Whether you are painting with acrylic, oil or watercolour you will need to mix paint to create different colours. So you really do need to understand how colour works. How do you tone down a brilliant red without destroying the colour itself?
Check out my art tutorial on Everything you Need to Know about Colour
The following are simply suggestions you may wish to consider:
Creative Colour Mixes
If you need to create a Black try mixing together Ultramarine or Phthalo Blue with Burnt Umber. This gives a ‘black’, which can be used in the background – more blue than brown to give a cool black – or in the foreground, more brown than blue to create a warm black. Remember, that black used from a tube in both the foreground of a painting and the background will have a flattening effect. This idea can be used for oil/acrylic painting as well as watercolour.
Ever been stuck trying to work out which colour to use in the background of a painting. One idea that can sometimes work well is to choose a complementary colour to the predominant colour of the foreground. Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel. So red is the complementary of green, blue of orange and yellow of purple.
Other Colour Mixing Ideas
It is very easy to mix muddy secondary colours; orange, green and purple if you mix together the wrong reds, blues and yellows. Colours can have what is called an undertone, for example French Ultramarine has a red undertone and Permanent Rose has a Blue undertone. When these are mixed together they produce a pure purple. Prussian Blue has a green undertone therefore would create a muddy purple when mixed with Permanent Red. The following colours can produce clean secondary colours if you mix the right combinations, experiment but remember they are not the only ones,:
- Oil Colours: Cadmium Yellow Hue, Cadmium Red Hue, French Ultramarine, Phtalo Blue, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Lemon Hue
- Acrylic Colours: Cadmium Yellow Hue, Vermilion Hue, French Ultramarine, Winsor Blue, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Lemon Hue
- Watercolours: Winsor Yellow, Cadmium Red, French Ultramarine, Winsor Blue, Permanent Rose, Lemon Yellow
If you find a colour is too strong or intense, for example, red, you can tone it down a little by mixing a very small amount of its complementary colour, in this case green. (Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel). Complementaries can be used to tone down each other.
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