Exercise: Colour accuracy

For this exercise I have already set up a still life and have done some sketches to prepare, which I have put on a separate post.


This is about trying to accurately  mix the colours and tonal values, without being overly accurate with outlines, scale etc. It was suggested to take just a part of the whole scene to simplify, which I have decided to do. I did a sketch with a soft pencil to map out the area and look at the tones. This has helped me to focus on the part of the scene that I need to and I looked at this as I was painting to see what was ‘in sight’. I prefer this to using a frame.


This gives  me the red neck scarf and the blue of the record cover, the dark amber if the whiskey in the bottle and the yellow-orange tones of the surface.

I used a light prussian blue wash to map out the objects onto an A3 sheet of acrylic paper. I then worked on the record sleeve, which I decided was pretty much prussian blue, I mixed a little black in to darken it slightly,  the outer edge is lighter in colour. The middle of the record is a lightish red, which I think  have managed ok but the scarf is not quite the right shade so I will be working over that again tomorrow. This is as far I as I have got today:


So today I mixed yellow-orange and cadmiun red with some white for the surface colour, and added light and dark sections. I went back over the handkerchief and then added the white spots and stripes detail. The flower is picking up the yellow and amber colours and I am struggling to get the amber of the whiskey…now the prussian blue mix has dried I feel it could have been a bit greener. But its not far off.  I am happier with the red handkerchief now which is a mixture of my two main reds. The whiskey colour is hard because it has a glow all to itself. The colours do change when they dry. My colours I think are brighter in tone and I have not captured well the glow from the lamp, which is what gives the whiskey that elusive effect. I enjoyed this exercise very much and feel I have learned from it. It was good to focus on a section and I actually like this area better now than the whole thing together.image1-26

I cropped the picture I took originally and put it side by side with my painting, it is another look at how I did. Of course, you cannot really judge the colours on a photograph but it mine is brighter in tone. Not too far out, though.


Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life in Spain with a tall bearded man from Dorset.

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