Part 2, Colour Relationship Exercise Colour Accuracy

hallow ad 2

Not the best painting I have done, nor the best photograph, it has lost some of the blue tint to the painting, and the white looks cream. I had to photograph it under lights and it altered its colour, but good enough to see the exercise. For this exercise, I wasn’t to take too much notice of accurate portrayal, but the accuracy of the colour I see. I had to evaluate the tonal values of all the objects, not get too bogged down with detail, I was then to assess it against the actual object and its colour and see how close to the actual subjects I am. Ok this took me ages, I am only just getting used to the magic of acrylic, you paint one colour and it changes to something darker.


The colours I worked with were Cadmium Yellow, Hansa Yellow, Titanium White, Ivory Black, Light Magenta, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red, Burnt and Raw Sienna.

Its fair to say I tried hard to match the colours to the original and took my time, often I would find that my colour dried darker than wanted and had to re-do the work. I felt tone and shadow worked well.

To start I decided that I would do a Halloween picture as it was contemporary. Having recently studied Chiaroscuro paintings a Halloween Still Life would be a good way to follow on from my studies of artists such as Caravaggio and Ribera. I set up my Still Life in various ways but decided to go with the lights out and the subjects light by two different lamps, one gave a red light the other blue. This gave great colour cast on my plastic skull and equally plastic spiders and other objects. As the subject of this study was the colour I didn’t try out the colours before I did the painting, I only did positional and tonal sketching.

Unfortunately, the picture above as previously mentioned, doesn’t accurate show the colour I finally achieved but in the most part I could not 100% colour match. The white was a pain it just didn’t have the glow you can see in the photograph, although the actual painting was brighter than shown above. I unfortunately went with a solid dark background to start with and I feel it may have possibly influenced the white, no matter how many layers were applied. In future, I will have to experiment and see if I can get a better likeness from white with other under painted colours as I did with the earlier fruit picture, which I under painted with white. The next thing I had problems with was trying to get the coppered leaves to look metallic with just colour. I felt I was halfway there and pretty much got the look I wanted but again I will need to experiment more with getting that real copper glow. My colour transitions were not smooth within the painting and maybe gentle blending would have helped and more time spent on the details. The yellows were a good likeness but I had various yellows to work with, the background not totally accurate but I had difficulty matching the shadow colours. I learnt from this painting matching colours accurately comes with not just having the correct colour paints, but knowing just how much of each colour to mix together, what affect the underpainting of the picture has and the influence of the juxtapose colours. It makes me feel how little time I have left to learn my craft and wish I could shed some years.



Part 2, Colour relationships Research Point 3

For this research, I was to look at the Optical effects in art which have been exploited by many artists to create movement and depict the effects of light. The impressionists, Post Impressionists and Neo Impressionists in particular the Pointillists, Seurat and Signac, made full use of the new understanding of the nature of human perception. I was to find out about these artist aims and study their pictures to see how they achieved effects such as optical mixing. Look also at the work of Bridget Riley or the Op artists making notes in my learning log.

Optical art covers a broad area of art, as art itself is about optical manipulation. Colour used in a certain way placed adjacent to each other can alter the perception of the colour, the pointillists used this, then we have artists who use realism to convince they eye of the viewer they are looking through a private window of reality. Op art which was being experimented with in the 1960s is about geometric shapes and lines which fool the eye into seeing the picture undulate and move.

Neo-Impressionism or pointillism is a technique where small marks of pure colour are applied to a support and instead of mixing the colours on the page or palette it is left for the eye to mix and create the object or picture.  Georges Seurat is one of the original developers of this technique and was influenced by Chevruel and his colour theories. The paintings by Seurat remind me of Newsprint, the dots per inch giving the apearance of a black and white picture with all the varying tones given by altering the amount of dots there are.  When using colour not only can you adjust colour by dot or mark application you can also fool the eye with the colour it sees. For example if tiny dots of blue and yellow are placed adjacent to each other, colour mixing within the eye happens and we see green.




The Channel at Gravelines, Evening. Georges Seurat.

Bridget Riley and the Op Artists work gives the viewer a greater visual experience. Their work can create the illusion of movement, I suffer Migraine and when in the throes of having one, they can give me the feeling of nausea. I can’t help but look at them though as they hold a fascination with a need to know how they cause the illusion. The Blaze by Bridget Riley is one such picture, I was ill when I first looked at this and felt rather sick.


Blaze 1964 by Bridget Riley born 1931



The Blaze by Bridget Riley


This research has been very interesting, I find the way the eye and brain can be tricked into viewing the way an image is seen fascinating and can only admire the tremendous knowledge artists have gained in regard to the effects of colour and mark manipulation when producing their art.


Adam Butler, C. V. C. S. S., 1994. The Art Book. In: The Art Book. London: Phaidon Press Limited.

Tate, n.d. Bridget Riley – Blaze. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 Oct 2017].

Uknown, 2017. The Art Story- Op Art. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 Oct 2017].

Uknown, Unknown. Neo-Impressionism. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 10th October 2017].

unknown, unknown. The Complete Works of Georges Seurat. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 October 2017].

