Monday, August 27, 2012


work in process
Tip: Taking a photo of your work in various stages is always a good idea - even if you delete the photos once you are done the project. The photos act like looking at your painting in a mirror, or turning it to the wall for a few days. You see it differently and notice places that need attention that you would not otherwise see.

Case-in-point is this lily in a pond painting I am doing in oils. I finished up the water, and now have  a few more lily pads to paint before I begin the white lily and its reflections. I had just enough of the paint I had mixed for the water to do all the water spaces, and I was really pleased! But when I looked at this photo which I had taken to post here, I noticed a teeeeny weeeeny little sliver of white up in the right corner of the canvas. RATS!!!!!!! I missed it and that is also water! AAARRRRGGGGGG. 

So here is another tip:  when you are mixing your own colors, it is wise to write down somewhere what hues you combined to create that certain color. That way you can go back and match the original color on the canvas without much difficulty. Or if you didn't like the color that those paints combined to make, you won't waste time doing that mixture again! 

Fortunately for me, I had set aside the 3 colors I used to mix the dark of the water...and from experience I know about how much of each to use to recreate the exact hue. And even if I wasn't bang-on, the sliver I need to fill in is far enough away from the rest of the water to not be noticeable if the color is slightly different. Rather than mixing just enough to do that little sliver, I think I will mix enough of this color to paint around the sides instead of using the black that I often paint with to finish the edges.

In case you are wondering what 3 colors I use to create "black" - I almost always use a red, a green and a blue. In this case the group is Cadmium Red, Prussian Green and Anthraquinone Blue. This combination gives a rich, deep black that can be pushed toward any of the colors in the trio. For this painting, I made the black more "blue-black". 

And here is a third tip: Remember, there will not be equal amounts of the 3 colors when you mix a "black". Red is the most powerful hue, so I used a little dab of that. The Anthraquinone Blue is also very powerful, but I used a larger dab of that since I wanted the water to be a blue-black. And finally, the poor green is the weakest of the 3, mostly because it is already made up of several pigments. (In order to create green, you have to mix 2 or more pigments together because it is not one of the primary colors.) Therefore, I used a fairly large dab of the green so that it would have a fighting chance with the other two powerhouse colors.

So remember to write down your mixing combinations, and to take photos of your work. Believe me - the one time you NEED to remember what that process was, or what that color was created from, will more than make up for the few minutes it takes with each painting to photograph it and write down the color combinations you used!

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