View Full Version : Cool browns?

02-24-2017, 02:37 PM
More a general question than specific wildlife related. But since I paint wildlife almost exclusively, and spend my viewing time on this forum, thought I would pose it here.
I've had a tricky time trying to convey some colors I see, specifically in mountains and animals, to lower the value and convey depth. Those colors include rusts, coppers, reds, browns, etc. I see those colors in my references and in real life but find it tricky to lower the value without the color becoming something else. For example, in trying to make a low value red it will come out pink by adding white. Not the color I am trying to convey when I see a pale red on a mountain or animal. In the red example, by adding green (its complement) I often end up with a muddy color that has very little resemblance to red. And, in adding grey, it becomes a flat version that really doesn't have the right hue that I see.
Hope this makes sense. Anyone have any suggestions on how to mix and convey these colors?

02-24-2017, 11:01 PM
What medium do you work with?
It might be a good idea to make little swatches of different combinations you want to achieve. Use raw sienna, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, raw umber, purple and tiny amounts of Payne's grey to mute the colors.

chammi kaiser
02-25-2017, 07:36 AM
It is important to know what medium you are using.
Burnt sienna mixed with a little magenta makes a fabulous deep mahogany brown. There are lots of mixtures but if you stick to the earth colours, you should be okay. It isn't a bad idea to google copper, rusty brown mixes. You should find a lot of charts but I think the best way is to experiment on a piece of spare paper and when you reach the shade you like, write down each of the colours you have used. I have added a neutral grey to red and toned the value down considerably.

02-27-2017, 11:19 AM
Good questions and tips! For a very cool temp brown I use transparents (watercolors) of alizarin crimson + thalo green.

02-27-2017, 02:32 PM
Medium - oil.
Based on the replies, I think my issue with not obtaining those colors is mixing too much of one color at a time (too much green to cool red, etc.) . I will try smaller amounts, as mentioned, and see if that helps.
Also, it is a little more challenging given that I have a degree of red-green color "blindness". I can see those colors but getting the right values is tricky. I mix, paint, and my wife comes by and tells me the odd color I have in certain places. I think I may mix and paint a value scale (and have her check it!) to help. Writing those mixes beside each is a good idea. Thanks for the suggestions.