Colour: Mixing and matching


170425a Tennis Ball (2017) oil on canvas

Tried mixing colours using photos as a source to match. I never usually do this, but it was interesting. I can see my hues aren’t quite right with these; the tennis ball needs more green to my eyes, and the kiwi a little deeper yellow in the green (as they are, they look like a kiwi/cucumber cross).

Since I can see those problems that means I could still improve my colour mixing before I hit a wall with my cvd. Anyhow, I’m starting to think about my colour “mistakes” in a different way. I often say that painting with colour blindness is like singing for a person who’s tone-deaf, but maybe not every singer has to have great pitch. If I’m being very kind to myself, I can imagine my colour skills like Leonard Cohen’s singing range – very limited, but we listen to him because his wonderful words and songs are his own and nobody else sings them quite like him.


170425b Kiwi (2017) oil on canvas

Another way of looking at it is I might end up like a Florence Foster Jenkins of colourists, staging my own exhibitions of big noisy paintings with horrendous colours that are painful to the eyes of any discerning person, but at least good for a laugh. That doesn’t sound so bad. And the punks got by on three chords and attitude, so there’s that too. This is a lot of musical analogies.

Getting the white balance in the photos is so difficult, that’s a whole other issue.


2 thoughts on “Colour: Mixing and matching

  1. Liam Leonard

    It had never occurred to me that one tactic for you with colour might be simply to copy. Anyway your upbeat is upbeat and the hell with it if you have to double as a punk artist sometimes. Actually, now I come to think about it,,,,,


  2. Before now I hadn’t tried copying because (1) I didn’t want to get bogged down in my own inaccuracies, and (2) I generally prefer expressionist non-naturalistic colour. But I’ve tried painting whatever colour I like, and it turns out I don’t like the colour combinations I’m arriving at. This copying process is teaching me about the difference between how colours look mixed on the palette and how they look combined on the canvas. It’s been an eye-opener already.


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