Painting Tutorials

Basic Painting Excercises

Learn The Secrete To All Painting Styles With These Basic Painting Tutorials

These basic lessons comprises of:

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Color and Form

Color and Form

In this exercise the colored toys provide bright simple forms to practice mixing three values of colors. When you see a colored object you are seeing many values of that color. Because the first step is always simplification, we reduce the values to three, a light, middle and a dark. When these are blended many values are made. Of the three values the middle value is usually the closest to the actual color of the object. The dark is usually the middle value color with its COMPLEMENT added. The light value is the middle value color plus the color of the light, usually white. Highlights, the bright spots of light, are distorted or blurred pictures of the light source.

All forms begin as three values. Shiny forms will also have a highlight.

The dark value will usually have the complement of the middle value added.

Lay out your colors on your palette in this order. On the edge farthest from you, put your white on the left. As a right-handed painter you will have to reach the farthest to get to the white thus reducing the degree of contamination from neighboring colors. Next is cadmium yellow light, then cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium scarlet, cadmium red, Quinacridone rose, dioxazine violet, French ultramarine blue, thalo blue, thalo green, cadmium green and cadmium green pale. Black may also be added but is so rarely used it is put out only as needed.

If you are using the minimum palette of colors, lay them out as white, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red, Quinacridone rose, dioxazine violet, ultramarine blue and cadmium green. The intermediate colors such as yellow-orange or blue-violet will have to be mixed when needed.

With these things in mind we will paint these toys.

The drawing is made with white paint that has been thinned down.

Starting with the teapot put in the light value first. The blue is a mixture of French ultramarine and thalo blue. For the light we just add white.

Next we put in the dark. The dark is the middle value blue with the addition of blue’s complement, orange. A deep dark is needed so no white is used. In all cases a color’s complement is added to the shadowed part of the object.

The middle value is the true color of the object.

The values are blended with parallel strokes and the illusion of form is created.

Next are the yellows. Three values of yellow are created. The spectrum color is pure yellow. The middle value is Cadmium yellow light with a little white. The light value is the middle value with more white added. Shadows always contain the complement of a color thus the dark is Cadmium yellow pale plus its complement Dioxazine violet. The light value is placed around the highlight. The highlight is a distorted picture of the light source as it is on all shiny objects.

The dark is next. The sequence of light, dark and middle is used. Light is used first to minimize contamination from the wet paint. Dark is next because it is easy to see. The middle value is last and unifies the form.

If an area it is not light or dark it has to be the middle value.

Parallel and curved brush strokes are used for the blends.

Red-red-violet is the spectrum color for the monkey. White is added for the middle value.

More white is added for the light value. The shadow color is the red-red-violet plus its complement yellow-green.

The dark value is placed.

The middle value fills in everything else and is blended.

The colors for the bell lyre are violet-blue-violet with a trace of its complement, yellow, plus white. The mixture is already dark so white is added for the middle value. More white is added for the light value.

The penguin’s feet are orange-yellow-orange with a trace of blue. White is added for the light value. More blue is added to the middle value to make the dark value.

The black for the penguin is actually blue with orange added. Additional white is added for the penguin’s belly values and for the teapot’s top and bottom.

The values are blended.

The background values are placed. Three values of white with yellow and violet will create the flat receding surface of the floor. One value of white with more violet and yellow added creates the back wall that is parallel to the canvas.

The values are blended.

Last the cast shadow values are placed. The color of a cast shadow is the complement of the color of the light. The orange (with some blue) cast shadows indicate a cold light.

The blends finish the painting.

So now you have learned to mix your colors. You know how to create shadow colors and highlight colors and all the transitions in between.

The Credits Of This Tutorial Goes To: Bill Martin’s


Values Within Colours

Values within Colors

Seeing Values Within Colors is Important

In this exercise the colors are seen only as lights and darks (or values). This painting will teach you to paint more complex forms than the previous exercise and it will teach you to see a color’s value. Print out the source photo or create a colorful still life of your own to paint from.

Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color.

A color’s values create our perception of three-dimension.

Because we create form by first dividing a color into it’s light, middle and dark values it is important to recognize each color’s values.

value scale

For identifying particularly difficult color values a VALUE SCALE is useful.

The value scale is placed over the questioned color.

value scale with blue

You then determine which value it isn’t. Clearly the value of the blue is not # 9 or # 1. It’s not #’s 8,7 or 6 because the blue is darker than these. The true value of a color will be between too light and too dark on the value scale. The blue is lighter than #2 and darker than # 4. Its value is #3.

value scale with yellow

Which is too light and too dark here? (It’s a #7 value)

With these things in mind we will paint this subject. Using only black and white mix several values of gray on your palette.

The drawing is made with thinned white paint on a toned canvas. White is used because it will create the least contamination of subsequent colors. The drawing should remain simple because a complex drawing would soon be painted over and lost.

The pure white patches are the highlights. They are put in first here to keep them as clean as possible. The highlight on a shiny object is a distorted picture of its light source. The light value for this pepper is placed around the highlight and wherever else the light value appears.

Next the darks are placed.

If it’s not the light and not the dark it’s the middle value.

The middle and light values are blended with a Flat brush.

The pepper is blended using parallel and curved strokes with Flat bristle and Flat sable brushes.

The first pepper was the lightest in value. This second pepper is the darkest in value. In the three values we use for this darker pepper the light value is the same as the middle value of the first one. Once again the light value is placed around the highlight.

The darks are put in. They are darker than the darkest darks of the first pepper.

The middle values are put in wherever the lights and darks are not. A Flat bristle brush one inch wide was used.

The blends are mostly made with curved brushstrokes using a Sable Flat.

The right hand pepper is a value between the first two. Each of these peppers has its own set of three values.

The cabbage is begun. Its value shapes establish the form first.

The cabbage is loosely blended to strengthen the illusion of three-dimension.

The texture of the cabbage leaves is then established working wet paint into wet paint. This is one of the advantages of a slow drying paint.

The other cabbage is a different set of three values but it has the same form.

The texture is applied to the second cabbage using wet paint into wet paint.

Cast shadows are the absence of light so their values are dependent on the surface value and the strength of the light. Bright light makes dark shadows.

The background cleans up the edges.

Thus you have seen the importance of the values within the colors and how they alone create the illusion of form. Plus you have used the paint in new ways.

The Credits Of This Tutorial Goes To: Bill Martin’s