Part 2, Colour Relationships, Successive Contrast



For this exercise, I was to find or paint a large area of a bright colour, it could be a bright red jumper, piece of coloured paper, or a square of painted pigment. Stare at it for 30 seconds. Next close my eyes and wait until an after image appears. I chose a bright red biscuit tin, the after colour was very vivid and a blue green I believe this is due to the tiring of our colour the colour receptor for red within our eye. We have three which are approximately red, blue and green. When staring at the red it tires its corresponding receptor meaning that when seeing the after image the red receptor isn’t working as well so the after-image colour is affected.

Next, I had to paint a large square of colour and stare at this and then look at a white surface. I used a lime/yellow which produced a beautiful shade of Pink/Blue. It is a fascinating subject which I will have to look at further.



Part 2, Colour relationships, Exploring Contrasts


This exercise was about exploring contrasts, to begin with I had to choose any colour (A) then mix a series of several colours that are close in the spectrum to my chosen colour (A). Once mixed paint a series of small squares in colour (A) and surround it with one on chosen colours from the spectrum. I chose yellow and as can be seen from the series of colours above the yellow hue altered according to the surrounding colour. It’s at is brightest when surrounded by orange.

Next, I was to try mixing a colour and its complementary. Paint a small square of the brightest of the pair and paint the complementary colour around it, I also had to adjust the tone in order they were the same by adding white. Here you can see the complimentary colours strengthen each other.

Finally, I had to paint complementary colours and infill with grey or beige, as I had painted this exercise on neutral grey background I used beige.  This exercise was to show how the neutral colour was affected by its surroundings. I tried various colours plus white and light grey. It is fascinating how colours interact with one another.

In hindsight if I do further tests I will try them on a lighter ground it was difficult to get the colours strong enough to show the affect well. I have seen this exercise done before and the different look to the hue can be remarkable. When I have more time, I will try out some more in my sketch book as I have enjoyed the exercise.

Colours used in this exercise were Titanium White, Payne’s Grey, Yellow Light, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red, Raw Sienna, Brilliant Purple and Sap Green.

Part 2, Project Still Life, Exercise Still Life with flowers

uni flower 06102017


For this exercise, I was to set up a still life with flowers that can remain in place for a day or two, keeping the arrangement simple. Notice the outlines around and between things – the negative shapes – and try to create interesting and varied spaces and intervals between the objects in my arrangement. I sat with the arrangement around eye level. I didn’t concentrate on foreshortening, keeping the flowers relatively the same size, instead I used the vases to create the depth. Poor light in the area meant I had to add lighting and manipulated the beams in order not to put too heavy shadow within the painting. The flowers were large but delicate blooms so I didn’t want to make the shadow the focal point. To begin I set up the arrangement and found one of my £3 blooms of less than a day had a bruised stem and I had to cut it. This led to me having one bloom much shorter than was expected so I had to make do and mend as they say. For once the first arrangement was exactly how I wanted, how did that happen, it usually takes me several attempts! I made one larger coloured pencil sketch to test colour and then a series of small sketches to make sure the arrangement was as I wanted.  I didn’t like the background that I had to set my arrangement on and decided some artistic licence may be best. Eventually after several watercolour sketches I decided to go with pastel green for the wall and blue for the shelf.




I wanted the painting to be simple so as not to dominate the three blooms. These were big bold delicate flowers and there was nothing wild about them they were bred for their beauty and dominance and I wanted to show this within the painting.

I have for a long time loved watercolour painting of flowers, my interest began when I first bought The Frampton Flora a documentation of Botanical paintings found in the attic of Frampton Court. Since I have been in awe of several contemporary artists, to name a few, Anna Mason, Billy Showell, Dianne Sutherland, Ann Swan, and Siriol Sherlock. With the start of this course I now realise the talent of many earlier artists who worked with botanical art like Maria Sibylla Merian a Botanical Illustrator, Naturalist.

botanical plate

This work of hers was produced using black chalk, bodycolour and watercolour it shows the details and delicate work she was capable of. (Unknown, 2017)


I decided to use watercolour as a medium, for me it shows translucent nature of flowers better than any other medium. The blooms I feel were done relatively well and I liked the flow of the paint and the colour. What I don’t like are the vases I feel the lack of stem on the nearest flower and the size of the heads made the picture a little top heavy, if it hadn’t been for the shadow it would have looked very top heavy and I am not sure why I didn’t notice this before I started the painting. I think instead of drawing the vases at a slight angle, I should have gone with the larger drawing I made foreshortening the vases and flowers as they taper off to the rear.  The background which I thought would be the most difficult, turned out better than I thought and doesn’t take the eye away from the subject.

Colours used were from Winsor & Newton Payne’s Grey, Opera Rose, French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Blue (Green), Cerulean Blue, Winsor Violet, Hookers and Olive Green. The outline of the picture was drawn in pencil and erased as I went along. The paint applied in thin glazes. To produce the detail on the petals I either remove areas of colour glaze with a damp brush before the paint dried, or added with a dry brush.


If I was to paint the picture again I would make sure my blooms were not damaged giving a longer stem and perhaps use a little artistic licence and enlarge the vases a little also using a little foreshortening to balance up the whole picture.


