with white and gotten the mint that you speak of, I am using more and more yellow for light. I just recently acquired a Hansa yellow medium which I really like. I also use cad yellow medium and occasionally some ochre.

I'm using Naphthol red medium and some Cad red medium, Ultramarine blue and just picked up a Cerulean.

I've been using Hookers green almost exclusively but just got some Sap green that I like real well. Phthalo (blue shade) oncce in a while and sparingly.

I was using dioxazine purple regularly, added to Hookers green and then used for a black, or added white for graying or some Ultramarine or cobalt for a more blue shade.

Just getting into the umbers and siennas as well. My current problem is getting a sky that isn't so purple. Everything I'm trying seems to gray it.

Again, thanks for all the feedback!

cinderblockstudios
05-20-2015, 04:39 PM
Seems like you've got a nice color set there. I'd like to suggest Phthalo Blue instead of the Ultramarine though, as it's a better mixing color. Cad. Yellow also is more effective than the Hansa Yellow because of it's opacity. I would advise against using umbers and siennas though. You can make way more interesting browns by mixing you complements.

Psalm341
05-20-2015, 10:13 PM
Have you seen this persons YouTube videos? willkempartschool. I have found them helpful, and after a good six months of frustration with color mixing, I am feeling quite optimistic

These are perfect! Thanks for sharing the name. I think I feel optimism coming on. :clap:

Morton
05-21-2015, 05:04 AM
I just have to follow the impulse to chip in. You've had good advice. The why do I do art, I think it is as was said by ColinS you can do alchemy and turn a very ordinary scene into a landscape or seascape that has drama and interest. That's not the only reason though. I write and painting is another expressive mode -often when I want to feel not think.

I have made pages of x and Y = Z especially for greens. It helps to embed it into your head so that you reach for what you want 'instinctively'.

I think the tutor's loathing for tube black is in case a student slaps it on and relies on it instead of trying to use a nuanced dark so I think you would know when you can use a tube black. I like the warm earths, umbers and siennas so if you do then use those for the effect you want.

Have to dash, have fun.

Nature2Canvas
05-21-2015, 06:31 AM
I sometimes ask myself why I paint too, because for most things I don't feel motivated to do it unless there seems a good point/purpose in doing it. Painting just feels like something I need to do though - a compulsion, and I don't feel right if I haven't painted for a few days. I feel fulfilment from it and a high when I've completed a painting that looks the way I want it to. So maybe it's an addiction!

Worrying about mixing colours and which colours are 'correct' to use is not something I've ever bothered about as I just want to get on with the actual painting. The painting you posted is very nice and you said you are selling and people like your work, so it seems to me like you have nothing to worry about.

When I start a painting, because it's acrylic and you can go over the top of each layer easily, I just use any old colour to 'draw' it and just think about getting the rough tonal values even if the colours are totally unrealistic. Then I gradually correct the colours as I go along.

Psalm341
05-21-2015, 09:50 AM
Reading through all of this discussion and remembering some things I've read from other people, I'm getting a sense of where I fit into all of this. There seems to be a number of ways to get to the goal of producing a satisfying piece of art. Three quarters of the fun is getting there.

I've seen so many dogmatic statements about what to use and what not to use for color that I'm feeling more comfortable with settling somewhere in the middle and choosing what I think will work for me.

Tube black may have a place at times, but I certainly will use other things to get those deeper colors. Color charts seem to be very valuable to most, so I will be experimenting with those.

I recently read an article about how to improve your skills by the kind of practise you do. The blogger likened it to the game of golf.

A full game requires 80-100 different types of strokes/shots like a full painting requires a full range of different colors, brush strokes and techniques.

Going to the golf range to practise particular shots over and over is much more effective for practise than playing a full round.

So in our paintig, practising individual elements ie; color mixing, sketching, painting trees, rocks, skies etc. etc is a much better use of our practise time than trying to paint full pictures every time we paint.
Valuable advice!

EnPassant
05-21-2015, 12:25 PM
There is no rule set in stone about using black. The old masters used it (Velazques) and some moderns (John Singer Sargent). You can get greys by mixing black with green or purple and white that you can get no other way. The impressionists, being colour purists, avoided it but it really depends on what kind of painting you want to do. You can also mix your own black with Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine, with a little red if necessary.