Tuesday, 29 July 2014

More Hints on Colour Choices

I have had an online friend Leona Fraser for some time now (she is a very accomplished painter!!) and she has been incredibly supportive of my own work and art journey. I saw this image she posted of her wonderful dog Buster and decided it was a dog in waiting, that is waiting to be painted!!

I loved the composition as well as his soft trusting face so decided to paint him....

The main thing I think about with a painting like this is the palette I should use... as many of you will know I tend not to use more than about 5 or 6 colours in any one painting and still use my planets to get a combination I think will work. Check out this blog I did a couple of years ago which you might find useful.

I always like to use a rich dark, either indigo, ub, purple (usually winsor violet which is my favourite purple), perylene maroon and sometimes more than one dark... then I usually choose a yellow and a red and mix them on the paper to see what effects I get and whether I like the mix. Sometimes the combination needs a subtle change from say quin gold to raw sienna or vice versa. I don't always know what I'm looking for, it is often a process of elimination trying different mixes until I hit on something I think will work. However I could also choose an entirely different combination and still feel it would work!!

There is nothing special or requiring special talent in what I do it is simply a process of trying different things maybe choosing unlikely combinations which helps make the painting more unique but I can assure there is nothing more to it than just choosing some colours and hitting on a mix which I think looks nice.

Colours used in this

UB, winsor violet, burnt sienna, aliz crimson, transparent orange, raw sienna, but it really doesn't matter which colours I used I could equally have decided on prussian blue or indigo, touch of turquoise, permanent rose, that is down to personal choice and what might be an interesting exercise would be to do several paintings of the same subject using a different palette in each case!!

I did a quick sketch of this, it is important even when painting a loose watercolour, the drawing has to be accurate so I placed the nose and eyes then painted around them.

I would encourage you all to try different colours, just play with the paint and see what different combinations you can get, admittedly they may not be realistic but to me that is all part of the fun!!

Am delighted to say Leona loved this by the way!!


  1. The art of color mixing is the key to coming up with a nice lively interesting painting as you did here. I do the same thing as you by trying out different mixes on bits of paper first. It always works better with transparent colors I find. Less chance of mud.

  2. Terrific dog portrait, Judith, and thanks for the handy colour choosing tips.

  3. Judith erg mooi geworden lieve groetjes Danielle

  4. I love the way you "played with the paint" on this piece Judith. Great idea to paint the nose and eyes first. Of course Leona had to love it!


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