View Full Version : Why is it?

02-06-2002, 12:41 AM
Hi all,

As a new boy here, may I ask what may be a daft question.

Why, when life bombards us ( as individuals ), with colour in all it's nuances from pale to brilliant, is it so difficult for me to paint.

Much of my success - so far - has been in rendering images in white and shades of black - the pencil drawing in other words.

This means that I have already had to mentally make the connection between colour and tone, in order to drawn or sketch and shade in monchrome.

Leaving aside the practical issue of paints/pastels etc. Why does it appear so hard to make the between colour on the object/figure/landscape and putting it down on the canvas/paper.

Whenever I have tried, in the past, matching colours in real life etce, the end painting looks unreal.

Is it just me, or is this a more common problem for others too ??

I've noted some comments about painting first of all in monochrome and then overpainting in colour. That may be my first point of call, unless someone can direct me in another way.

If all this makes sense, could anyone guide me in this before I go slightly crazy and throw all my paints away.........:crying:

02-06-2002, 01:56 AM
Hard to say. Maybe if you posted an example of your work...

02-06-2002, 03:37 AM
it would be easier if you posted an image and pointed out what bothers you.

maybe you're trying TOO hard to match color.

let me tell you a little secret........EVERYONE who looks at your painting will know it's only a painting. no matter how hard you try, you will never convince them your painting is ,,,,like,,,,,,,,real.

somewhere along the line, a translation must be made by you. you have to translate an impression, YOUR impression, to the viewer. in that respect, YOU have total control. use it.....{M}

ps...i'd still like to see an image:)

02-06-2002, 02:09 PM
Thanks for your comments. Perhaps if I had any thing that survived my criticism I may be able to show it !!!

I'll keep trying, and then pluck up some courage to display......

02-06-2002, 07:49 PM
What I've discovered is that when I try to match colors exactly, people say "oh, very nice" but when I push them a bit, let myself go a little, people say "Wow-- I like that!" People like color. The trick for someone like myself who wants to paint realistically is to push just enough, but not far enough to cross over into impressionism or other color-intensive schools (not that I don't like those-- I do-- it's just not the way I want to paint right now.) In particular, I've learned to keep white out of my dark values altogether, even if they seem to need some. Instead, if I want a light dark, I mix it using my lightest primaries (cadmium yellow pale, cerulean, and cadmium red light). If it still seems too dark, I just go with it, and key my light values off of it. Keeping the intensity in the darks has helped my paintings a lot.

02-06-2002, 10:39 PM
Originally posted by Geoff
Why, when life bombards us ( as individuals ), with colour in all it's nuances from pale to brilliant, is it so much easier to mentally make the connection between colour and tone, and draw more satisfactorily in monchrome, than to paint in colour.

I've adjusted the quote a little to try to explain a little better what the quandary is. What I'm trying to ask, is perhaps more more philosophical.

We start with colour, how come it's easier to translate that into a monochrome image, than a colour one. I feel I'm not the only beginner lost with this issue, it appears often enough in artists magazines.

02-09-2002, 12:44 PM
Geoff, this is a very common problem so you're not alone, if I recall my early stumbling steps I had trouble of just the kind you mention. The basic issue is that value is much more important to humans than hue - this is a fundamental of human vision - and the translation of a scene to a painting involves the simultaneous rendering of placement and value (drawing), hue and chroma (painting) which is a very complex integrated task that takes time to develop. Unless you have an innate skill with colour, which few people do, you have to work towards integrating it into your expression.

Apart from the common advice to constantly keep your eyes open and really look at the world, I would suggest two routes that might help: first colouring drawings - you can slowly increase the amount of colour, secondly work on simple subjects to begin with - small still lifes are a good starter subject, with maybe a couple of nice high-chroma fruit on a white or grey ground.

Hope this helps,

02-09-2002, 12:53 PM
as Milt said, don't sweat the exact colours too much, correct value is much more important to a successful image than colour.

This is why people who work with a limited palette like one blue, one red and one yellow, plus black and white, can make very good representations of reality despite the fact that in most cases the colours are only vaguely correct.


02-10-2002, 03:45 AM
Einion & all.

Many thanks for your comments.
Perserverance and sweat seems to be the order of the day.

I've posted a couple of paintings that I did on Saturday, on another thread.

Einion, I appear to have an eye for the values, otherwise I wouldn't be able to translate a colour image into monochrome. So the sense of colour needs training a little.

Many thanks again.....