Painting with color blindness
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    Painting with color blindness

    Hi everyone

    I'm doing artschool while being color blind (red-green-blind to be exact). So I'm having some difficulties with painting and often I get stuff wrong.

    Does anyone have hints on now to improve despite being color blind?

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    all you can do is paint what you see. what are your pitfalls?

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    My first thought is to focus on value. Play to your strengths.

    No need to go heavy impressionist with color when you can start with a monochrome underpainting and apply desaturated colors.

    Second thought is maybe work mostly with a blue/yellow contrast in color.

    Artwork is, in part, a presentation of things as the artist sees it. So let color-blindness (R/G) be part of your work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cro-magnon View Post
    all you can do is paint what you see. what are your pitfalls?
    It's kind of hard to describe. But when I look at certain colors, I can't put my finger on what they are. For example I see a light green tone but when I look closely I can't tell if it really is green or a shade of pink, orange or brown.

    When I do digital works, i mainly do B&W studies first and overlay other colors. And even if I get something wrong, it's very easy to correct it. With traditional methods it's a lot harder.

    My first thought is to focus on value. Play to your strengths.

    No need to go heavy impressionist with color when you can start with a monochrome underpainting and apply desaturated colors.

    Second thought is maybe work mostly with a blue/yellow contrast in color.

    Artwork is, in part, a presentation of things as the artist sees it. So let color-blindness (R/G) be part of your work.
    I haven't really tried the blue/yellow contrast thing yet, but will definately apply it in my next painting. I've tried to paint freely withouth worrying too much about the R/G-blindness and I thought it turned out well, but my teacher pretty much tore the work apart. It's especially frustrating since this constant pressure to pull off something that I simply can't do, is getting in the way of painting being fun for me. This is something that I really want to avoid.

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    I have actually helped some of my students with this so they could get a reasonable result. If you organize your palette by value and warm/ cool you can learn to mix and get the colors close to what you need and no one would notice. You will have to pay attention until the palette becomes second nature but it should cut down the problem to a manageable size.

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    Severely limiting your palette is one strategy. For instance, using something like a cad red/yellow ochre/black/white palette for figure painting will force you into the gamut for flesh. Conversely, for landscape painting you could use a palette with no strong reds. Or, you can not worry about it, focus on value, and just let crazy color choices be part of your work.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Or, you can not worry about it, focus on value, and just let crazy color choices be part of your work.
    i like this option best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VincentV View Post
    I've tried to paint freely withouth worrying too much about the R/G-blindness and I thought it turned out well, but my teacher pretty much tore the work apart. It's especially frustrating since this constant pressure to pull off something that I simply can't do, is getting in the way of painting being fun for me. This is something that I really want to avoid.
    To be fair to your instructor, that's what they're supposed to do.

    As an aside, does your teacher(s) know about your color blindness? If not, you should definitely bring it up and ask for advice.

    -My work can be found at my local directory thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anid Maro View Post
    As an aside, does your teacher(s) know about your color blindness? If not, you should definitely bring it up and ask for advice.
    Quoted for emphasis. R/G colorblindness is relatively common in males, and any painting teacher should have strategies for dealing with it.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Quoted for emphasis. R/G colorblindness is relatively common in males, and any painting teacher should have strategies for dealing with it.
    I have actually brought this up. But it didn't really help. No advice or anything for that matter. In fact the teacher is now helping me less.

    Since I really want to go to the university of fine arts here in Switzerland later, I really need to improve my painting. Of course my drawing skills need severe polishing as well, but this is something that I think I can achieve through constant training.

    Anyway, I really like the advice with the focussing on the values. I will try that and see what happens. It may sound narcistic, but I really need to create work that "looks good" at least for me in order to not get depressed over my art. There are just so many talented people at school and not being able to keep up really does kill the mood over time.

    Thakn you all for your advice and support. It really is greatly appreciated

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    Some example of very great work done with a very limited palette:

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=99774

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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    Some example of very great work done with a very limited palette:

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=99774
    This is amazing! So inspiring!!! Makes me want to paint right away

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    this is a small color chart I made with three colors and white to show the range of a limited palette

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    Hi Vincent, I'm slightly R/G colourblind myself. As Anid Maro suggested, I focus on the values and just hope for the best.
    I also use a small palette very close to what Elwell described.

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    Hi,

    I have red/green colour-blindness too, and it can be frustrating at times. I've noticed that it's most difficult to distinguish between colours of the same value and fairly low saturation but of different hues - A few times I've accidentally gotten some green patches into portraits that I couldn't see, but were obvious to others.

    It used to worry me, but you just have to persevere - as people have said, we have a pronounced sense for value, so play to that strength, and work lots on your drawing skills.

    Don't shy away from colour though, just pay much more attention to what you're doing with the paint (try to keep an organized pallete) and what you're observing.

    It makes sense to me that if we record what we see with our skewed sense of colour, and our recordings are skewed in the same way, to a person with normal vision it should appear correct.
    That depends on our skill to translate from observation though - I find the observation to be the difficult part honestly, but I've gotten better by really paying attention and forcing myself to work it out instead of saying "wah I'm colourblind"

    I wish you the best of luck dear colour-blind friends !

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