View Full Version : WIP Bugga

11-15-2015, 07:31 PM

Title: WIP Bugga
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 8x10
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

So I am working on this painting and all along I have wanted to do a white background. Well once I painted it in (it was the imprimatura before) It looks washed out.

My question is, is it the background that is making it washed out, or the dog itself? I think my colors are flat. Any tips on how to fix this?

11-15-2015, 09:20 PM
It is a pity that the canvas is just short, with a frame it will be shorter still. Not having a properly gallery wrapped canvas exasperates this issue.

I think the background is fine, focus is on the subject and really with such little background what else would improve it? Nothing.

The dog is really good, I do not think the colour is flat, I cannot see too well but avoid edges which appear 'painted in' giving straight edges.


11-16-2015, 01:49 PM
This was cross-posted to the Color Theory forum, and oops... I offered up some potential advice there in stead of here. In case folks who are viewing here may not have seen that post, here it is:


11-16-2015, 02:08 PM
Here I've added both the before, and after in black and white to show there wasn't much of any adjustment in value contrasts at all. It seemed that warming up the colours as befits the strong, warm lighting (from a flash?) at pretty much the same values is what could be seen as helpful. That plus a consideration to the dog's skin in the ears - in strong, warm lighting and being flush with blood would be much warmer (richer) colour as well. All the changes on the dog, leaving the background unchanged.

The changes to what our brain says it white (it's a warm, peachy colour (?)) are very subtle and also speak of the warm strong lighting and the very short fur being influenced by the dog's skin colour. The ever so slightly shadowed left shoulder was adjusted to match the richness and colouration the subtle shadowing on the legs.

Very tiny changes, all in colour richness to match the strong, diffuse, warm lighting that is falling on the dog. Not literal, of course, but is what ever design the painter wishes to make, that is - artistic license.

The peachy warm "white" mix or whichever is mixed for adjustment, perhaps ever so slightly "scumbled" as a very thin layer, mostly towards the middle or side of the "shape" and falling off to even thinner still towards the coloured fur? Never Titanium White out of the tube, naturally. Even if our brain reads "white" it seldom is that as we know. And it's not at the top of the lightness range either, just a mid to higher light, but not the highest light we can paint, I think.

This is such a great painting!

So, I think it boils down to thinking "What is the lighting like? How strong, how diffuse, what colour tint? And having answered those questions, how does the quality and quantity of the light affect the colours the painter wishes to mix and apply. As often as we talk about values, value structure, and value contrast - colour "richness" (saturation/chroma) and hue are profoundly affected by the lighting as well. Having answered those questions and made our mixing choices, often the results "read" well, without the viewer ever knowing why - that is, the effects are very, very subtle, but give the painting the pop we are seeking.

Just some thoughts....

Hope this helps. Cheers!

11-16-2015, 03:52 PM
Here's little sample strips from the dog's white area, above the eye and up on the dome of the skull. Taken out of context we see how far off white they really are. I sampled the lightest pixel of all I could find in this image. I can't quite reach this mix with the yellow ochre - paints are different so perhaps you can. I could reach it with just a pencil dot of Burnt Sienna in the white, then that colour muted with half as much French Ultramarine as the BS. Experimenting with this, I wonder, could work for a tinted white? Tried out on a scrap piece of canvas? Less is more, just a touch, very transparent/scumbled/glazed? It need not necessarily be applied to the whole pale area, and it need not mask out what's there, just add to it as a touch? A suggestion? And of course, the digital files, and the computer set up - my colours may not be all that faithful to your wonderful oil painting. But it's all in the ball park. Cheers!

11-16-2015, 08:04 PM
Kolinskyred! You have been SUPER HELPFUL! I can't thank you enough!! Before I read your comments and was freaking out I went against everything I KNEW and did but some straight from the tube titanium white on the brightest brights... I hope I didn't screw it up... but my picture I posted here is after I added that... so hopefully it wasn't enough to flatten and deaden it, and it was only on the white side, not the brown. I'm not going to be able to work on this until Friday but I will be SURE to post the final & hope I'm able to pull off your suggestions. I am super thankful for all of the time you put into helping me out here! Invaluable!! THANKS!!!

11-16-2015, 08:44 PM
you're welcome, jlart, I'm sure it will all work. Just to make sure: My little strips of samples from the "white" side of the pup's head are from the already adjusted image, already made a bit warmer, a titch brighter.

11-16-2015, 08:56 PM
yeah, I can see that warmness now. I will definitely add that pencil tip amount of sienna to the yellow ocher and titanium white mix. hopefully that will warm up the coolness going on.

11-20-2015, 05:59 PM
Finished!! Thank you SO MUCH Kolinskyred! Your help was invaluable!! 831138

11-20-2015, 06:01 PM
closer shot831139