Colour Mixing Tip 17: Mixing Greys and
The tertiary colours greys and browns contain all three primary colours.
They are made by combining either all three primary colours, or alternatively
a primary and secondary colour - remember, secondary colours are composed
of two primaries. To obtain the required tone, experiment by (say) mixing
different combinations (and proportions) of the three primaries.
Colour Mixing Tip 18: What's the Quickest
Way to Create a Brown?
Consult the colour wheel and mix a primary colour with its complementary.
(Remember a primary's complementary is made from a mixture of the other
two primaries). For instance, add red to green, yellow to purple, or blue
to orange. Each of these combinations produces a different brown.
Colour Mixing Tip 19: How to Make an
To create an earthy brown, mix red and green colours.
Colour Mixing Tip 20: What's the Quickest
Way to Create a Grey?
Mix orange with blue, then add white. You will need more blue than orange,
but play around with white and see how much you need. Alternatively, mix
blue with an earthy hue like raw umber or burnt sienna.
Colour Mixing Tip 21: How to Make a
To create a delicate grey, add white to red-green mixtures.
Colour Mixing Tip 22: How to Make a
To create a warm grey, mix purple with yellow.
Colour Mixing Tip 23: How to Tone Down
If a colour seems too strident you can tone it down either with a complementary
colour or with an earth colour. For example, you can tone down reds and
greens with raw umber. Or, you can cool down a hot red with a little green.
In comparison, adding blck to a colour tends to dull it.
Colour Mixing Tip 24: How to Stop Tertiary
Colours Becoming Muddy?
Basically, the more colours you mix, the greater the danger of producing
a muddy result. So, if your brown or grey is getting muddy, scrap it and
start over, rather than adding more colour.
Colour Mixing Tip 25: Use Pure Colour
For Maximum Chroma
For maximum chromaticity (colourfulness/brightness) it's best to use a
pure colour rather than a mixed colour. When two pigments are combined,
their relative intensity declines. So, for example, if you want an intensed
green, use a single green pigment rather than mixing blue and green.
Colour Mixing Tip 26: For Brightest
Intensity Use Optical Colour Mixing
Optical color mixing is regulated by our "perception" of colour,
rather than the mixture of colours on a palette. In other words, instead
of mixing two colours then applying the mixture to the canvas, place the
two un-mixed single colours next to each other on the canvas and allow
the viewer's "eye" to do the mixing. The effect will be similar,
except that when the eye mixes the colours the result is usually brighter.
This technique of optical colour-mixing (Divisionism)
was exemplified in the Pointillism
style of the Neo-Impressionist painters Georges
Seurat (1859-91) and Paul
Signac (1863-1935). See also: Italian
Divisionism (c.1890-1907). A modern practitioner is the Irish Impressionist
artist Arthur Maderson.
Colour Mixing Tip 27: Juxtaposing Certain
Colours Increases Intensity
In order to make bright colours stand out more, place them next to neutral
colours on the canvas. For example, a regular red will appear richer and
more intense when placed alongside a grey hue. Similarly, a dark tone
(eg. dark blue) will intensify if surrounded on the canvas by a light
one (eg. lemon yellow).
Colour Mixing Tip 28: Using Glazes For
Optical Colour Mixing
Glazing is another method of producing optical colour mixes. For instance,
by applying a blue glaze over a yellow ground, the green produced is much
livelier than one produced by mixing yellow and blue pigments. This is
because light enters the transparent film and is refracted from below,
producing a rich, glowing effect.
Colour Mixing Tip 29: Using the Counterchange
Counterchange is the method of placing light shapes against dark, and
vice versa. This optical colour mixing technique not only makes the lighter
shapes stand out, it creates exta "movement" by leading the
viewer's eye from light to dark and back again. One of the greatest exponents
of counterchange was the Dutch Realist artist Jan Vermeer.
Colour Mixing Tip 30: How To Create
Depth and Space
Another optical colour mixing technique is the juxtapositioning of warm
and cool colours. The point is, the eye perceives cool colours as being
further away than warm ones. Thus, for example, placing warm earthy colours
in the foreground of a landscape painting, and progressively cooler colours
towards the horizon, causes the viewer's eye to perceive greater depth
in the canvas.