View Full Version : Color Woes, Need Help

05-15-2004, 04:26 PM
I have this painting that I'm having multiple problems with. Please keep in mind that mostly I've just been laying in colors and shapes so it's definitely still in the "ugly stage". I'm having several problems that are keeping me from moving forward. They are specifically:


Background greenery. I would like to push the background back without muddying it. It has both phalo blue/cad yellow (green) and orange. I think it's fighting with the subject so my first instinct was just to glaze it. However, whatever color I thought od using for a glaze doesn't seem to work with the other colors.

Fence. It needs to be muted and more like weathered wood. I'm thinking a more grey/brown. I don't know whether to go greenish/brown (ew, maybe not though in the photo it's "mossy") or grey/brown. What color do I use? I have a pretty full pallete but I'll note that I do NOT have an umber of any sort so I am dependant on mixing.

Foreground: Want this to be more the effect of wet cement with an orangish reflecton. Again, colors to use to bring this out. The base is phalo blue/hint of cad yellow.

The purple flowers are going to be much lighter and the yellow flowers will be shadowed with purple which will result in an orangish glow.

Got to run but be back later. ANY suggestions would be helpful. Please, I used too many disconnected colors I think and now I'm stuck.

Laura G
05-15-2004, 05:17 PM
Can you get a photo of it for us to see? that would be a big help.

05-15-2004, 06:37 PM
I wish I could see the picture, so I'm not sure if this will help, but....

There seems to be so many things you arent happy with on your painting. When I am in the middle of a painting that's not working on that many levels, I usually take a white wash to it. I mix about 50-50 with water and just wash over the whole canvas so that I can see the construction of it and tonalities but it brings everything back to ground zero in terms of color. Then I can go back and warm up or cool down, re-contrast if need be or leave things fade into the background. (test how thick you need to go first before applying, you don't want to obliterate it, just even it all out) You can also do this with a medium grey wash if it's a dark painting.

I learned this from an instructor a few years back and it's a great way to just take all your problems and delete them. It seems like you are totally destroying your work up to that point, but it really has helped me get the work back on track. I can completely re-make decisions that I knew were wrong but just living with because I was being lazy. I've had some really solid stuff turn out later as a result.