Below is a photograph taken of the arrangement.




Unknown, 2017. Botanical Art and Artists. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 7 October 2017].


Part 2. Project Still Life, Exercise Still life with natural objects.

fruit picture 2



For this exercise, I had to assemble a group of natural objects. Which could be either highly coloured or structured. I was to use my sketchbook to help locate an interesting point of view.

The colours used were Titanium White, Paynes Grey, Cadmium Red, Light Blue Permanent, Yellow Light Hansa, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow.

I wanted to try something different and had to fight my instinct to paint in my usual way. I wasn’t sure which way to go and tried a few sketches to get my subject and the position. After a few compositions, my choice was the Oranges and Lemons on the Mantle. Limited palette is my thing and I love the hints of colour within a picture, so tried two colour attempts. One acrylic with ink tint I don’t think I had the skill and I need to practice. This led to a monotone painting and then colour tint but I couldn’t get the image I wanted, so changed my idea and decided to go with a more summer feel and attempt some texture and light. I also wanted to have a go at using bold brushstrokes. I usually use fine brushwork but wanted a go at a more fluid less detailed stroke, well half my brain did.  The end picture wasn’t great but it was better than I expected, details were added but I wasn’t too precious about applying the paint and tried a credit card to give me a rough texture along with an old rough tea towel. I can’t say I went all Monet but for me I relaxed my style and felt I had achieved a likeness that wasn’t too tight in application. I do need to try and stay neater in my brushwork, often in paintings seen by the masters of art each brushstroke looks like a mark made with precision, mine feel more like a toddler’s first attempt at paint.

First I prepared the background with a rough application of paint and then drew the picture with a paintbrush. I used some dry brushwork and thick paint, dabbing it on with brush and cloth to start my background, this was allowed to dry. The fruit then had an application of Titanium White because I wanted to try and push the brightness of the fruit forward and draw the eye to their form. I love Turners late work and his use of colour and light and was trying to capture the way the light fell on the fruit which was lit from the side and front this giving a concentration of light stronger in the centre of the picture.

Photograph of setup


From the photograph of the Mantle it can be seen my background had a large pinch of artistic licence. The wall was too dowdy, fruit remind me of bright summer days. so I added a touch of blue and brightened with white to try and give that light we all love in the summer. I also cut the size of the Mantle and painted wall below.

Texture was added again on top of the first two layers of paint to the wall top and bottom of the picture and then a credit card used to scrape Titanium White, Light Blue, Raw and Burnt Sienna. I felt whilst this may not be to the standard of those proficient in using acrylic it was acceptable for the exercise. The Mantle and fruit were painted with more care but still they were a lot looser than I would normally paint and a bigger brush used for all but the tiniest detail.


I realise with learning to use paint I have a very long way to go. Do I feel this differs from my first attempt at Still Life, yes I do it was much more experimental in application and I am getting used to using the paint. In the future I would like to have a go at mixed media but need to have control of the acrylic paint. Also I would like to try the limited pallet again in future so will have a practice.


Still Life and Illustration are my thing so I enjoyed this exercise.

Part 2, Project Still Life Drawing in Paint

final image 07092017

Final Painted Sketch

Above two pictures of stages of the painting.


Work towards the final painting.


Photograph of actual area painted.


For this exercise I was to look around my house for an arrangement of objects that just happens to be there I could adjust it if needed but choose objects that are not too complex. I had to study the objects and look at the hard lines and angles. Notice flowing lines of fabric, shiny areas, wood grain etc.  Make drawings that explore the linear aspects then chose a support format and scale.

I did several sketches and decided to go with the painting above because of the lines, squares and rectangles.  I didn’t want to concentrate on colour but on shape so I decided to keep the bulk of the painting in pastel and use the lamp and cat as contrast. In that respect, I think the painting worked, however I know what I am looking at so that may be in part due to my knowledge with regards to the brief. I didn’t do the background as I wanted, it had less texture than I had wanted, but the texture  brought the background too far forward, so I learnt the benefit of my rag not only put texture into the paint but also removed paint I didn’t want.  I tried to rescue it a little and scratched lines into the paint to reveal the underpainting.

The painting was to be drawn in fine paint and lines retained until the infill of colour when the lines could if wanted be strengthened.

I started the painting with a pale blue and light pink brown wash. Then proceeded to draw with a blue grey line. I did eventually alter the colour of some lines and the width, but the original drawn paintwork can be seen throughout the painting.  The geometric shapes reminded me of the recent Still Life research I had just done where Matisse did an abstract version of De Heems original painting called The Dessert. I found this inspired me to look at the geometric shapes within this still life. I liked being able to see the original painted lines for some reason they did add to the picture. Although this painting wasn’t abstracted like the cubist work, it did bring to mind the work by George Braque’s work with his lines and shapes.

All in all the background gave the impression of foliage but was on the verge of being overworked. Where the curtains are probably my favourite point and with just a few lines and no real blending worked well, I was surprised at how with just a few brushstrokes the fold could look so impressive. In future I will try and not overwork areas and look at how less brushstrokes can achieve more.