Day of Grays and Neutrals

Oooo neat!

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about.  Grays.  This tomato I’m going to be tackling soon is more brightly colored so it may not be as much of an issue, but something I’ve always had trouble with is getting the right color for every day things.

When I used to paint a still life (many years ago) I’d get a few things nearly perfect but the cloth or the wall in the background or the curtain would have cartoonishly bright colors.  Obviously, it looked like poo.

So before and during the Torpedo Factory class I did some research, watched some videos, bought that color recipe book and so on.

Some painters don’t use black in their paintings at all.  They refuse to because they say it deadens the colors and mood.  You can mix your own black, apparently, from burnt umber and … uh … phthalo blue?  I think that’s right.  Don’t take my word for it, though.

If you want a realistic shadow on an object — a realistic gray or more neutral version of your object’s color — you can add the complementary color.  You can achieve realistic neutral colors like the worn color of an aged, wooden picnic bench.  Or the color of a sheet or curtain in the valleys of shadow.  There’s the color of it, the part where direct cool light from the window hits it, the part where the warm indoor light hits it, and all the shadows.

The colors you can achieve are beautiful.  But I had trouble the other day getting a dark enough yellow (in the painting of the vase and wine glass — I’ll include pics when I get home).  You can’t just keeping adding purple (or magenta).

Then later, I looked at it using the Pantone app, which is like Adobe Kuler in that it generates a color palette from a photo.  The color of the shadow on the yellow cloth was — take a guess — Drab Olive.

What does "dark yellow" mean?

So I really have to learn to open my eyes.

We’ll see if this comes into play with the tomato.  Some of the backlighting is pretty neutral.

Oh.  Supposed to be working.

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