A blue diamond rose oil painting is on the easel today. I’m gearing up for another Paul Foxton workshop and we had a free livestream paintalong today. Really pleased with this one and I’m loathe to touch it any more even though I can see areas where it needs it.
Canvas panels are great for studies
The painting is on a cheap 8×10 canvas panel. I doubt these have great longevity as they’re made of cardboard but they’re good for studies. We mixed up light and dark values for both of the roses, the background, the vase and the leaves. This took a while. It was probably 90 minutes of just mixing but it’s worth it.
The problem with mixing is actually a problem with seeing
The problem of mixing can be split into two parts. The first part (and the hardest) is identifying exactly which color you need to mix. We are constantly fooled by our eyes when looking at subjects. If a subject is in strong light or strong shadow our brain compensates and makes it hard for use to know exactly what the color is. For instance, the white rose on the right definitely reads as white. Even in the shadow area at the top it still looks white. But if we isolate that color we see that it’s actaully a value 5. And 5 is exactly half way down the value scale. It’s so easy to overstate the values in these regions and make them much lighter than they appear. And then the painting doesn’t work.
Once we’ve identified the color correctly mixing it is relatively straightforward. If we know the color we know the hue (orange, red, blue etc), the value (dark to light on a 1-10 scale), and the chroma (how bright or gray the color is).
Putting the paint on the canvas
When we finally got to putting the paint on the canvas it all went pretty quickly. We had already mixed the main colors. We then blocked in the areas and blended between them to get smooth transitions where needed. The petals were trickier. We had to mix between the main values to get the more subtle value shifts. We also needed deft brushwork to get the petals to read well.
But on the whole this was a great success. I could clean my brushes happy after a good day’s painting.
Here it is alongside the reference.