How to Use Different Colors to Paint Realistically
If you are a beginner artist you might be curious as to how to use different colors so that your painting is
represented accurately and realistically. Here are a few oil painting tips that can help you achieve the desired
First of all you need to realize that color mixing is not an exact science. There are many different formulas
and methods for applying paint. A lot of it is about what type of oil paint you use.
The real keys to not over mix the colors. That is one of the first things you are taught when learning
how to oil paint as you can end up with a muddy
Yet another tip is to near ever take the painting direct from the tube. Mix it first and give it the proper
tone, shade or tint by adding white, black or another color. Using as few colors as possible also helps create the
The Flemish technique of painting is easy to follow. You can look it up on the internet or get a book on it. It
is the classic way of oil painting. Seven layers of paint in total are applied to the canvas. However you may want
to skip a few steps.
Painting realism in this old fashioned way requires a time frame of seven weeks per painting. Once each layer of
paint was dry the old masters used to wipe it with a layer of onion. Today we have lacquers and oils that are
specially formulated to accomplish the same thing without the smell.
However many of us do not have the time to paint like the old masters. Many painters prime the canvas first by mixing red ochre, yellow ochre light and
ivory to give the canvas an olive hue. Shadows are usually created with burnt umber and lighter tones with colors
like white lead, white ocher, red ocher and burnt bone.
Another key is to paint the shadows of objects with a color that is a complementary opposite. For instance, if
you have a red apple tries and gives it a blue shadow.
Another trick is to try and keep the color temperature in your painting all warm or all cool. This helps produce
a more pleasing effect in general.
Protecting this type of painting is also very important. The old Masters were experts at doing this. Many primed
the canvas with linseed oil and then varnished it with lavender oil. This prevented the dimming of the colors or cracking in the varnish so the
paintings would then last hundreds of years.
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