View Full Version : Advice needed regarding tinted paper

07-05-2004, 05:22 PM
OK, I confess, I need you help again..

I just bought some tinted papers various colours/tones and am not sure how to select the correct colour to use, so any advice would be welcome.

When choosing a tinted background paper what is your preferred option.
Choose a complimentary colour?
Choose a Neutral Grey Colour?

Thanks in Anticipation of you sharing your wisdom.

07-05-2004, 05:50 PM
whew, bet you get a lot of varied answers on this! Ultimately it comes down to my subject matter. If I want something strong and bold I tend to want a complementary color...a strong one. But oil pastels are opaque and I can completely cover the original tint in areas if I want to. Mostly though I like a mid tone color...cool if my painting is predominantly cool and vice versa. I use it then to gauge my lights and darks. I usually tint my marble gesso supports a nice pale pearl gray..either bluish or pinkish. I actually like working on white a lot of times but since I rarely underpaint it's very hard to go dark enough at first because even a light dark looks really, really dark on white and it's very hard to see my highlights against all that white expanse. Sometimes I pick a color that is close to what I want my background to be, I use less pastel then to cover the background and it helps me to gauge my color choices against it. I think you'll have to do lots of experimenting to see what works best for you :)

07-05-2004, 06:02 PM
Hi Dominic. We've had questions about paper colour before, but I can never seem to find them .... never too sure whether to search on 'colour' or 'color', for a start :D I did manage to dig this one up, though, which may be of some help: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178964

In your WDE picture of the palm trees and beach, you seemed dissatisfied with your choice of paper colour. I think the blue worked fine - but you might equally well have chosen a warmer tint (a red, burgundy, sand or yellow, for instance) and allowed that to show through the dominant blues of your painting. Might be a fun project to try your hand at the same reference pic again, but on a totally different paper colour. I've tried it with portraits and it does give a slightly different mood to a picture, as well as encouraging me to make different colour choices!

07-05-2004, 06:32 PM
Yep, that's half the fun...experimenting! Might cut yourself some small pieces of every color you got and then try out little thumbnail sketches with various palettes of colors. Try warm colors on cool paper, vice versa, dark rich paper under a high toned scene, vice versa, and so on. Just play around with it and you'll soon find combinations you like!

Another option...if you have a computer paint program, you could try this without really using your paper at all....just make the "background" color the same as your paper colors or as close as possible, then try different "pastel" colors on that to see what it would look like (an approximation anyway).

Have fun with it!

Ruth Grinstead
07-06-2004, 03:21 AM
Thanks for asking the question Dominic. I shall watch the answers with interest as I am trying to suss out the paper colour question as well as about 100 others :D .


07-07-2004, 02:21 AM
when students have asked me this in the past, this is the list I usually give them, as a very rough guide.

1. If the subject is predominantly light tones without a lot of contrast- use a light-mid-tone paper, (pale blue, pale grey) so that there isn't too much jump from the paper colour to the lightest tones in the pic.

2. If the subject needs lots of contrasting tones - a dark-toned paper will give more contrast to the lights.

3. If the subject is predominantly cool - a garden scene with lots of greens, for instance - a "complementary" colour (the opposite colour on the colour wheel) can work well, providing a touch of warmth. So...under a green pic, a warm pink, maroon, terracotta,or umber paper, will work rather well.

4. If the subject is predominantly hot - a cool colour paper will work well, providing contrast. However choosing another hot colour will "knit" with the hot colours in the pic,(red pic on orange paper) if you aren't interested in contrast.

5. If you aren't sure what to use, stick with neutrals! Canson's lovely soft greys, or umbers, work with just about everything!

6. If you have cream, or white paper, remember that every coloured stroke you make will contrast strongly with the paper. If you use the rough side of the paper, and sometimes even the smooth side, your marks will have little white or cream dots showing through. If you don't like this, stretch your white or cream paper, and do an underpainting. Or, start with lots of side strokes of colour in a fairly random way, and rub them into the paper with a tissue to provide a thin veil of colour. Fix, and begin your pic.

7. For a high-contrast pic, using bold strong colour, try working on black.

Hope this helps,

07-07-2004, 10:58 AM
Thanks for all the pointers and links supplied, they have proved very informative and helpful.

07-08-2004, 12:48 AM
I work predominantly on white supports, but the colored papers can be frightenly fun....the Canson Oyster color is a nice warm neutral that seems to work with all subjects...one would think the peach LaCarte would be the deal for a caucasian portrait, but it did not work well for me :confused: (go figure) Soooooo have fun finding what works best for you,,be sure to state the color of your support used when you post!