Jay Moore Color Mixing Exercise

| November 19, 2009
jay moore color mixing exercise

Jay Moore Color Study (click for larger image)

I received my new Mitchell Albala “Landscape Painting” book today from Amazon.com, which is hot off the press as of November 17th. I have not read the book yet but when I saw Jay Moore’s painting on the front cover, I thought, “Dang, I wish my colors looked that good.” Then I thought, what better way to understand the subtleties of his color mixes than to try and replicate them myself. Jay has all of his paintings professionally photographed, so the reproduction of the painting on the cover of the book looks pretty good. Armed with the slipcover, I was good to go.

As you can see from the photo in the post, I loaded most of the tube colors from Jay’s palette and took a stab at mixing the main colors in the painting. Well, I must say I learned a few things. The darks are lighter than my brain would say to mix them and the lights are darker than I would have thought. As I have been told over and over again, it is the relationships between the colors that make them sing in the painting. Now I believe it. I was fascinated by how close in value the colors really were and how just the smallest amount of paint made the required adjustments to reach the desired result. Yellow is in everything, but the colors got cooler and less saturated as they receded into the distance. I used Rose Madder for most of the red in the mixes but did use Cadmium Red to “step” on, or desaturate, the colors when necessary. The dark colors in the hill and foreground shadows were the most difficult to mix. It seemed they were too dark or a little off until I fiddled with them quite a bit. I did not use any Viridian for any of the mixes, just Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine blue to start my greens. Viridian seems to get me in a bunch of trouble by making my mixes way too saturated. Jay uses Viridian but I can’t seem to control it at the moment.

My ability to mix colors is improving but I need to be able to see the colors in the landscape more effectively. This exercise has helped me understand color relationships a little better and provided a framework for mixing in the field. What’s more, it was fun and I now have a handy cheat sheet to help me with future paintings!

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (2)

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  1. Randy says:

    Very good idea! I wonder what one of your own landscape painting color swatches would look like viewing them like that.

    Let us know what you think about the book. Looks like a good one.

    By the way, Jay Moore is in the new issue of Southwest Artist magazine.

  2. Lee says:

    Unfortunately not as nice as Jay’s. I am mixing too dark and saturated for my tastes. I should be able to stop myself, right? Hope you have a great holiday with your family!