As a beginner hobbyist painter (using acrylics at the moment), I am trying to learn the basics and do some practice, and found the videos made by a US guy ('Paint Coach') very instructive.
I have 2 questions regarding this video, where a still life with 3 green apples on a pink background is suggested as a way to study colour transitions, shadows, reflected light etc.
Does it make sense to attempt this using acrylics, although it's originally done in oil?
My idea was that the exercise was mostly about learning about values, hues, etc. than about oil per se or about getting a painting exactly matching the instructor's one. Just checking with you if my assumption is correct or not.
How would you go about mixing the various colours for the apples (using acrylics)?
I tried it out earlier today :), and my main issue was the colour mixing part, especially for the apples (more optional details/explanations below).
Using the advised blocking method, I had to mix first a dark green and a light yellow-green.
That however resulted in the former being more a dull olive green, and the latter a much more vibrant and too light green.
From there it was all very challenging to lighten and darken the colours to make the 'in-between' shades.
To make things worse, the paint, being acrylic, started filming and drying on the palette, so I could not inter-mix, ended up making some more greens and getting even more 'off' hues.
In essence, the result was very noisy and lacking harmony, with bright, cold greens next to dark, warm ones, really fighting each other instead of looking like they belonged together.
So I wonder if the trick that I missed was to make some sort of initial 'reference' green, to darken and lighten more conservatively, to maintain some harmony and coherence in the final palette.
In fact, I can show that Krita identifies just a limited and more harmonious set of colours in the reference photo (I set the max to 20).
Would I be able to make all these colours by making only some of them first, and then branch out by inter-mixing or dulling/lightening?
Another thought/doubt: perhaps this exercise was too hard for a complete beginner? Maybe I should have started with a simple sphere lit from one side, without reflected light, trying to give it form and volume by lightening and darkening only one basic colour.
Or would that be wrong, too, meaning, would I still need to mix rather different hues to start with and do a lot of inter-mixing and transitions?
For reference, I watched these two IMO very nice videos regarding colour mixing, and I learned a lot from them (but clearly then I still do not know what I must do exactly in practice):
Found something using Krita, which may (partly) answer my question 2.
When you pick a colour from the reference image, Krita's 'Advanced Colour Selector' shows you where it is located in a HSV map.
If I understood correctly what this tells me, it looks as though, for all the apparent complexity of the green apples still life I am discussing here, all the greens are just different tints or shades of about the same yellow-green hue, and all the pinks, including the shadows, come from the same rather pure red hue. The only exception is the reflected pinkish light on the apples, which sits more in a yellow-orange hue.
Here are some pictures:
- sampling from the top of an apple
- sampling from the lighter part of the shadow on the pink background
- sampling from the reflected light
The little line you see on the hue wheel almost does not move when I stay in the same 'object', only the dot moves around inside the triangle.
I am interpreting this as in: you can get all the apple greens by lightening or darkening a basic yellow-green.
Assuming this is the case, the question will be if I am able to do it in practice, mixing actual colours from tubes.
For this reason, my question 2 is still not fully answered: I do not know if this strategy is correct or if it would work in practice, in particular with acrylics.
In fact though, even before finding out the above, that's what I had done for the pink background and its shadows: I took some magenta, added some primary yellow to shift it towards red, lightened with titanium white for the lighter parts, and darkened it (with considerable difficulty and trial+error) with primary blue + primary yellow for the shadows.
One thing is certain: nowhere in the reference image do I find the cold, bluish greens I had used in my first attempt, perhaps explaining why I found the result so odd and lacking harmony.